RAID – On-Board or PCI card?

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On-Board – RAID 1

So next I looked at RAID 1. Since I already had a drive setup to test with, I used a nice feature that allows you to change an existing drive to a mirrored array (RAID 1). It was very simple: connect each drive as a master on one of the Promise ports, and press <Ctrl –F> to enter the Promise BIOS when prompted during boot. Then build your array and choose to have the disk image duplicated onto the array. You can also build a new array with blank drives. In addition, there are utilities to check the status of an array, or re-build an array if you have a damaged drive. There is one limitation: you can only have two drives in a RAID 1 array with the FastTrak Lite controller.

After the Mirrored Array was built I just booted to Windows. Nothing else was needed (remember, the driver was already loaded in the single drive test). I performed some compatibility testing as before and found no issues. How does the RAID 1 array compare to using a single drive? Take a look:

mainboard

MSI K7 Turbo R

BIOS

ver 2.7

Promise Driver

1.3

Drive

Single WD 200BB on the 686B port

Single WD 200BB on the Promise port

2x WD 200BB – Raid 1

Disk Blaster 128MB file size, MB/s

19.739

19.739

21.363

Winbench 99

Bus Disk KB/s

6290

9840

10800

High Disk KB/s

19500

20900

21600

Disk Transfer Rate

Beginning K Byte/ Sec

33300

33200

33500

Access time – ms

11

11

11.7

CPU Utilization – %

0.485

0.743

0.817

Winstone 2001

Business

46.3

46.8

46.5

Content Creation

50.6

49.7

49.9

Again, performance is about the same as a VIA single drive with a slightly higher Disk Blaster transfer rate and a slightly higher CPU utilization. Even the Winbench disk scores are a bit higher, but not reflected in the Winstone scores.

So how does it rate? Using a RAID 1 mirrored array gives pretty much the same results as with a single drive: no compatibility or performance issues, just the initial array setup in the BIOS.


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