Intel’s Matrix RAID explored

RAID HAS BECOME an increasingly popular feature on desktop motherboards over the years. The RAID revolution started with high-end boards that integrated third-party PCI RAID controllers, but as chipset manufacturers began integrating RAID capabilities into their core logic, RAID trickled down to more affordable price points. These days, it’s hard to buy a motherboard that doesn’t support RAID in one form or another.

Despite its popularity as a checkbox feature, RAID has remained a tricky proposition for those with only two drives. A two-drive RAID 0 array may offer better performance, but that comes at the cost of reliability. A two-drive RAID 1 array gives the peace of mind of a mirrored backup drive, but its performance benefits aren’t quite as compelling as RAID 0’s. RAID levels 10 and 0+1 combine the best of both worlds, but require at least four drives. If only there were a way to balance the benefits of RAID 0 and RAID 1 with only two.

Enter the Matrix. Err, Matrix RAID.

Intel’s Matrix RAID technology allows users to combine RAID 0 and 1 arrays with only two drives, promising mirrored redundancy for important data and striped performance for speedy access. That sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? Read on to see if Matrix RAID really delivers the best of both worlds.


Matrix RAID: Performance and redundancy from only two drives

What is Matrix RAID?
Before delving into Matrix RAID, we should quickly go over its component parts: RAID 0 and RAID 1. In a two-drive RAID 1 array, data on one drive is replicated to the other in real time. Drives are mirror images of each other, so if one drive fails, no data is lost. RAID 1 arrays can also offer performance benefits since data can be read from both drives at the same time. However, because of the data mirroring, RAID 1 arrays offer only half of the total capacity of the two drives involved.

With a two-drive RAID 0 array, data is broken down into blocks that are striped across the drives. This striping allows RAID 0 to offer superior I/O performance because both read and write tasks are split between the disks. There’s no mirroring of data, so the total storage capacity of the array is equal to the capacity of both drives combined. RAID 0’s superior performance and capacity come at a price, though. If one drive in a RAID 0 array fails, all data stored on that array is lost. Since the failure of either drive will cause the array to fail, a RAID 0 array’s Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) is half that of a single drive.

To balance performance with redundancy, Matrix RAID allows users to split a pair of disks into two volumes, one for RAID 0 and one for RAID 1. The Matrix RAID scheme mirrors data on the RAID 1 volume of the disk while striping data on the RAID 0 volume. Since Matrix RAID volumes still span two drives, they can offer performance and redundancy benefits similar to traditional RAID arrays.

Matrix RAID’s marriage of RAID 0 and 1 may sound a little like RAID 0+1 (or RAID 10), but there are a couple of key differences to note. First, a RAID 0+1 array can sustain a single drive failure without any data loss because its striped data is also mirrored. If a single drive fails in a Matrix RAID array, only data on the RAID 1 volume is preserved—any data on the RAID 0 volume is lost. RAID 0+1’s added redundancy does require extra drives, though. You’ll need at least four disks to create a RAID 0+1 array.

The vulnerability of Matrix RAID’s RAID 0 volume requires care in distributing data to each volume. In a system with Matrix RAID, important data should be stored on the RAID 1 volume, leaving the RAID 0 volume free for data that needs to be faster rather than redundant. For instance, Intel suggests putting the operating system, business applications, and critical data on the RAID 1 portion of the array, while storing games, swap files, and digital media scratch space on the RAID 0 portion.

To Intel’s credit, using Matrix RAID is a breeze. RAID volumes are easy to create and configure, and they appear as logical drives in Windows that can be partitioned and formatted as the user sees fit. There is a catch, though. Matrix RAID is currently only available in Intel’s ICH6R south bridge. Non-Intel chipsets, including any chipset for the Athlon 64, can’t do it.

 

Test notes
Today we’ll be looking at Matrix RAID’s performance versus traditional RAID, all while using only two drives. Since Matrix RAID has no direct peers, we’ll only be looking at the performance of RAID 0, RAID 1, Matrix RAID 0, and Matrix RAID 1 with Intel’s ICH6R south bridge. Here’s how each test configuration was set up:

  • RAID 1 — Two Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 NCQ 160GB drives were configured in a RAID 1 array. With data mirrored between the two drives, the array offered 160GB of total storage.
  • RAID 0 — Two drives were configured in a RAID 0 array with Intel’s recommended 128KB stripe size for optimal desktop and workstation performance. Due to the nature of RAID 0, the array offered 320GB of total available storage.
  • Matrix RAID 1 — Drives were configured in a Matrix RAID array with a RAID 1 volume on the first half of the disk and a RAID 0 volume on the second half. This arrangement gave us an 80GB RAID 1 volume and a 160GB RAID 0 volume. Again, we used the recommended 128KB stripe size for RAID 0.
  • Matrix RAID 0 — To ensure that our Matrix RAID results weren’t hampered by the fact that the RAID 0 volume was at the physical end, rather than the beginning, of the disk, we created a second Matrix RAID configuration with a RAID 0 volume on the first half of the disk and a RAID 1 volume on the second half. This gives us another 160GB RAID 0 volume and 80GB RAID 1 volume, but this time, their positions on the disk are reversed. As before, a 128KB stripe size was used for the RAID 0 volume.

To clarify, in the results you’ll see on the following pages, anything labeled “Matrix RAID 0” is the result of testing the performance of the RAID 0 volume at the start of the Matrix RAID array. Likewise, anything labeled “Matrix RAID 1” is the result of testing the RAID 1 volume at the start of the second Matrix RAID array. In no case will you see results for a RAID 0 or RAID 1 volume located in the second half of the array, even though this will be an unavoidable placement for one of the two volumes in Matrix RAID.

When comparing the performance of the traditional and Matrix RAID configurations, keep in mind that our traditional RAID 0 array offers 320GB of storage that extends from beginning to end of both physical drives. Similarly, our RAID 1 array packs 160GB into the same space. In Matrix RAID, the physical space on each disk space is split between the RAID 0 array and the RAID 1 array.

Since it wouldn’t be a party without a little single-drive action, so we also tested our system with a RAID-less single hard drive.

In all cases, the system’s operating system was located on a single hard drive, separate from the drive or array being tested.

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 DFI LANParty 925X-T2
Bios revision 925LD920
North bridge Intel 925X MCH
South bridge Intel ICH6R
Chipset drivers Intel 6.0.1.1002
Memory size 1GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Micron DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz
CAS latency (CL) 3
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 3
RAS precharge (tRP) 3
Cycle time (tRAS) 8
Audio codec ALC880
Graphics Radeon X700 Pro 256MB with CATALYST 5.2 drivers
Hard drives Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 SATA NCQ 120GB SATA
Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X 40GB ATA/133
OS Windows XP Professional
OS updates Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0C

All of our test systems were powered by OCZ PowerStream power supply units. The PowerStream was one of our Editor’s Choice winners in our latest PSU round-up.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The test systems’ Windows desktop was set at 1280×1024 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests. All of the 3D gaming tests used the high detail image quality settings.

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.

 

WorldBench overall performance
WorldBench uses scripting to step through a series of tasks in common Windows applications and produces an overall score. WorldBench also spits out individual results for its component application tests, allowing us to compare performance in each. We’ll look at the overall score, and then we’ll show individual application results alongside the results from some of our own application tests.

As far as WorldBench is concerned, Matrix RAID volumes are every bit as fast as their more traditional counterparts. The overall scores are pretty close, but let’s drill down into WorldBench’s individual results to see if we can find a little more action.

Multimedia editing and encoding

MusicMatch Jukebox

Windows Media Encoder

Adobe Premiere

VideoWave Movie Creator

Performance is reasonably consistent through WorldBench’s audio and video encoding and editing tests. Matrix RAID volumes are often faster, but always within no more than a couple of seconds of equivalent RAID arrays.

 

Image processing

Adobe Photoshop

ACDSee PowerPack

ACDSee clearly shows a performance advantage from striping. Again, Matrix RAID volumes are within a couple of seconds of their Matrix-less counterparts.

Multitasking and office applications

Microsoft Office

Mozilla

Mozilla and Windows Media Encoder

RAID doesn’t do much for WorldBench’s office and multi-tasking tests, where all configurations are pretty close.

Other applications

Winzip

Nero

Winzip and Nero both show improved performance with RAID 0, although differences are much more pronounced in Nero. There, Matrix RAID offers a notable performance gain over traditional RAID configurations. It’s also interesting to note that both Matrix RAID 1 and RAID 1 are slower than our single-drive configuration in Nero.

 

Boot and load times
To test system boot and game level load times, we busted out our trusty stopwatch.

Matrix RAID doesn’t appear to add much onto standard RAID boot times. Our single-drive configuration boots the quickest, most likely because it doesn’t need to initialize an array before loading Windows.

Level load times don’t show much improvement with RAID, but at least the Matrix RAID volumes have no trouble keeping up with traditional arrays.

 

File Copy Test
File Copy Test is a pseudo-real-world benchmark that times how long it takes to create, read, and copy files in various test patterns. File copying is tested twice: once with the source and target on the same partition, and once with the target on a separate partition. Scores are presented in MB/sec.

Although striping clearly speeds up file creation, neither Matrix RAID 0 nor 1 loses ground to equivalent traditional RAID arrays.

Results are a little closer when we look at performance in FC-Test’s read test, but Matrix RAID continues to show no signs of weakness. Depending on the test pattern, Matrix RAID volumes are either a little faster or a little slower than traditional RAID arrays, but never by more than a couple of percent.

In the copy and partition copy tests, performance between Matrix RAID and traditional arrays continues to be consistent. As in the file creation tests, our single-drive configuration is clearly faster than both Matrix RAID 1 and RAID 1.

 

IOMeter – Transaction rate
IOMeter presents a best-case scenario for command queuing, and based on our results, may also be sensitive to a RAID volume’s size and position on the disk. None of our RAID arrays, Matrix or otherwise, were able to complete an IOMeter run with 128 or 256 outstanding I/Os.

Matrix RAID volumes clearly offer higher IOMeter transaction rates than their traditional counterparts, but I suspect that has more to do with the fact that our Matrix RAID volumes are confined to the first half of our physical disks. Since hard drives write from the inside edge out, it’s quicker for the drive head to access data at the beginning of the disk than at the end.

In addition to favoring Matrix RAID volumes at the start of the disk, IOMeter delivers on both mirroring and striping’s performance potential as the number of concurrent I/O requests increases. Note that with the write-dominated Web Server test pattern, mirroring actually achieves higher transaction rates than striping.

 

IOMeter – Response time

Matrix RAID volumes continue to offer better IOMeter performance when we look at response times, but again, this may be due to the fact that they’re working with the fastest half of the disk.

 

IOMeter – CPU utilization

IOMeter CPU utilization results don’t show Matrix RAID stumbling. CPU utilization with both Matrix and non-Matrix RAID is a little higher than with a single drive, but generally not by more than half a percent.

 

HD Tach
We tested HD Tach with the benchmark’s full variable zone size setting.

Our Matrix RAID 1 volume scores much better in HD Tach’s average read and write speed tests than its traditional RAID 1 counterpart, but results are mixed with RAID 0.

Looking at burst times, RAID 0 offers a clear performance advantage. Matrix RAID volumes are nipping at the heels of their standard RAID counterparts, too.

Matrix RAID rules HD Tach’s random access time test, most likely because those RAID volumes are working with the fastest first half of the disk. RAID 1’s access time is superior to RAID 0’s, so it’s no surprise that the Matrix RAID 1 volume comes out ahead overall.

Matrix RAID appears to have slightly higher CPU utilization than traditional RAID, but considering HD Tach’s +/- 2% margin for error in this test, the results are a little too close to call.

 

Conclusions
Based on the results of our testing, Matrix RAID volumes appear to be every bit as fast as their traditional RAID counterparts. In some cases, they’re even faster, although that may be an artifact of the fact that our Matrix RAID volumes were confined to the beginning of the disk. Either way, Matrix RAID holds up its end of the bargain and delivers the best of both RAID 0 and RAID 1 with only two drives. That’s pretty sweet.

The only knock I have against Matrix RAID is the fact that, at least for now, you can only get it with Intel’s ICH6R south bridge. Such a compelling technology deserves more widespread availability, and I can only hope that ATI, NVIDIA, SiS, and VIA are developing something similar for their core logic chipsets.

As it stands now, Matrix RAID may be the most compelling storage technology for PC enthusiasts. Intel has proven that two-drive RAID doesn’t have to be a compromise between performance and redundancy anymore. With Matrix RAID, you get both. 

Comments closed
    • kwh72
    • 15 years ago

    I was wondering, what happens if you have a RAID0(for OS) + RAID1(for files) and one drive fails?, you can say that your files are ok but can’t open Windows to access it? how about if you’re using this for 3 years and the Mobo with Matrix fails? and then you can’t find the same Mobo because is obsolet… how can you recover the data? what happen if you plug in only one of those drives to another Mobo? can you at least access the RAID1 files?

    • GodsMadClown
    • 16 years ago

    I would have liked some analysis of the recovery process on the RAID 1 partition. What happens when you simulate a drive failure, perhaps by pulling the power plug on a drive? How long does it take to rebuild a partition, and is it a pain in the ass? Can I transition my data from an old Matrix array over to a new one? Benchmarks aren’t what I was hoping for when I clicked on the story. I would have liked to see more pounding on the product on both the hardware and software side to see what it can (and can’t) do, compared to a dedicated RAID card solution.

    With all love and respect, this article didn’t meet what I expected from TR.

      • Dissonance
      • 16 years ago

      I didn’t time a RAID 1 rebuild, but I tested it and it works. Rebuilds are no more complicated to initiate than with other RAID solutions, just remember you lose everything from the RAID 0 volume.

      Not sure exactly what you mean by this:

      /[<"Can I transition my data from an old Matrix array over to a new one?"<]/

      • GodsMadClown
      • 16 years ago

      If I build an array on a couple of old drives, can I later buy a couple of new (larger) drives and copy data across to a new matrix array in one easy and quick step?

    • danny e.
    • 16 years ago

    wow. some people woke up on the wrong side of bed.

      • Tupuli
      • 16 years ago

      Give a round of applause to danny e. folks. Not only did he locate his keyboard hidden beneath last month’s Huster mag and an empty bag of Cheetos(tm), but he summoned the mental energy to peck out some real English words, albeit without proper capitalization.

        • Convert
        • 16 years ago

        Give a round of applause to Tupuli folks. He managed to make a complete ass out of himself with just 2 posts. Though the good holier than thou trolls can usually do it in just a few words, so you better work on that.

    • MaceMan
    • 16 years ago

    Not sure what all the geek elitist posturing posts are about.

    Looks to me like a flexible RAID implementation that has Intel’s rock solid name behind it. For a serious workstation (performance = RAID 0, dependability = RAID 1, and this badboy can blend them) stuff, this thing rocks. I consider this an ace in Intel’s feature set.

    Nice review.

      • Tupuli
      • 16 years ago

      y[

    • NegativeEntropy
    • 16 years ago

    Thank you for the article. I’ll now add my own nitpick. ;P

    My statistics skills are too rusty to prove it, but as I suspect MBTF curves are normal and not linear, using a 2 dive RAID 0 array likely does not cut the net MBTF for the array in half, probably reduces it by 30% or some such.

    • Delphis
    • 16 years ago

    *yawn* .. this article author is clueless about software raid..

    As has been mentioned, it’s been in Linux for years, it’s just partitions. I use it on a number of machines.

    Btw, RAID1, not RAID0 (though I could, I just don’t feel the need to)

    Reading from RAID1 (at least the Linux software RAID) is ALREADY able to be read in parallel to a certain extent anyway under Linux software RAID. So the partitions (or the whole disk) can be RAID1 (hence, redundancy) yet you get some benefit from parallel access.

    I prefer my OS dealing with the disks rather than the BIOS. Doing a BIOS update every time bugfixes come out? No thanks.

      • Randy2
      • 16 years ago

      The only problem is that nobody uses Linux.

        • Illissius
        • 16 years ago

        <trollfeed>
        I do, and can think of at least four or five people other people in the forums off the top of my head who do. And what was your point, anyways? It’s been pointed out that Windows also has this capability.
        </trollfeed>

          • Randy2
          • 16 years ago

          My point was that only a tiny percentage of the general public uses Linux, and an even smaller would attempt to configure a software raid on thier desktop. This technology brings a 2 drive RAID 0+1 to the masses in an easy to use package.

        • indeego
        • 16 years ago

        Especially for webservers. It’s *[<*all*<]* Microsoft there. And Linux server growth nearing 60% in some quarters is just in fantasylandg{.]g Servers don't need RAID or any level of redundancy so it only drives the point in furtherg{<.<}g

          • Randy2
          • 16 years ago

          You need to actually read this article. This particular technology is not aimed at the enterprise.

            • indeego
            • 16 years ago

            Well then on that note we troll back and forth–what does this article have to do with your comment that “nobody uses linux?” Does the article go into any depth on the relation of enterprise Windows Workstationsg{

          • Kurlon
          • 16 years ago

          The core of the net is still powered by BSDs, not linux. With new varients like DragonFlyBSD keeping the code base fresh, I doubt you’ll see that change any time soon.

          Random fun note, Oracle for Linux runs faster under FreeBSD Linux ABI emulation than on a native linux kernel. : )

            • indeego
            • 16 years ago

            Is the core of the net DNS servers, root servers, webservers, proxy servers, dns caching servers? We could argue a lot on this I’m just saying that MS doesn’t hold the stranglehold on servers as many think it does.

            Doesn’t matter. BSD has obvious roles for performance and the best network stack and architecture out there. I was referring more I suppose to Netcraft’s rankings and Apacheg{<.<}g (still showing apache growing month by month to MS) I don't think MS can fill a niche of hosts in a webserver role when free times a lot of servers is still freeg{<.<}g

            • Kurlon
            • 16 years ago

            Oh, sorry, guess I misworded my response. I agree heartily with you that MS operated servers are a small nusance at best on the net at large when looking at deployment counts. Gah, I try to be a pro FreeBSD troll and someone thinks I’m promoting MS for tasks it’s not appropriate for… gack! ๐Ÿ˜›

      • Krogoth
      • 16 years ago

      If your OS gets FUBAR (we all know Windows just loves to do it) say good-bye to your array and whatever data it contain if you allow the OS to control the RAID. The inconveince of BIOS updates isn’t that bad unless, you got a crappy controller to begin with or live on the bleeding edge.

        • Tupuli
        • 16 years ago

        y[

          • Vertigo
          • 16 years ago

          True that. I’ve seamlessly moved a 3-disk RAID5 from one machine to another, completely different distribution (from FC3 to Debian), and had it recognised on boot and mounted with a single command line.

          I believe that Linux’s md driver (that’s the sofware RAID driver) stores the raid configuration redundantly on each drive’s superblock, so all it has to do is a single disk query to reconstruct the RAID.

          Neat, ‘eh?

            • Krogoth
            • 16 years ago

            That’s pretty cool that Linux can do it but, I doubt Windows is able to accomplish a slimiar feat. ๐Ÿ˜‰

            • Norphy
            • 16 years ago

            As a matter of fact, it can.

            I have just moved a software RAID 0 array from one Windows XP machine to another. I didn’t even need to import the foreign disks, Windows just found the hardware and mounted the striped volume without any fuss or prompts. Granted, RAID 0 isn’t as complicated as RAID 5 but its perfectly reasonable to assume that Windows Server products will be capable of the same.

      • Convert
      • 16 years ago

      And why do you get that impression? Just because he reviewed a hardware solution doesn’t mean he didnโ€™t know a software variant existed.

    • sbarash
    • 16 years ago

    And this is new? Sounds like a bunch of marketing BS to me.

    I built a ‘software’ matrix raid system back in the mid 90’s with NT 4.0. Was really easy to do, Raid 1 for the OS, and 0 for a data partition. You probably could do the same thing with any version of Windows or Linux right now.

    Since these motherboard RAID chipsets generally don’t offer any hardware acceleration, and do all RAID operations via the driver and CPU, it sounds like Intel is just slapping a name on a bunch of nothing. Did they patent this concept too?

    Can’t believe TR would buy into this. Remember, to optimize your internet experience by buying a Pentium 4!!!

    Stephen

      • BiffStroganoffsky
      • 16 years ago

      I thought that was the P/// with SSE? Hmm…no wonder my dial up internet experience never passed muster.

    • Randy2
    • 16 years ago

    Interesting.

    I would have assumed that the additional work of the hard drives and controller to calculate and distribute the data in that matrix, would just create a larger workload for the disks and controller – DEGRADING performance, not enhancing it.

    • protomech
    • 16 years ago

    It would have been more interesting to see matrix raid 0 and 1 results for the partitions at the logical end of the disk (real world)- either that or create raid 0 and 1 volumes with the same split (test theoretical difference between matrix and standard).

    • An Ominous Gerbil
    • 16 years ago

    Definitely not a new idea, you’ve been able to do this in Linux for years. I’m assuming the Intel southbridge’s RAID-1 is a software RAID rather than hardware (i.e. when you write RAID-1 data it’s sending the data over the bus twice), there’s really no advantage. It’s just a fancy BIOS.

      • Norphy
      • 16 years ago

      You can also do the same with Windows Server products in software using dynamic disks as well. It would be interesting to do a comparison between software RAID and Intel’s system.

    • Tupuli
    • 16 years ago

    Can’t you accomplish the same thing using software RAID with multiple partitions on each disk? I’m pretty sure this is possible with Linux software RAID.

    I don’t really see the point of low-end hardware RAID. It’s not as flexible as software and there’s no performance difference.

      • Ma10n3!
      • 16 years ago

      Um, a single drive is limited to its theoretical throughput. A two-drive RAID 0 array is limited to both drives’ theoretical throughputs combined (minus some overhead). Etc. Not to exceed the throughput of the interface and controller the drives are connected to.

        • Tupuli
        • 16 years ago

        y[

    • Satyr
    • 16 years ago

    I still think the performance advantages of RAID 0 in a desktop environment are a waste of time..

      • Calum
      • 16 years ago

      Couldn’t agree more. It’s been demonstrated time and again that it’s a waste of time. Sure you get nicer HDTach numbers but they don’t mean much in the real world.

        • Randy2
        • 16 years ago

        You could say the same for putting a different HSF or thermal paste on a CPU to reduce temps 5 degrees. You don’t get any performance increase by doing it, but enthusiasts go nuts over those items.

        Regardless of how you want to discount the speed benefits of RAID 0, the bottom line is that there is some, however slight, speed advantage to using a RAID 0 array on a desktop system. Enthusiasts and power heads that want everything as fast as possible, so in this current market, the technology will sell.

          • indeego
          • 16 years ago

          Without reliability you don’t have a system to bench anything with. RAID0 should be used in a very limited sense and IMO only as a supplement to a system with some form of redundancy built in. Enthusiasts are also the same people that have constant crashes in Windows, “tweak” their windows services by disabling them, (ha,) and other items, etc. Sillyg{<.<}g

            • Randy2
            • 16 years ago

            I understand the risks, yet I use it on all my performance workstations. You have to back-up what is important to you. There is a risk of data loss with any drive arrangement, be it single or RAID 5 etc. So, the best way to minimize loss, is to back-up.

            Regardless of the fact that you lost data from a RAID 0 crash, or a single drive crash, the loss was due to not having a back-up, not due to the disk technology you used.

      • eitje
      • 16 years ago

      i know this will be dismissed as a “one off”, but i play Star Wars Galaxies, and the time it takes to load the world off an SATA RAID 0 is drastically improved compared to the other computer i use, which uses a single SATA drive.

      i think it does more than just improve your HDTach scores… but there are not many applications that will be loading 200 MB of data into memory every time you use them. ๐Ÿ™‚

      especially not most of the FPS. call me esoteric if you will. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Randy2
        • 16 years ago

        I can’t dismiss your claim as a “one-off”. Your claim is the reason I use RAID 0 on my performance machines – greatly improved load times versus an independent disk set-up.

      • Krogoth
      • 16 years ago

      Doom 3, Half-Life 2 and Far Cry benefit from RAID 0 by speeding up load time of levels. You still need to move data from the HDD to the system memory before, benefiting from the system memory’s much faster read/write speeds. I would imagine that there are a few more apps that would benefit from it as well.

        • tu2thepoo
        • 16 years ago

        I can’t imagine that it’s much faster than just keeping your games on a separate physical hard disk.

    • SpotTheCat
    • 16 years ago

    neat. another reason to like intel’s chipsets.

    • rika13
    • 16 years ago

    ยง[<http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/mainboards/display/dfi-lanparty_4.html<]ยง not a new idea, highpoint had it first

      • totoro
      • 16 years ago

      thank you! I thought I had seen this before.
      What happened to it?

      • TO11MTM
      • 16 years ago

      I’ve seen conflicting information on this. XBit claims that it’s something similar to matrix raid, whereas I’ve seen other websites (THG) claim that it is something different, more or less a RAID 1 array where read accesses are interleaved. I’m not sure which side to believe, but I remember the description of it on the old Lanparty site seemed closer to THG’s interpretation.

      • rmstow
      • 16 years ago

      RAID 1.5 is *NOT* the same thing as Intel’s Matrix RAID.

      In RAID 1.5, half of each drive is used for a stripe set, and then the other half of each drive is used to mirror the stripe set. If one drive dies, no data is lost

      In Matrix, the striping and the mirroring are entirely independent. If one drive dies, the data on the mirrored portion of the surviving drive is OK, but any data that was on the striped portion is lost.

    • Krogoth
    • 16 years ago

    it’s awesome concept for people who don’t have HDDs floating around. It’s very unfortunate to be stuck with a lackluster platform for the timing being.

    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 16 years ago

    Damn, too bad it’s saddled to P4 systems now. It’ll be really cool when someone comes out with one for A64’s.

      • Randy2
      • 16 years ago

      It would seem that a simple firmware upgrade could enable this on any existing RAID 0/1 controller. The question is how much overhead it would burden a controller not designed for it with.

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