The new VST UltraTek/66 controller ROCKS!
Posted 6/26/2000, UPDATED 6/28/00 and 7/7/00
© 2000 Rob Art Morgan, editor of BARE FEATS
It's official! I've been telling you for months that something good is about to happen in the Ultra ATA arena. I've been posting results on a mystery card that I could not name. I usually don't publish tests of unannounced products but it was so exciting, I had to share it as unnamed. Here's the scoop:

The "ultra2 SCSI array" utilized a
Initio Miles2 Ultra2 controller with dual 9GB Seagate Barracuda 18XL (ST39236LW). All other timings are with the 30GB version of the IBM Deskstar 75GXP 7200rpm Ultra ATA drive coupled with either the VST UltraTek/66 card or the built-in Sawtooth Ultra ATA/66 interface. All arrays were striped RAID0 using SoftRAID software.

1. The VST UltraTek/66 is as fast or faster than the Sawtooth built-in Ultra ATA/66 interface.
2. The VST UtraTek/66 can be used to create a striped array of drives (dual 80 conductor cables and SoftRAID software). I used dual 30GB
IBM Deskstar 75GXP drives. The resulting performance rivals Ultra2 SCSI striped arrays.
3. The G4 Yikes produces higher write speeds than the G4 Sawtooth. The PCI bus controller chip in the Sawtooth does not support "PCI Memory Read Multiple" command. In other words, it "chokes" when you try to exceed a sustained write speed of 30MB/sec on a single Ultra ATA/66 controller. (I was able to see 43MB/sec by using dual cards but that's a waste of PCI slots!!!!)


"How does the VST UltraTek/66 compare to other Ultra ATA/66 controllers?"
(JUMP to my page comparing the latest Acard with improved firmware to the UltraTek/66.)


"How does the VST UltraTek/66 perform on Power Macs other than the Sawtooth and Yikes?"



1. Anyone who wants a fast Ultra ATA/66 interface to go with
the bargain Ultra ATA/66 drives.

2. Anyone who wants to add more than two drives to their Power Mac (assuming they have PCI slots). It supports up to 4 drives, assuming you have places to put the drives.

3. Anyone who likes wicked fast drive arrays and low prices. If you have two drives (whether they are matching or not), you can create a fast striped array using SoftRAID (included for free when you buy the card). Depending on what model of Macinosh you have and what drives you use, it can rival the speed of Ultra2 SCSI dual drive arrays... at HALF the cost!

4. Anyone with a slow built-in disk interface. The G3 Beige Power Macs have this really lame IDE internal interface. You can bypass it altogether. That's right. Boot from any drive hooked up to the UltraTek/66. Same goes for the older PCI Power Macs with slow SCSI internal interfaces.

Now some of the older Power Macs (like the 9600) have PCI bus speed limitations. Even with a G3/400 processor, the 9600 hits the wall at 26MB/sec sustained read and 15MB/sec sustained write when using the UltraTek controller and a single IBM 75GXP drive. Still, it's much faster than the internal 10MB/sec SCSI interface and internal 5MB/sec SCSI interface. And total cost of equivalent drive/controller setup in Ultra SCSI is double that of the Ultra ATA version.


I assume you can order it direct from VST Technology for $199.95 (including SoftRAID), as soon as they get it up on their web site.

It's already listed at Buy.Com for $154.95, a $45 savings! $20 off on any purchase over $100 before June 30th at

It's also listed on and OtherWorldComputing has said they plan to carry it.



Bare Feats comparison of the Acard versus the UltraTek/66

George Cole of OWC tested a Blue & White G3/500 with Dual 40GB Maxtors connected to a TurboMax/33 in a striped array as well as a Dual 45GB IBM 75GXP's connected to a TurboMax66.

Barney Buoy tested a G4/400 Yikes with dual IBM 75GXP's in a striped array using the Acard.



Are you serious? You can use SoftRAID to create a striped array (RAID 0) of fast Ultra ATA drives? I thought that only worked with SCSI drives.
It's a cheat. If you use an Ultra ATA/66 PCI controller card, it fools the Mac into thinking it's a SCSI bus.



The test machines: An Apple Power Mac G4/400 Yikes, a G4/400 Sawtooth, a Blue & White with a PowerLogix G4/400 ZIF upgrade, and a Power Mac 9600 with a PowerLogix G3/400 Upgrade.

The Ultra ATA controller: VST UltraTek/66 (Courtesy of VST Technology )

The Ultra ATA drive: IBM Deskstar 75GXP 30GB 7200 RPM Ultra ATA/100 with 2MB cache

The Ultra2 controller: Initio Miles2 Ultra2 (courtesy of MacGurus).

The SCSI drive: Seagate Barracuda 18XL Ultra160 (ST39236LW - courtesy of Seagate Technology).

The FireWire controller in the 9600: RocketFire (Courtesy of MacWorks)

The FireWire test drive: VST Full Height FireWire 22GB (Courtesy of VST Technology )

The SUSTAINED READ OR WRITE test results were obtained by using Express-Pro Tools 2.3 benchmark test with 8MB maximum file size and system disk cache disabled. Sustained Rate is displayed in the charts. Peak rates can be impressive but do not reflect typical drive performance.


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© 2000 Rob Art Morgan, editor of BARE FEATS
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