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This controller seems to be a close relative of the solution, which we have already reviewed before: Promise FastTRAK TX4000 IDE RAID Controller. That is why you may get the impression that a lot of the things we are going to talk about today are already familiar to you. Although the WD Raptor drives, which we are using in every review, add a bit of spice to each SerialATA RAID controller coverage.

I believe that many of you hope secretly that SATA RAID controllers will manage to defeat the SCSI ones one day :)

So, what will Promise surprise us with today? Let’s find it out…

Closer Look

As you may have guessed from the name, FastTRAK S150 TX4 controller can support up to 4 SerialATA/150 devices. The list of supported RAID arrays is pretty standard: RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, JBOD. Thanks to the controller’s ability to work in 66MHz PCI 2.3 slot, its maximum theoretical bandwidth makes 266MB/s. FastBuild BIOS optimized the drives performance depending on their type, supports system bootup from the array of any level, ensures compatibility with the BBS, boasts very convenient menu system for array creation and configuring, supports simultaneous multiple-array configurations. It is also possible to update the BIOS via software. Promise Array Management utility (PAM) allows controlling the status of the array, hard disk drives and the controller either locally or remotely (via TCP/IP). Also the utility reports the errors, allows restoring failed devices, synchronizes the data in fault-tolerant arrays, reports the errors or arrays status by e-mail, controls S.M.A.R.T.-status of the active hard disk drives.

This is what this monster looks like:

As we can see, the controller is of usual light-green color with dark-green wiring on the PCB, which is noticeable through the lacquer surface. The Promise PDC20319 controller chip is covered with a heatsink. Two connectors for LED-indicators are located aside. Four SerialATA connectors and the BIOS chip are evenly spread along the top edge of the PCB and make the card look pretty light, with a lot of free space. At the same time, the controller card is quite small (it is a low-profile solution) and if we compare the size of our Promise FastTRAK S150 TX4 with that of the FastTRAK TX4000, we will have no doubt that SATA is another step on the way to freeing more space inside the PC case.

Here are the device specifications for your reference:

Promise FastTRAK S150 TX4 Specifications

RAID

JBOD, 0, 1, 0+1

SerialATA

4 SATA 150

PCI

Supports PCI bus: 32bit 33/66MHz PCI.
Compliant with PCI 2.3 standard version.
Data transfer rate: up to 133/266MB/s.

48bit Large LBA

(Logical Block Addressing) – supports devices with over 137GB storage capacity each.

ACPI

S1, S3 and S4

 
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