Weighing up all pros and contras, I can’t say there is any definite leader. Here is a list of the controllers tested today with their weak and strong points emphasized for your convenience:
ACARD-6890S is an average product that never fell to the bottom of the list, but also never flew above the third place. It’s fine for the first time – we haven’t tested any controllers from Acard before. I only wish this controller had more compatibility with hard disk drives (particularly, this controller wouldn’t work with Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 SATA HDDs as well as with Western Digital 360GD).
Adaptec 1210SA lost to Silicon Image in all tests (except FC-Test), although they are based on the same chip. It is clear that the BIOS and the driver of Adaptec controller are not as fresh as those coming with the Sil reference controller.
HighPoint RocketRAID1520 flunked all the tests. It can only boast good speed in the Business Disk Winmark test and at creating files in FC-Test.
Intel ICH5-R controller showed modest results in the synthetic IOMeter test, without any remarkable moves for the better or worse, but proved to be a strong combatant in Winbench99 and FC-Test, always finding itself in the “top three”.
LSI SATA150-2 controller was better in synthetic tests than the Adaptec, but lost to it in WinBench99 and in FC-Test.
Promise FT S150 TX2 Plus did well in Intel IOMeter tests, especially in the WT mode. As for WinBench99 and FC-Test, it showed somewhat poorer results than the others. The speed of this controller greatly depended on the driver’s caching algorithms (WB/WT).
Silicon Image Sil3112 controller rarely won a test in IOMeter, but was always present in the leading trio. However, this stability vanished completely in WinBench99 and FC-Test: it would fly high in one test and slump in the next one.
The last controller (in the alphabetic order) is the one integrated into the VIA V8237 South Bridge. It wasn’t too speedy in the IOMeter tests, especially under high workloads. It did somewhat better in WinBench99, and was always among the best in FC-Test.
P.S.: If you are choosing a controller for your home/office computer, we would recommend you carefully study the results of FC-Test, since it simulates the most usual types of workload on the disk subsystem of such a computer.
We will publish the test results for a RAID1 array in our next review. Stay tuned!