RocketRAID 1820A - IntroductionIntroductionRAID arrays, one only seen in extremely high-end server environments and only available on expensive SCSI controllers has moved to the desktop, and with a vengeance.Back in the late 90's you would need to have a separate IDE controller card, and use a modification to hack the card into a unit that could recognise RAID arrays. Next came the cards with the modifications built in, so no more hacks were needed. Finally we got these chips built onto the motherboards themselves, so a PCI slot wasn't required to be used for a RAID array to come to pass.Serial ATA has made the RAID era even easier with smaller cables and connectors, its even easier to have more than 4 drives in one system without cluttering up the case. Its now so important to companies like Intel and VIA that RAID based Serial ATA controllers are now built into the Southbridge with two and sometimes even four port SATA RAID controllers. It is, without a doubt, that Serial ATA has come on with a vengeance; however, one thing has held it back in the add-on market, the PCI Bus.In order for companies like Silicon Image, Highpoint and Promise (to name the main few in the market) to add the chips to either a card or the board itself, it must run on the aging PCI bus. While just about everyone knows that PCI has served well for sound and network controllers, when putting 150MB/s capable controller on to a bus that has to share 133MB/s between 4 or more PCI slots and onboard PCI based devices, you start to see the futility of this effort.Highpoint has come to the aid of server users who want to add multi channel SATA RAID into the servers without the bottleneck of the aging PCI bus.Today we are testing out the Highpoint Rocket RAID 1820A card and comparing it to the Silicon Image 3114 4 Port SATA chip and the ICH5-S Adaptec Southbridge based RAID controller to see if the PCI-X bus can give the added juice that is needed.
RocketRAID 1820A - The CardThe Card
RocketRAID 1820A - Test System Setup and Sandra 2004Test System SetupProcessor: Intel Pentium 4 3.2EEGHz (800MHz FSB) (Supplied by Spectrum Communications)Memory: 2x 512MB DDR-533 OCZ (Supplied by OCZ)Hard Disk:2x Maxtor Maxline III 250GBGraphics Card: ATI Radeon 9800XT (Supplied by Gigabyte)Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2Drivers: Catalyst 4.9For the Motherboard of choice we used the Gigabyte 8KNXP Ultra 64http://www.sisoftware.co.ukProduct Homepage: http://sisoftware.jaggedonline.com/index.php?location=home&a=TTA&lang=enBuy It Here
RocketRAID 1820A - Benchmarks - PCMarkPCMarkVersion and / or Patch Used: v120Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/pcmark04/Buy It Here
RocketRAID 1820A - Benchmarks - HD Tach 3.0HD Tach 3.0HD Tach has been around for a long time and is excellent when it comes to testing hard drive performance. It is also a very handy program when it comes to testing the controller used on particular motherboards. Tests such as Read, CPU Utilization and Burst are available at a click of the button and give you a good idea of how the hard drive can perform from system to system.
RocketRAID 1820A - Final ThoughtsFinal ThoughtsSerial ATA has now shown itself to be the full on replacement for aging IDE. While at this point in time not offering any speed advantages over IDE, it does have some rather pleasing values, such as 7-wire cables, hot swapping abilities as well as a max cable length of 1 meter, more than enough length for both full size towers and even mods to place the drives outside the case.Highpoint has put together the first of a full speed controller card that is able to actually put some speed out above what we normally get. The PCI-X bus gives a full 1.06GB/s transfer rate; more than what is required for Serial ATA RAID controllers, though you are going to need a server board or one like the 8KNXP Ultra 64.While PCI Express x1 SATA Controller cards should soon see the light of day for the mainstream market, Highpoint has currently tapped into the fastest available bus on the market, this card is a definite must for NAS users.While powerful and fast, you are going to pay a price premium, as PCI-X cards rarely are seen for the desktop market.- ProsFastest SATA ControllerPCI-X Bus gives more than enough bandwidthSupports up to 8 SATA drivesCompatible with IDE to SATA (RocketHead unit)Supports Windows (32-bit and 64-bit), Linux (32-bit and 64-bit) and MacOS- ConsPrice extremely highRequires PCI-X slot for full speedWhen running on PCI 2.3 slot, bandwidth limited to PCI specifications.Rating - 8 out of 10
Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:26 pm CDT
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