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Conclusion

So we carried out detailed testing of the SATA RAID controllers integrated into the chipset South Bridges. The obtained results allow drawing certain conclusions about the strengths and bottlenecks of each testing participant.

The controller integrated into Intel ICH6R South Bridge turned out an indisputable leader in Intel IOMeter server tests. Its advantage over the rivals grows bigger as the number of requests in the queue increases. Even despite a more powerful test platform, which still has some influence on the final benchmark results, we would still claim that using Intel ICH6R controller within a SATA RAID array of a server disk subsystem makes perfect sense. It is true for both: RAID 0 and RAID 1. As the share of writes among the processed requests grows bigger, the controller loses its efficiency. We can also say that this controller is an indisputable leader in WinBench 99 tests, when the drives are formatted in NTFS file system. The performance of the RAID array is much higher than in case of FAT32. This may be the result of controller driver optimization for NTFS file system, as the latter gets more and more popular nowadays. The indirect proof to this point will be the results obtained in our home FC-Test. You can see that Intel ICH6R works very fast with patterns consisting of many smaller files in NTFS (unlike FAT32). The best performance in FC-Test can be achieved in case of RAID 0 array. In case of RAID 1 Intel ICH6R slows down as it comes to copy operations.

The controller integrated into an older Intel ICH5R South Bridge yields to its newer fellow. In server Intel IOMeter benchmarks the gap between them is not that big, which allows us to claim that Intel ICH5R outperforms successfully VIA VT8237 and SiS964. This controller looks less attractive when it comes to RAID 0. As the share of writes grows up, it slows down quite noticeably. In WinBench99 tests ICH5R looks less attractive against the background of its newer counterpart. Its efficiency doesn’t seem to depend on the file system used, as well as by other integrated controllers. In FC-Test ICH5R is defeated by the newer Intel controller in most cases when we work with NTFS file system, especially when we have to process a lot of small files. At the same time we would like to point out that it hardly yields to the remaining two testing participants in this test.

SATA-RAID controller integrated into the SiS964 South Bridge falls significantly behind Intel’s solutions in Intel IOMeter tests and performs almost as fast as VIA VT8237. As the share of writes increases, it remains pretty stable. In FAT32 in WinBench99 tests it turns out the winner, outpacing all the competitors in both: RAID 0 and RAID 1 arrays. In FC-Test SiS964 appears faster in case of RAID 1, especially during file copy operations.

Finally, a few words about the last of the four controllers: the solution integrated into VIA VT8237 South Bridge. In Intel IOMeter benchmarks it is almost as fast as SiS964, as we have just said, and yields to Intel’s products. The increase in the writes share doesn’t actually affect the performance of this solution. In WinBench99 tests VIA VT8237 controller is almost as fast as two other products following the leader. It is true for both file systems and both array types. FC-Test shows that VIA VT8237 controller is slightly faster than the solution from SiS in most cases when we have to work with large files.

 
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