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IntelliProp Hydra SATA Bridge IPA-SA117A-BR Review - Tested with Four Intel DC S3700 SSDs (Page 2)

By Paul Alcorn | Feb 3, 2014 08:02 pm CST
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: IntelliProp

HYDRA Architecture


The HYDRA IPA-SA117A-BR aggregates two or four storage devices into one cohesive unit with NCQ capabilities. The design requires no firmware intervention for read/write I/Os. The bridge introduces minimal latency, which is imperative in SSD applications. The controller features support for SMART monitoring, and also issues TRIM and vendor-specific commands. The architecture also supports cascading for larger deployments of 60+ devices.

The HYDRA Bridge design is divided into four blocks: the SATA host cores, the SATA device core, the DRACO data engine, and the processor and memory. The IntelliProp SATA core provides the SATA interface, and the IntelliProp SATA Device core manages the PC connection. If needed, speed bridging can present 1.5 and 3Gb/s drives as 6Gb/s drives to the host PC. No additional software or drivers are required for the host machine.

The DRACO engine consists of an LBA translator, a data router, and the DRACO State Machine. The LBA translator tracks incoming requests and maps them to the correct LBA's. There is also an ATA Host State Machine and a DATA FIFO for each drive connection.

The controller merely interfaces with existing SSD designs. Support for the myriad of other technologies, such as power capacitors and ECC, is handled by the underlying units. HYDRA also supports integration of external DDR3 to facilitate device functions.

HYDRA stripes data on the underlying SSDs with a stripe size that targets the page size of the flash, to ensure consistent operations. HYDRA supports DIPM/HIPM power modes, and the design is tolerant of temperatures from -40C to +100C, which is necessary in high heat server environments. We test power consumption later in the evaluation.


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Paul Alcorn


The quest for benchmark world records led Paul further and further down the overclocking rabbit hole. SSDs and RAID controllers were a big part of that equation, allowing him to push performance to the bleeding edge. Finding the fastest and most extreme storage solutions led to experience with a myriad of high-end enterprise devices. Soon testing SSDs and Enterprise RAID controllers at the limits of their performance became Paul's real passion, one that is carried out through writing articles and reviews.

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