Rather than overriding manufacturer defaults, we prefer to let RAID controllers chose their own stripe sizes for striped arrays. These defaults are usually what the manufacturer considers to be an optimal configuration for the RAID controller, and we wouldn't want to test a configuration that was anything less than optimal. Unfortunately, the chipset RAID controllers from Intel and NVIDIA default to different stripe sizes for RAID 0 arrays128KB for the ICH7R and 64KB for the nForce4. This difference in stripe size could impact performance in some tests, so keep it in mind. The default stripe size for RAID 10/0+1 and 5 arrays is 64KB for both chipsets, so it's not an issue.
masochists thorough, we tested each chipset with a wide variety of arrays, including RAID 1, 0, 10, 0+1, and 5. RAID 1 and RAID 10/0+1 arrays were limited to two and four drives, respectively, but we busted out a few variations for our RAID 0 and RAID 5 tests. RAID 0 arrays were tested with two, three, and four drives, while RAID 5 arrays were tested with three and four drives. We've also included single-drive test results for reference.
Our testing methods
All tests were run three times, and their results were averaged, using the following test systems.
|Processor||Pentium 4 3.4GHz Extreme Edition|
|System bus||800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped)|
|Motherboard||Asus P5WD2 Premium||MSI P4N Diamond|
|North bridge||Intel 955X MCH||NVIDIA nForce4 SLI SPP|
|South bridge||Intel ICH7R||NVIDIA nForce4 SLI MCP|
|Chipset drivers||Chipset 126.96.36.1993|
|NVIDIA ForceWare 7.13|
|Memory size||1GB (2 DIMMs)||1GB (2 DIMMs)|
|Memory type||Micron DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz|
|CAS latency (CL)||3||3|
|RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)||3||3|
|RAS precharge (tRP)||3||3|
|Cycle time (tRAS)||8||8|
|Graphics||Radeon X700 Pro 256MB with CATALYST 5.7 drivers|
|Hard drives||Western Digital Caviar RE2 400GB SATA|
|OS||Windows XP Professional|
|OS updates||Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0C|
We used the following versions of our test applications:
The test systems' Windows desktop was set at 1280x1024 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.
All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.
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