Are RAID and Serial ATA the same thing?

kkelln
kkelln used Ask the Experts™
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Hello;

I just orderd a new system built around the Asus A7N8X mobo Deluxe, which includes a Silicon Image Sil3112 Serial ATA controler as well as an integrarted ATA133 controller. I want to configure the system for the best possible performance. I plan to use 2 60gig drives on the Serial ATA and configure them under RAID 0.  I have been told that I need Serial ATA compatible hard drives to do this. Is this correct? I thought I could use the controller to stripe any two drives (of the same size).

Thanks.
Kirk
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Serial ATA is a new type of interface, it uses a diffrent way(serial) to comunicate to the drives than older ATA formats (Parallel) you will want to get Serial ATA drives hooked up to your Serial ATA controller for best performance.
see http://www.seagate.com/newsinfo/newsroom/papers/D2c24.html

Author

Commented:
I understand that to get the best performance I need serial ATA drives, but will regular ATA133 drives work? If so, can I set them up in a RAID 0 (striped) configuration?

Thanks!

Commented:
With Win2K you should be able to strip any two drives that appear to the operating system.  However, for good performance, it's highly recommended that you use a hardware RAID controller, rather than any ATA controller, and SCSI RAID is probably the most widely supported.

Best configurations in descending order:
* RAID CARD w/ 2 drives attached, striped in hardware
* Serial ATA card w/ 2 serial ATA drives attached, striped in W2K
* ATA133 card with 2 drives attached, striped in W2K

Note that you won't be able to use regular ATA drives with your serial ATA controller. (just in case...)
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Author

Commented:
Hello itgb;

The Asus A7V8X contains the Silicon Image Sil3112 serial ATA controller, which I thought allowed for hardware stiping. Can you confirm this fact? The specs are located http://www.siimage.com/products/sii3112.asp


Thanks
Kirk

Commented:
Kirk,
From the specs, it looks like this board supports software RAID, which will be slower and less robust than a true hardware RAID. However, it's not fully clear.  I'd suggest calling the company to confirm - 408.616.4000.

Commented:
Hello kkelln
Hardware striping..no it doesnt do that...
-This serial Ata harddisk controller is simply emtreemly fast therefor it is a good option for say a software mirror raid 1 in windows 2000 pro with dynamic disk volumes... You'd want a hardware raid controller and name brand server class machine for a 2000 server.

Author

Commented:
Hello Housenet;

I am using the machine for editing digital audio and video. I have 2 80gig ATA 1000 drives with cache. I wanted to configure the two drives to produce a 160gig partition using RAID 0 then install W2000 into this partition.

1. Is this possible with the Sil3112 controller?
2. If it is possible, is this the best solution for performance (as compared to using the ATA133 IDE controller also available on the drive?

THANKS EVERYONE!
Kirk

Author

Commented:
Hello Housenet;

I am using the machine for editing digital audio and video. I have 2 80gig ATA 1000 drives with cache. I wanted to configure the two drives to produce a 160gig partition using RAID 0 then install W2000 into this partition.

1. Is this possible with the Sil3112 controller?
2. If it is possible, is this the best solution for performance (as compared to using the ATA133 IDE controller also available on the drive?

THANKS EVERYONE!
Kirk

Commented:
Keep in mind that there are associated adapters that you can get to connect parralel drives to the serial ATA...I think that that they are actually called "Serallel" adapters or something to that effect and should be available at any computer store or perhaps from a solid retailer online. :)

Commented:
I don't think anyones mentioned that you can get a raid controller (PCI) for ATA - Promise appear to be well respected in this field ... http://www.promise.com/product/product_detail_eng.asp?productId=88&familyId=2 looks good for you. You can have Raid 0 (striping) with two ATA 133 drives. A, slightly dated, review is at http://www.thinkcomputers.org/reviews/promiseft.html.

Serial ATA (eg http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=serial%20ata) has theoretical bandwidth of over 500 MByte/s whilst the ATA Raid 0 is not going to achieve double the disc bw (ie < 266).  However, things like cache size might have a far larger bearing on the actual performance. Of course you could have a Raid 1 (mirror) or 0+1 (mirror and stripe). Don't know about SerialATA (SATA) raids though ...?

It seems that as you've got the onboard SATA controller you may as well get SATA drives.

HTH

pbhj

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