For quite some time, RAID was basically limited to high-end SCSI workstations and servers, far out of the reach of most power users. However, in the past couple of years we've seen several IDE RAID solutions that aim to bring RAID's benefits to IDE systems. These solutions, available on PCI cards and motherboards, are popping up everywhere these days. Given its ready availability and theoretical benefits, it's only natural that we give IDE RAID a real-world workout to see how it really performs.
We've run the Highpoint 370 IDE controller (on an Abit KT7-RAID motherboard) through a gauntlet of benchmarks that reflect and measure real-world performance to see if RAID is really worth the cost of an extra hard drive. In true TR fashion, the answers are presented with large amounts of gratuitous graphing. And the results might surprise you.
Before we get into the results, let's take a moment to discuss what RAID actually is. RAID stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (some insist the I stands for Independent), and comes in several different flavours. For the purposes of this review, we'll just be discussing RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10 (also known as RAID 0+1), since they're the only RAID variants supported by most IDE RAID chipsets.
Before we get into benchmarks that will show the performance aspects of RAID, let's talk about RAID's other benefit: minimizing the potential for data loss.
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