Some time ago we covered the SATA-RAID Escalade 8500-8 controller from 3ware in our review. It showed the best results among the multi-channel SATA-RAID controllers we had tested, but the missing support of the PCI 64/66MHz bus hamstringed it cruelly. When testing the 8500-8 controller, we only used four hard disk drives and the bus bandwidth didn’t practically affect the linear read speed of the arrays. However, the low bandwidth of the PCI 64/33MHz bus will surely be noticeable with an array composed of more devices.
The problem of insufficient bandwidth is solved in the next product from 3ware: the new SerialATA RAID 8506-8 Escalade controller differs from the 8500-8 model exactly by the support of the PCI 64/66MHz bus.
The Escalade 8506 product series, like the previous line, consists of three models, supporting 4, 8 and 12 HDDs respectively. In our today’s review we want to compare the new controller with the results of the 3ware 8500-8, so we took an eight-channel controller but tested it in the four-channel mode, like in the previous testing session.
The 3ware 8506-8 Escalade controller allows building RAID arrays of levels 0, 1, 5, 10 and JBOD. It supports up to eight SerialATA devices, connecting to the computer across the 64-bit PCI bus at 66MHz. The controller has 2.25MB of cache memory onboard.
The basic parameters of the controller are listed below:
2.25MB SRAM (3.3V)
PCI 2.2 64bit 66MHz bus
8 channels SerialATA 150
RAID 0, 1, 10 and JBOD