ICH5R to make RAID a cheap south bridge option
There's an interesting story over at DigiTimes revealing that Intel's new ICH5R south bridge, which supports RAID and will cost only $3 more than the RAID-less ICH5. While I'm anxious to see RAID on the south bridge, I can't imagine that Intel's integrated motherboard RAID competition is looking forward to the ICH5R:
However, the chip designer’s sales may be affected now with Intel’s launch of the ICH5R south bridge chip, industry sources said. Though Promise offers more chips of different specifications, including RAID 1, RAID 0 and RAID 0+1, its chip is priced at US$6-7 per unit, which means that motherboard manufacturers may have to pay 50% more in cost to incorporate the RAID function into their products than simply adopting the ICH5R.
The ICH5R's relatively low price premium should ensure that just about every performance-oriented Springdale and Canterwood-based motherboard will have at least some integrated RAID functionality. SiS and VIA will also be integrating Serial ATA and RAID support into their upcoming products.
With cheap integrated south bridge RAID options, is there room for the likes of Highpoint, Promise, and Silicon Image? There should be, especially since it looks like initial south bridge Serial ATA and RAID offerings will be a little sparse. Third party chip manufacturers should be able to stay ahead of the curve by supporting more RAID levels and a larger number of drives. Supporting more than just a couple of drives may become essential if Serial ATA hard drives take off and the technology makes its way to optical storage.