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Contemporary sets of core logic differ from their predecessors by high level of integration, featuring all sorts of controllers onboard, which very often saves the system owners a lot of time and trouble acquiring and installing additional devices and expansion cards.

In our today’s article we are going to discuss a few technical solutions, which allow creating SATA RAID arrays on your home system without any specific efforts. The new HDD interface specification developed a while ago stimulated the appearance of the corresponding new hard disk drives in the storage market and pushed the chipset developers to implement their support in the new mainboard core logic sets.

The reason for this “adequate” response of the industry is certainly natural: the upcoming hard disk drives designed according to the Serial ATA standard will occupy more and more of the storage market, thus ousting the morally outdated PATA solutions. All large chipset developers have solutions among their products, which not just support Serial ATA hard disk drives, but also allow building RAID arrays from them. Here I am talking about chipset South Bridges developed by Intel, VIA and SiS.

And today we would like to test the four solutions from them in great detail.

Testing Participants, Testbed and Methods

We will evaluate the efficiency of the considered built-in SATA RAID controllers according to the performance of the HDD RAID array built with them. For this purpose we created RAID 0 and RAID 1 arrays of 2 Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 6Y120M0 hard disk drives with 120GB storage capacity each.

Here is the list of software applications we used for our test session:

  • WinBench 99 2.0;
  • FC-Test 1.0;
  • Intel IOMeter 2003.02.15.

Our test system was configured as follows:

  • Mainboards
    • Albatron PX865PE Pro II (BIOS R1.036; driver 5.00.1012; IAA 3.5.0.2600);
    • Intel D925XCV (BIOS 0316; driver 6.0.1.1102; RAID 6.10.0.6100; IAA 4.0.0.6211);
    • Gigabyte GA-8S655FX Ultra (BIOS 6.00.PL; BIOS RAID 0.94_964; driver 5.0.1039.1020);
    • ASUS P4V800-X (BIOS 1003C; BIOS RAID V3006; driver 5.1.2600.300);
  • Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz CPU (for Intel D925XCV mainboard – Pentium 4 3.4GHz XE CPU);
  • IBM DTLA-307015 15GB;
  • Radeon 7000 graphics card (for Intel D925XCV mainboard – Radeon X300);
  • 256MB PC2700 DDR SDRAM (for Intel D925XCV – 512MB PC4300 DDR SDRAM);
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4.
 
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