BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

Bare Feats Asks, "How About TWO Western Digital Caviar 120GB Drives With 8MB 'JUMBO' Buffer In A Striped RAID Array?"

February 1st, 2002
by
rob ART morgan, Bare Feats Mad Scientist

 

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

The Dual Drive Ultra ATA Hardware ATA-133 RAID was the fastest. It has the advantage of being compatible with both OS 9 and OS 10. So such a setup would make an awesome boot drive for those of you jumping back and forth.

(We've come a long way since it took four Ultra160 SCSI drives to reach 100MB/sec.)

The second fastest setup was a tie between the Sonnet Tempo ATA-100 with software RAID and the Acard 6880M with Software RAID. I say "tie" because the Sonnet had the second fastest READ speed and the Acard had the second fastest WRITE speed.

Software RAID is actually more flexible than the hardware method since it allows for more than two drives and enables you to mirror as well as stripe. The ultimate Ultra ATA setup, to me, would be dual hardware RAID cards with two drives each. Then use software to mirror one pair to the other.

Even with two separate FireWire controllers, the software induced FireWire RAID came in third. I just wish Apple would wake up and offer dual controller FireWire internally. It would be faster than "faking" it with a FireWire PCI card running in parallel to the internal FireWire.

 

WHERE TO BUY

NewEgg.com has the best price on the IBM 120gxp. (Search on "120gxp")

The Acard AEC-6880M True Hardware RAID Ultra ATA-133 card is available from Other World Computing. A reader found the same card with the SIIG label on TheNerds.Net for $132. (Search on the catalog number: 989889)

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TEST NOTES

The test "mule" was an Apple Dual G4/800 with disk cache set to 512K (to diminish effect of system caching), AppleTalk OFF, Virtual Memory OFF, and Extensions set to minimal (BASE).

TESTED HARDWARE ATA RAID SETUP
AEC-6880M True Hardware RAID Ultra ATA-133 PCI Adapter connected to two Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB drives, each with its own 80 conductor Teflon data cable and each with its own port.

TESTED SOFTWARE ATA RAID SETUPS
AEC-6880M True Hardware RAID Ultra ATA-133 PCI Adapter connected to two Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB drives, each with its own 80 conductor Teflon data cable and each with its own port.... but using Intech HD Speed Tools 3.4 QuickStripe function.

Sonnet Tempo ATA-100 PCI adapter connected to two Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB drives, each with its own 80 conductor Teflon data cable and each with its own port.... but using Intech HD Speed Tools 3.4 QuickStripe function.

TESTED FIREWIRE DRIVE SYSTEM
Dual
Granite Digital "911" Case Kits (each with a Western Digital Caviar WD1200JB drive and each with its own FireWire controller -- one internal, one FWDepot PCI FireWire PCI card)

TEST DRIVERS/FORMATTERS:
Intech HD Speed Tools 3.4 (formatter and FW enablers)
(includes QuickStripe RAID 0 support for a pair of FireWire, ATA, or SCSI drives)

TEST PROCEDURES:
Used QuickBench software from
Intech test smaller RANDOM read/writes and larger SEQUENTIAL read/writes. I used 10MB block size for the sequential so the speed can't be explained in terms of the 8MB buffer on the Western Digital drives.

© 1995-2007 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster

 

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