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Promise FastTrak100 vs. AMI MegaRAID IDE100
  April 4, 2001 Author: Terry Baranski  
AMI MegaRAID IDE100 provided by American Megatrends Inc.
Promise FastTrak-100 provided by Promise Technology, Inc.


Introduction

Our last RAID review took a look at two hardware ATA RAID controllers: the SuperTrak100 and Escalade 6400. As discussed there, the presence of an on-board RISC processor on both of these cards earned them the "true hardware RAID" classification - RAID cards without a dedicated processor are oftentimes called "firmware RAID" as all RAID calculations are done by the system's main processor.

This time around we're going to compare two lower-cost "firmware" solutions: the Promise FastTrak100 and the AMI MegaRAID IDE100 (formally known as the HyperDisk 100). Both of these cards retail for under $100 - far less expensive than hardware cards like the SuperTrak and Escalade.

Needless to say, this price differential raises the issue of performance. If firmware RAID cards like the FastTrak and MegaRAID perform as well as hardware RAID adapters such as the SuperTrak and Escalade, there's little incentive to pay much more for one of the latter cards. If performance differences are significant, however, then one would have to consider each card's price/performance ratio before deciding which one to buy.

Before assessing the performance of each card, let's take a closer look at the adapters themselves.


The FastTrak100...

The FastTrak series of RAID adapters is undoubtedly the most well known of them all - it's primarily this series that enabled Promise to attain a 90% share of the ATA RAID market over the last few years. The FastTrak100, up until a couple weeks ago, was the newest version of this popular line (see our news post about Promise's FastTrak100 TX & LP announcment), allowing ATA-100 support via Promise's ATA-100 ASIC.


FastTrak 100 Specifications...

  • RAID levels 0, 1, 01, and JBOD; (Just a Bunch Of Disks... serially linked into one capacity)
  • Up to 4 ATA-100 drives supported (2 ATA channels);
  • "Hot spare" capability;
  • Stripe size selectable from 1K to 1MB;
  • S.M.A.R.T. support for reporting pending disk drive failures;
  • Easy upgrade of current disk drive to a RAID 1 array by automatically duplicating existing data to the array;
  • Support for BIOS Boot Specification (BBS);
  • DOS / Win3.1 / 9x / ME / NT / 2000 support;
  • 2-year warranty
Included with the Promise are the following items:
  • Two dual-connector, 80-conductor ATA cables;
  • ~90 page user manual (can be downloaded here).
  • Driver and utility disks


The Software...

The FaskTrak 100's BIOS - a.k.a. FastBuild - facilitates standard functions such as array creation, deletion, and status viewing. RAID 0 arrays may be configured with one to four drives (a 1-drive RAID 0 array represents a standard single-drive configuration), RAID 1 arrays can be configured with two drives (with one or two hot spares also configurable), while RAID 01 arrays must have four drives. Stripe size for RAID 0 and RAID 01 arrays can be between 1K and 1MB (logarithmic intervals), and any array may be made bootable if the user so desires. Also notable is that a RAID 1 array can be configured from an existing drive without any data loss. This is a convenient feature for those who want to add redundancy to an existing drive.

The FastTrak also comes with FastCheck, a utility that monitors and configures arrays from within Windows. With FastCheck, one may view array details, perform synchronization of a RAID 1 array, rebuild a degraded RAID 1/01 array, and configure a plethora of options including S.M.A.R.T enable/disable, write cache enable/disable (refers to the write cache of the drives themselves), rebuild rate (the rate at which a degraded array is rebuilt when a spare drive is made available), PCI bus utilization, and what action to take if an error is encountered during a rebuild or synchronization procedure.


The MegaRAID IDE100...

Though not as well known as the FastTrak series, AMI's MegaRAID series of cards (known as HyperDisk up until recently) targets the exact same market: cost-sensitive ATA RAID. Announced in July of 2000, the MegaRAID IDE100 positions itself as a direct competitor to the FastTrak100.


MegaRAID IDE100 Specifications...

  • RAID levels 0, 1, 10, and JBOD;
  • Supports two channels and up to four drives;
  • "Hot spare" capability;
  • Stripe size selectable from 32K to 4MB;
  • Support for BBS (BIOS boot specification);
  • S.M.A.R.T. support;
  • Special handling of error log, spare drive, and rebuilding;
  • DOS / Win 9x / NT / 2000 / Red Hat Linux 6.1 & 6.2 support;
  • 1-year warranty
Included with the card are the following items:
  • Two dual-connector, 80-conductor ATA cables;
  • CD with utilities and user manual;
  • Driver disk

Note that the MegaRAID IDE100's user guide is on a CD rather than in print. We find it irritating to have to put the CD in every time you wish to consult the user guide.


The Software...

As with the FastTrak, MegaRAID IDE100's BIOS facilitates creation, views, and deletion of arrays. Available stripe sizes range from 32K to 4MB. The following options may be toggled per array: write cache enable/disable (as with the FastTrak, this refers to the write cache of the drives themselves), boot sector virus protection enable/disable, DMA enable/disable, and array bootable yes/no.

The MegaRAID's IDE100 software utility is, interestingly enough, still called "HyperDisk Console." The utility displays information about the controller(s), drives, and arrays. Several options may be toggled including 'Start rebuilding if error threshold reached,' 'Check arrays for rebuild at startup,' 'Make contents of the array drives identical after consistency errors found,' and 'Enable SMART on physical drives.' The utility also features "Spy Service," an array status icon on the user's taskbar. The icon turns green when all arrays are ok, yellow when there are errors, and red to "warn of a critical problem which could cause the system to fail." Finally, the utility can maintain a log of any array-related errors.


The Benchmarks...

Note: Our RAID testing methodology was disclosed in Battle Of The Titans: The Promise SuperTrak100 vs. 3ware's Escalade 6400.

For the following benchmarks, the "write cache" setting of both cards was enabled. The MegaRAID's DMA setting was enabled, and tests were done using a stripe size of 64k for both cards. The FastTrak was tested with driver version 1.30 (Build 33) and BIOS version 1.30 (Build 12), while the MegaRAID was tested with driver version 2.40 and BIOS version 2.410.


WinBench results...

Let's examine base, single drive scores for each card to establish a baseline against which RAID arrays may be compared.

Jump To Analysis Ziff Davis WinBench 99 under Windows 2000 Professional using NTFS Jump To Analysis
Benchmark Single-Drive Base Scores
Abit's SL6 on-board ATAPromise Ultra66MegaRAID IDE100FastTrak 100
Business Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 6484 5820 6304 6128
High-End Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 16220 14460 15740 15400
AVS/Express 3.4 (KB/sec) 13600 13160 16260 15320
FrontPage 98 (KB/sec) 65860 50980 61980 62520
MicroStation SE (KB/sec) 21480 18320 20880 20520
Photoshop 4.0 (KB/sec) 8534 8668 8618 8598
Premiere 4.2 (KB/sec) 14760 12440 14320 13860
Sound Forge 4.0 (KB/sec) 18540 16040 15620 15200
Visual C++ (KB/sec) 17000 14200 14600 14460
Disk/Read Transfer RateStorageReview.com
Beginning (KB/sec) 29800 29733 29800 29667
End (KB/sec) 17500 17500 17500 17433
Disk Access Time (ms) 15.2 15.3 15.2 15.1
Disk CPU Utilization (%) 2.9 3.0 4.8 3.0
 

The only thing that stands out about the above scores is the MegaRAID's significantly higher CPU utilization... upwards of 2% higher than that of the FastTrak. This wouldn't likely be noticeable to users, but it's interesting nonetheless.


WinBench RAID 0 scores...

Jump To Analysis Ziff Davis WinBench 99 under Windows 2000 Professional using NTFS - RAID 0 Jump To Analysis
Benchmark 2 Drives, RAID 0 3 Drives, RAID 0 4 Drives, RAID 0
MegaRAID IDE100 FastTrak 100 MegaRAID IDE100 FastTrak 100 MegaRAID IDE100 FastTrak 100
Business Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 6176 6124 6236 6180 6340 6356
High-End Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 18100 9424 19340 10700 19200 8652
AVS/Express 3.4 (KB/sec) 16020 17280 16840 16740 15042 17420
FrontPage 98 (KB/sec) 62100 61380 17960 62180 61540 61880
MicroStation SE (KB/sec) 19060 19000 14920 18480 17420 17380
Photoshop 4.0 (KB/sec) 11780 4502 14540 5096 15880 3886
Premiere 4.2 (KB/sec) 16880 5858 18300 7346 17620 5716
Sound Forge 4.0 (KB/sec) 18760 8350 19740 9396 19340 6866
Visual C++ (KB/sec) 17300 10780 17680 12100 17740 10508
Disk/Read Transfer RateStorageReview.com
Beginning (KB/sec) 59467 58700 75567 80600 76567 80667
End (KB/sec) 34933 34667 52200 51667 69767 68467
Disk Access Time (ms) 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.4 14.9 14.8
Disk CPU Utilization (%) 4.7 3.0 4.8 3.1 90.4 88.7
 

Several notables... First, each card's Business Disk Winmark performance in RAID 0 remains virtually unchanged from its single-drive performance. Does this imply no performance improvement in RAID 0 with both of these cards? Unlikely, so we'll avoid drawing such a conclusion until we go over additional results.

The High-End Disk Winmarks, however, are another story. The MegaRAID's scores do indeed scale somewhat in RAID 0... and we do believe they are representative of performance. The FastTrak's High-End scores, however, are far too low to be believable, and are almost certainly the result of the same WinBench Disk Winmark issue we encountered in the Escalade 6400 vs. SuperTrak 100 article. This prevents us from comparing the two cards here.

When it comes to sustained transfer rates, both cards scale quite nicely when going from a single drive to 2 and 3-drive RAID 0 arrays. Neither card, however, yields an STR improvement when going from 3 to 4 drives - the FastTrak limits transfers to around 80MB/sec, while the MegaRAID limits around 76MB/sec.

As far as CPU utilization goes, the FastTrak consistently scores 1.50-1.75% better than the MegaRAID in this area. As with the Escalade 6400 vs. SuperTrak 100 review, WinBench reports ridiculously high CPU utilization in 4-drive RAID 0 arrays. As mentioned in that review, we believe this to be a flaw in WinBench itself.


WinBench RAID 1 scores...

Jump To Analysis Ziff Davis WinBench 99 under Windows 2000 Professional using NTFS - RAID 1 Jump To Analysis
Benchmark 2 Drives, RAID 1
MegaRAID IDE100 FastTrak 100
Business Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 6304 4450
High-End Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 15400 2920
AVS/Express 3.4 (KB/sec) 15900 15340
FrontPage 98 (KB/sec) 60860 49020
MicroStation SE (KB/sec) 21100 19840
Photoshop 4.0 (KB/sec) 8626 1056
Premiere 4.2 (KB/sec) 13380 1614
Sound Forge 4.0 (KB/sec) 14900 2370
Visual C++ (KB/sec) 14360 3734
Disk/Read Transfer RateStorageReview.com
Beginning (KB/sec) 29800 29567
End (KB/sec) 17500 17400
Disk Access Time (ms) 15.2 13.6
Disk CPU Utilization (%) 4.7 3.1
 

In RAID 1, the MegaRAID exhibits little improvement over a single drive. This indicates that the adapter doesn't balance requests between the two drives in the array. Given the MegaRAID's cost-sensitive nature, this should be no surprise.

Unfortunately, the FastTrak's High-End Disk Winmark scores continue to be blatantly unrepresentative, and are therefore useless for comparison purposes. The FastTrak's Business Disk Winmark scores, however, while at first glance looking suspicious, may indeed be accurate - as we'll see later, IOMeter backs them up to an extent.

Also of interest is the Fastrak's significantly lower RAID 1 average access time. This would be expected if the FastTrak balanced loads between the 2 array drives; however, we see no other indications that any balancing is occurs - the FastTrak's Business Diskmark, STR, and (as we'll see) IOMeter scores in RAID 1 don't concur.


WinBench RAID 01/10 scores...

Jump To Analysis Ziff Davis WinBench 99 under Windows 2000 Professional using NTFS - RAID 01/10 Jump To Analysis
Benchmark 4 Drives, MegaRAID IDE100 in RAID 10, FastTrak 100 in RAID 01
MegaRAID IDE100 FastTrak 100
Business Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 6020 4302
High-End Disk WinMark 99 (KB/sec) 17420 3080
AVS/Express 3.4 (KB/sec) 15320 14820
FrontPage 98 (KB/sec) 60080 50180
MicroStation SE (KB/sec) 18340 17600
Photoshop 4.0 (KB/sec) 11460 1136
Premiere 4.2 (KB/sec) 16160 1696
Sound Forge 4.0 (KB/sec) 17780 2506
Visual C++ (KB/sec) 16680 3894
Disk/Read Transfer RateStorageReview.com
Beginning (KB/sec) 59067 59267
End (KB/sec) 34933 34800
Disk Access Time (ms) 15.1 13.3
Disk CPU Utilization (%) 4.7 3.1
 

Although the MegaRAID's RAID 10 business Disk Winmark score comes in lower than that of a single drive, its High-End Diskmark score is indeed higher, likely due to doubling of STR. WinBench also reports a slightly lower access time relative to a single drive; this may be within the test's margin of error.

As far as the FastTrak goes, the Diskmark scores are obviously not representative of performance. They are simply abysmal, despite a high STR and significantly lower reported access time than that of a single drive.


IOMeter scores...

As was the case in the Escalade 6400 vs. SuperTrak 100 article, we're pleased to deploy IOMeter for a more reliable performance picture of these adapters. Due to WinBench's problems, we can't compare any of the above Diskmark scores with each other to ascertain performance differences between the two units. With IOMeter, however, we may do so.


Base scores...

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - File Server Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
Abit SL6, 1 Drive64.11 0.70 15.59 ms 0.76 % 84.36
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive65.51 0.69 15.26 ms 0.70 % 93.59
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive65.57 0.70 15.24 ms 1.16 % 56.53
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive65.53 0.71 15.25 ms 0.75 % 87.37
Load = Very Light
Abit SL6, 1 Drive66.91 0.73 59.77 ms 0.75 % 89.21
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive67.85 0.73 58.94 ms 0.73 % 92.95
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive68.39 0.74 58.48 ms 1.20 % 56.99
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive68.14 0.73 58.69 ms 0.75 % 90.85
Load = Light
Abit SL6, 1 Drive76.83 0.85 208.21 ms 0.87 % 88.31
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive78.11 0.85 204.80 ms 0.89 % 87.76
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive79.11 0.87 202.22 ms 1.43 % 55.32
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive78.78 0.86 203.05 ms 0.93 % 84.71
Load = Moderate
Abit SL6, 1 Drive86.75 0.95 737.33 ms 1.04 % 83.41
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive87.72 0.94 729.34 ms 1.02 % 86.00
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive88.84 0.95 720.02 ms 1.62 % 54.84
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive88.71 0.96 720.95 ms 1.11 % 79.92
Load = Heavy
Abit SL6, 1 Drive94.68 1.02 2703.59 ms 1.48 % 63.97
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive96.97 1.05 2634.26 ms 1.53 % 63.38
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive97.30 1.05 2624.96 ms 2.05 % 47.46
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive97.29 1.05 2624.04 ms 1.40 % 69.49

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Workstation Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
Abit SL6, 1 Drive75.20 0.59 13.29 ms 0.84 % 89.52
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive76.05 0.59 13.14 ms 0.81 % 93.89
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive76.87 0.60 13.00 ms 1.44 % 53.38
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive77.05 0.60 12.97 ms 0.87 % 88.56
Load = Very Light
Abit SL6, 1 Drive77.47 0.61 51.63 ms 0.76 % 101.93
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive77.96 0.61 51.30 ms 0.81 % 96.25
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive79.13 0.62 50.54 ms 1.44 % 54.95
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive79.52 0.62 50.30 ms 0.99 % 80.32
Load = Light
Abit SL6, 1 Drive88.26 0.69 181.26 ms 1.00 % 88.26
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive88.49 0.70 178.74 ms 1.03 % 85.91
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive91.39 0.71 175.03 ms 1.60 % 57.12
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive91.02 0.71 175.69 ms 1.09 % 83.50
Load = Moderate
Abit SL6, 1 Drive98.92 0.77 646.73 ms 1.05 % 94.21
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive99.85 0.78 640.55 ms 1.14 % 87.59
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive101.90 0.80 627.75 ms 1.90 % 53.63
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive102.08 0.80 626.73 ms 1.20 % 85.07
Load = Heavy
Abit SL6, 1 Drive110.14 0.86 2320.72 ms 1.52 % 72.46
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive110.34 0.86 2316.28 ms 1.66 % 66.47
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive111.10 0.87 2300.29 ms 2.47 % 44.98
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive111.46 0.87 2293.11 ms 1.68 % 66.35

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Database Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
Abit SL6, 1 Drive68.64 0.54 14.56 ms 0.69 % 99.48
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive76.05 0.59 13.14 ms 0.81 % 93.89
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive69.91 0.55 14.30 ms 1.23 % 56.84
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive70.01 0.55 14.28 ms 0.80 % 87.51
Load = Very Light
Abit SL6, 1 Drive70.33 0.55 56.87 ms 0.74 % 95.04
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive77.96 0.61 51.30 ms 0.81 % 96.25
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive72.02 0.56 55.53 ms 1.38 % 52.19
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive72.20 0.56 55.39 ms 0.83 % 86.99
Load = Light
Abit SL6, 1 Drive79.27 0.62 201.79 ms 0.87 % 91.11
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive88.49 0.70 178.74 ms 1.03 % 85.91
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive82.39 0.64 194.18 ms 1.49 % 55.30
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive82.11 0.64 194.83 ms 0.97 % 84.65
Load = Moderate
Abit SL6, 1 Drive87.89 0.69 727.76 ms 0.90 % 97.66
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive99.85 0.78 640.55 ms 1.14 % 87.59
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive90.92 0.71 703.63 ms 1.69 % 53.80
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive90.44 0.71 705.61 ms 1.06 % 85.32
Load = Heavy
Abit SL6, 1 Drive95.50 0.75 2647.68 ms 1.49 % 64.09
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive110.34 0.86 2316.28 ms 1.66 % 66.47
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive98.43 0.77 2596.53 ms 2.21 % 44.54
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive98.16 0.77 2603.14 ms 1.49 % 65.88

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Random Write PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
Abit SL6, 1 Drive104.48 0.82 9.57 ms 1.08 % 96.74
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive105.25 0.82 9.50 ms 1.17 % 89.96
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive107.16 0.84 9.33 ms 2.01 % 53.31
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive107.52 0.84 9.30 ms 1.31 % 82.08
Load = Very Light
Abit SL6, 1 Drive104.36 0.82 38.32 ms 1.00 % 104.36
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive105.17 0.82 38.03 ms 1.13 % 93.07
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive107.52 0.84 37.20 ms 2.08 % 51.69
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive107.21 0.84 37.31 ms 1.23 % 87.16
Load = Light
Abit SL6, 1 Drive104.33 0.82 153.34 ms 1.06 % 98.42
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive105.12 0.82 152.17 ms 1.09 % 96.44
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive107.76 0.84 148.46 ms 2.00 % 53.88
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive107.75 0.84 148.48 ms 1.20 % 89.79
Load = Moderate
Abit SL6, 1 Drive105.80 0.83 604.69 ms 1.08 % 97.96
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive106.68 0.83 599.56 ms 1.23 % 86.73
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive108.99 0.85 586.93 ms 2.05 % 53.17
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive109.03 0.85 586.79 ms 1.29 % 84.52
Load = Heavy
Abit SL6, 1 Drive114.16 0.89 2239.30 ms 1.71 % 66.76
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive115.36 0.90 2215.46 ms 1.68 % 68.67
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive116.76 0.91 2189.30 ms 2.70 % 43.24
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive116.70 0.91 2190.80 ms 1.87 % 62.41

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Sequential Write PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
Abit SL6, 1 Drive110.14 27.54 9.07 ms 6.75 % 16.32
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive110.39 27.60 9.05 ms 3.56 % 31.01
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive111.26 27.82 8.98 ms 4.37 % 25.46
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive111.19 27.80 8.99 ms 3.94 % 28.22
Load = Very Light
Abit SL6, 1 Drive109.91 27.48 36.39 ms 6.82 % 16.12
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive110.51 27.63 36.19 ms 3.74 % 29.55
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive111.31 27.83 35.93 ms 4.55 % 24.46
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive111.14 27.79 35.98 ms 4.04 % 27.51
Load = Light
Abit SL6, 1 Drive109.90 27.48 145.56 ms 7.36 % 14.93
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive110.55 27.64 144.71 ms 3.92 % 28.20
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive111.28 27.82 143.78 ms 4.42 % 25.18
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive111.16 27.79 143.93 ms 4.29 % 25.91
Load = Moderate
Abit SL6, 1 Drive109.97 27.49 427.35 ms 12.40 % 8.87
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive110.50 27.62 579.16 ms 6.13 % 18.03
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive111.29 27.82 575.06 ms 4.85 % 22.95
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive111.19 27.80 575.49 ms 7.41 % 15.01
Load = Heavy
Abit SL6, 1 Drive108.61 27.15 2126.35 ms 11.58 % 9.38
Promise Ultra 66, 1 Drive109.43 27.36 2115.21 ms 5.65 % 19.37
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive110.07 27.52 2121.00 ms 5.52 % 19.94
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive110.07 27.52 2103.10 ms 6.20 % 17.75
 

The first thing one is likely to notice above is similarity between scores: there is no measurable performance difference whatsoever between these cards with a single drive. The MegaRAID's CPU utilization is again comes in somewhat higher, but it's nonetheless far too small of a difference to have any impact on performance.


RAID 0...

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - File Server Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives71.52 0.77 13.98 ms 1.40 % 51.09
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives70.57 0.77 14.16 ms 0.85 % 83.02
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives73.06 0.78 54.77 ms 1.47 % 49.70
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives71.83 0.78 55.68 ms 0.94 % 76.41
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives84.00 0.92 190.43 ms 1.74 % 48.28
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives82.77 0.90 193.26 ms 1.01 % 81.95
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives96.24 1.04 664.66 ms 1.96 % 49.10
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives94.87 1.02 674.39 ms 1.29 % 73.54
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives109.76 1.19 2328.24 ms 2.68 % 40.96
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives108.14 1.18 2363.31 ms 1.84 % 58.77

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Workstation Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives84.13 0.66 11.88 ms 1.58 % 53.25
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives84.16 0.66 11.88 ms 1.05 % 80.15
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives85.35 0.67 46.86 ms 1.56 % 54.71
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives85.44 0.67 46.81 ms 1.11 % 76.97
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives96.75 0.76 165.35 ms 1.87 % 51.74
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives96.49 0.75 165.77 ms 1.22 % 79.09
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives110.39 0.86 579.55 ms 2.31 % 47.79
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives110.51 0.86 578.96 ms 1.55 % 71.30
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives125.68 0.98 2034.28 ms 3.03 % 41.48
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives125.23 0.98 2041.51 ms 2.10 % 59.63

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Database Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives81.59 0.64 12.25 ms 1.64 % 49.75
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives81.37 0.64 12.25 ms 1.09 % 74.65
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives82.96 0.65 48.21 ms 1.63 % 50.90
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives82.37 0.64 48.55 ms 1.00 % 82.37
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives93.29 0.73 171.47 ms 1.74 % 53.61
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives92.53 0.72 172.87 ms 1.21 % 76.47
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives106.25 0.83 602.02 ms 2.16 % 49.19
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives105.36 0.82 606.88 ms 1.45 % 72.66
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives120.71 0.94 2117.99 ms 2.97 % 40.64
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives121.28 0.95 2107.78 ms 2.26 % 53.66

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Random Write PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives198.54 1.55 5.03 ms 3.72 % 53.37
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives196.79 1.54 5.08 ms 2.50 % 78.72
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives198.92 1.55 20.10 ms 3.57 % 55.72
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives195.88 1.53 20.42 ms 2.78 % 70.46
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives198.52 1.55 80.59 ms 3.74 % 53.08
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives196.34 1.53 81.47 ms 2.80 % 70.12
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives200.29 1.56 319.44 ms 4.14 % 48.38
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives197.14 1.54 324.54 ms 2.88 % 68.45
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives208.17 1.63 1228.70 ms 5.11 % 40.74
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives205.58 1.61 1243.42 ms 4.02 % 51.14

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Sequential Write PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives222.67 55.67 4.49 ms 10.85 % 20.52
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives221.57 55.39 4.51 ms 7.93 % 27.94
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives222.63 55.66 17.96 ms 11.12 % 20.02
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives221.68 55.42 18.04 ms 8.32 % 26.64
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives222.75 55.69 71.82 ms 10.91 % 20.42
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives221.49 55.37 72.23 ms 8.73 % 25.37
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives222.65 55.66 287.43 ms 12.03 % 18.51
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives221.58 55.40 288.78 ms 12.35 % 17.94
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives219.90 54.98 1054.30 ms 12.91 % 17.03
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives220.45 55.11 1049.51 ms 12.43 % 17.74



Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - File Server Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives70.31 0.75 14.22 ms 1.38 % 50.95
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives69.91 0.75 14.30 ms 0.85 % 82.25
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives71.18 0.76 56.19 ms 1.39 % 51.21
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives70.79 0.77 56.50 ms 0.88 % 80.44
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives80.47 0.86 198.81 ms 1.56 % 51.58
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives80.09 0.87 199.75 ms 1.00 % 80.09
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives92.91 1.00 688.63 ms 1.90 % 48.90
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives92.41 0.99 692.05 ms 1.11 % 83.25
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives106.49 1.14 2400.23 ms 2.50 % 42.60
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives105.43 1.14 2424.19 ms 1.69 % 62.38

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Workstation Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives83.84 0.66 11.92 ms 1.54 % 54.44
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives83.72 0.65 11.94 ms 0.98 % 85.43
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives84.60 0.66 47.27 ms 1.58 % 53.54
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives84.40 0.66 47.38 ms 1.09 % 77.43
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives94.10 0.74 170.01 ms 1.87 % 50.32
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives93.78 0.73 170.58 ms 1.20 % 78.15
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives107.49 0.84 595.20 ms 2.03 % 52.95
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives107.92 0.84 592.62 ms 1.45 % 74.43
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives123.71 0.97 2066.69 ms 2.97 % 41.65
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives123.74 0.97 2066.05 ms 2.03 % 60.96

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Database Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives81.84 0.64 12.21 ms 1.62 % 50.52
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives82.31 0.64 12.14 ms 1.04 % 79.14
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives82.09 0.64 48.72 ms 1.54 % 53.31
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives82.34 0.64 48.57 ms 1.03 % 79.94
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives92.45 0.72 173.05 ms 1.79 % 51.65
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives92.20 0.72 173.51 ms 1.17 % 78.80
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives106.54 0.83 600.42 ms 2.03 % 52.48
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives106.81 0.83 598.83 ms 1.33 % 80.31
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives122.19 0.95 2092.27 ms 2.82 % 43.33
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives122.30 0.96 2090.19 ms 2.02 % 60.54

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Random Write PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives294.14 2.30 3.40 ms 5.56 % 52.90
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives292.07 2.28 3.42 ms 3.61 % 80.91
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives294.28 2.30 13.59 ms 5.44 % 54.10
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives292.81 2.29 13.66 ms 3.79 % 77.26
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives293.16 2.29 54.57 ms 5.72 % 51.25
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives291.90 2.28 54.80 ms 4.01 % 72.79
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives295.42 2.31 216.60 ms 5.87 % 50.33
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives292.45 2.28 218.79 ms 3.96 % 73.85
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives304.19 2.38 841.09 ms 7.15 % 42.54
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives303.40 2.37 843.13 ms 5.58 % 54.37

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Sequential Write PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives283.12 70.78 3.53 ms 16.30 % 17.37
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives281.70 70.43 3.54 ms 9.84 % 28.63
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives286.12 71.53 13.97 ms 16.57 % 17.27
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives284.72 71.18 14.04 ms 10.37 % 27.46
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives286.09 71.52 55.91 ms 16.85 % 16.98
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives284.27 71.07 56.28 ms 11.12 % 25.56
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives285.89 71.47 223.85 ms 17.79 % 16.07
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives282.50 70.62 226.53 ms 15.40 % 18.34
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives283.76 70.94 815.82 ms 19.85 % 14.30
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives281.16 70.29 823.02 ms 15.50 % 18.14



Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - File Server Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives70.02 0.75 14.28 ms 1.36 % 51.49
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives73.65 0.80 13.57 ms 0.89 % 82.75
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives70.82 0.76 56.47 ms 1.36 % 52.07
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives73.46 0.79 54.45 ms 0.98 % 74.96
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives78.32 0.86 204.26 ms 1.55 % 50.53
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives82.11 0.88 194.81 ms 1.03 % 79.72
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives90.54 0.98 706.51 ms 1.71 % 52.95
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives94.00 1.02 680.49 ms 1.23 % 76.42
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives104.19 1.12 2452.49 ms 2.57 % 40.54
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives107.66 1.16 2374.46 ms 1.70 % 63.33

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Workstation Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives83.89 0.66 11.92 ms 1.64 % 51.15
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives87.01 0.68 11.49 ms 1.09 % 79.83
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives84.68 0.66 47.23 ms 1.65 % 51.32
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives87.69 0.69 45.61 ms 1.09 % 80.45
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives91.72 0.72 174.42 ms 1.80 % 50.96
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives94.61 0.74 169.07 ms 1.18 % 80.18
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives105.02 0.82 609.10 ms 2.05 % 51.23
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives109.21 0.85 585.81 ms 1.47 % 74.29
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives120.40 0.94 2122.95 ms 2.75 % 43.78
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives124.87 0.98 2047.78 ms 2.19 % 57.02

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Database Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives82.77 0.65 12.08 ms 1.51 % 54.81
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives85.60 0.67 11.68 ms 1.01 % 84.75
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives83.36 0.65 47.98 ms 1.67 % 49.92
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives85.93 0.67 46.54 ms 1.06 % 81.07
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives91.08 0.71 175.64 ms 1.71 % 53.26
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives94.69 0.74 168.95 ms 1.20 % 78.91
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives105.46 0.82 606.59 ms 2.25 % 46.87
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives108.23 0.85 591.11 ms 1.39 % 77.86
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives121.89 0.95 2096.76 ms 2.77 % 44.00
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives125.77 0.98 2032.34 ms 2.17 % 57.96

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Random Write PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives389.84 3.05 2.56 ms 7.41 % 52.61
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives384.15 3.00 2.60 ms 4.95 % 77.61
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives390.24 3.05 10.25 ms 7.36 % 53.02
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives384.40 3.00 10.40 ms 5.48 % 70.15
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives389.48 3.04 41.07 ms 7.42 % 52.49
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives384.51 3.00 41.61 ms 5.37 % 71.60
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives389.32 3.04 164.37 ms 7.76 % 50.17
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives385.80 3.01 165.85 ms 5.59 % 69.02
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives399.20 3.12 641.01 ms 9.48 % 42.11
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives393.54 3.07 650.22 ms 7.42 % 53.04

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Sequential Write PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives296.72 74.18 3.36 ms 20.69 % 14.34
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives291.73 72.93 3.42 ms 10.28 % 28.38
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives304.16 76.04 13.14 ms 21.26 % 14.31
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives299.12 74.78 13.37 ms 11.29 % 26.49
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives303.89 75.97 52.64 ms 21.43 % 14.18
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives298.54 74.64 53.59 ms 12.01 % 24.86
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives303.37 75.84 210.94 ms 22.72 % 13.35
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives295.76 73.94 216.37 ms 19.98 % 14.80
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives299.19 74.80 773.58 ms 24.23 % 12.35
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives292.36 73.09 791.61 ms 16.39 % 17.84
 

Here the same situation exists: there is no significant performance difference between the FastTrak and the MegaRAID. In fact, it's eerie to witness how similarly these two cards perform in RAID 0. The Workstation, File Server, and Database performance of both adapters increases somewhat in a 2-drive RAID 0 array relative to a single drive, but then unfortunately stays about the same when moving to 3 and 4-drive RAID 0 arrays. Random write performance scales as more drives are added to both cards, as does (for the most part) sequential write performance - both cards max out at a fairly impressive 75MB/sec.


RAID 1...

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - File Server Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives65.50 0.70 15.26 ms 1.34 % 48.88
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives66.32 0.72 15.07 ms 0.92 % 72.09
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives68.00 0.74 58.72 ms 1.32 % 51.52
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives69.13 0.75 57.86 ms 1.14 % 60.64
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives79.09 0.86 202.23 ms 1.56 % 50.70
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives79.39 0.85 201.51 ms 1.30 % 61.07
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives88.31 0.97 724.27 ms 1.84 % 47.99
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives86.37 0.94 740.46 ms 1.47 % 58.76
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives97.06 1.07 2631.25 ms 2.44 % 39.78
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives93.61 1.01 2725.73 ms 1.80 % 52.01

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Workstation Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives76.97 0.60 12.99 ms 1.61 % 47.81
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives78.54 0.61 12.73 ms 1.18 % 66.56
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives78.77 0.62 50.76 ms 1.70 % 46.34
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives81.52 0.64 49.06 ms 1.35 % 60.39
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives90.95 0.71 175.87 ms 1.85 % 49.16
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives89.63 0.70 178.48 ms 1.43 % 62.68
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives101.35 0.79 631.26 ms 2.07 % 48.96
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives93.89 0.73 681.17 ms 1.53 % 61.37
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives109.83 0.86 2326.90 ms 2.62 % 41.92
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives102.78 0.80 2486.14 ms 2.13 % 48.25

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Database Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives69.88 0.55 14.30 ms 1.54 % 45.38
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives70.18 0.55 14.24 ms 1.18 % 59.47
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives71.31 0.56 56.09 ms 1.43 % 49.87
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives73.34 0.57 54.53 ms 1.40 % 52.39
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives81.91 0.64 195.32 ms 1.75 % 46.81
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives75.26 0.59 212.55 ms 1.40 % 53.76
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives90.15 0.70 709.47 ms 2.01 % 44.85
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives81.70 0.64 782.74 ms 1.71 % 47.78
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives97.95 0.77 2608.35 ms 2.60 % 37.67
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives88.38 0.69 2891.38 ms 2.08 % 42.49

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Random Write PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives77.06 0.60 12.97 ms 2.18 % 35.35
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives106.06 0.83 9.42 ms 3.04 % 34.89
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives76.45 0.60 52.31 ms 2.23 % 34.28
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives106.42 0.83 37.58 ms 3.75 % 28.38
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives76.71 0.60 208.52 ms 2.37 % 32.37
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives106.46 0.83 150.27 ms 3.89 % 27.37
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives78.02 0.61 819.80 ms 2.27 % 34.37
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives108.46 0.85 589.78 ms 3.85 % 28.17
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives83.59 0.65 3055.89 ms 2.99 % 27.96
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives116.22 0.91 2199.95 ms 4.44 % 26.18

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Sequential Write PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives111.28 27.82 8.89 ms 6.44 % 17.28
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives3.98 1.00 250.95 ms 0.41 % 9.71
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives111.27 27.82 35.94 ms 6.58 % 16.91
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives3.99 1.00 1002.50 ms 0.40 % 9.97
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives111.28 27.82 143.76 ms 6.67 % 16.68
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives3.99 1.00 4009.84 ms 0.47 % 8.49
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives111.27 27.82 575.14 ms 7.15 % 15.56
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives3.99 1.00 16036.40 ms 0.59 % 6.76
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 1, 2 Drives110.06 27.51 2115.76 ms 7.76 % 14.18
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 1, 2 Drives3.88 0.97 57502.82 ms 0.54 % 7.19
 

RAID 1 finally reveals some performance differences between the FastTrak and MegaRAID. In the Workstation, File Server, and Database tests, the FastTrak consistently scores slightly better under linear and light loads, while the MegaRAID takes the lead under moderate and heavy loads. In the random write test, the FastTrak's RAID1 array exhibits little performance difference from a single drive while the MegaRAID, for whatever reason, performs significantly worse. The story changes in the sequential write test, where the MegaRAID performs similarly to a single-drive configuration, while the FastTrak turns in a horrendous 1MB/sec (a potentially questionable result).


RAID 01/10...

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - File Server Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives70.86 0.78 14.11 ms 1.59 % 44.57
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives64.72 0.70 15.45 ms 1.03 % 62.83
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives72.27 0.77 55.34 ms 1.54 % 46.93
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives65.29 0.70 61.25 ms 1.13 % 57.78
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives83.22 0.89 192.21 ms 1.89 % 44.03
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives69.26 0.75 230.97 ms 1.15 % 60.23
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives95.48 1.03 670.01 ms 2.17 % 44.00
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives77.70 0.84 823.19 ms 1.38 % 56.30
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives108.69 1.18 2351.12 ms 2.86 % 38.00
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives86.13 0.92 2965.51 ms 1.73 % 49.79

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Workstation Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives83.43 0.65 11.98 ms 1.73 % 48.23
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives77.49 0.61 12.90 ms 1.26 % 61.50
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives84.91 0.66 47.10 ms 1.70 % 49.95
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives77.76 0.61 51.43 ms 1.37 % 56.76
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives95.67 0.75 167.22 ms 1.97 % 48.56
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives82.54 0.64 193.81 ms 1.41 % 58.54
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives109.52 0.86 584.08 ms 2.36 % 46.41
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives92.43 0.72 691.92 ms 1.56 % 59.25
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives125.23 0.98 2041.87 ms 3.07 % 40.79
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives103.29 0.81 2474.14 ms 2.17 % 47.60

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Database8 Access PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives80.62 0.63 12.40 ms 1.85 % 43.58
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives69.70 0.54 14.34 ms 1.25 % 55.76
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives81.52 0.64 49.06 ms 1.85 % 44.06
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives69.91 0.55 57.21 ms 1.37 % 51.03
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives91.62 0.72 174.63 ms 2.03 % 45.13
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives75.93 0.59 210.68 ms 1.50 % 50.62
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives104.88 0.82 610.02 ms 2.44 % 42.98
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives85.41 0.67 749.00 ms 1.86 % 45.92
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives119.55 0.93 2138.30 ms 3.22 % 37.13
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives94.58 0.74 2701.93 ms 2.31 % 40.94

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Random Write PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives195.04 1.52 5.12 ms 5.43 % 35.92
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives128.10 1.00 7.80 ms 3.53 % 36.29
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives195.29 1.53 20.48 ms 5.52 % 35.38
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives131.62 1.03 30.38 ms 4.44 % 29.64
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives195.28 1.53 81.92 ms 5.67 % 34.44
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives131.60 1.03 121.57 ms 4.40 % 29.91
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives196.78 1.54 325.12 ms 5.70 % 34.52
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives132.06 1.03 484.54 ms 4.66 % 28.34
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives205.48 1.61 1244.67 ms 6.73 % 30.53
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives131.81 1.03 1941.17 ms 5.14 % 25.64

Jump To AnalysisIOMeter - Sequential Write PatternJump To Analysis
IOMeter TestsIO/secMB/secResponse TimeCPU Util.IO/CPU%
Load = Linear
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives154.28 38.57 6.48 ms 11.76 % 13.12
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives4.08 1.02 245.23 ms 0.40 % 10.20
Load = Very Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives156.19 39.05 25.60 ms 12.18 % 12.82
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives4.08 1.02 979.48 ms 0.47 % 8.68
Load = Light
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives156.10 39.03 102.48 ms 12.39 % 12.60
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives4.08 1.02 3919.43 ms 0.39 % 10.46
Load = Moderate
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives155.92 38.98 410.39 ms 12.86 % 12.12
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives4.08 1.02 15676.95 ms 0.51 % 8.00
Load = Heavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives154.46 38.61 1498.87 ms 11.14 % 13.87
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives3.99 1.00 56301.15 ms 0.54 % 7.39
 

As seen through the scores above, the MegaRAID's RAID 10 performance is significantly better all-around than that of a single drive. The scores are virtually identical to the MegaRAID's 2-drive RAID 0 performance, save for the sequential write results which hover 15MB/sec lower.

The FastTrak's RAID 01 performance, on the other hand, is significantly worse than that of just a single drive in the Workstation, File Server, Database8, and Sequential Write tests under light, moderate, and heavy loads. (Under linear and very light loads, performance is about equal.) These scores are obviously disappointing, as we see no reason why RAID 01 performance should be worse than that of a single drive. Random write performance improves somewhat, though not enough to offset the lackluster scores in the other tests.


Conclusion...

Although neither card's overall performance is mind-blowing, it's unfair to expect world-class performance out of cost-sensitive adapters such as the FastTrak and MegaRAID. Again, such cards strive to deliver as much of a performance increase as possible at a given price point as opposed to "absolute top" performance.

So, is one of these cards better than the other? Probably not... such generalization should be avoided. Anyone considering buying one of these cards should keep two things in mind: 1) the RAID level to be used, and 2) the dominant access pattern (random/sequential, read/write, etc). Only then will it be possible to make the appropriate decision based on the performance results.

The issue of whether or not cards such as the FastTrak and MegaRAID are even worth buying needs to be addressed. It too, however, isn't as clear-cut as some people believe. Although the Escalade 6400 remains the ATA RAID adapter to beat, the FastTrak and MegaRAID are both viable solutions for those looking for, say, a cost-effective boost in STR performance, or inexpensive redundancy in the form of mirroring. Random I/O RAID 0 performance, however, isn't anything to write home about on either card. We have a hard time recommending them there.

In the end, a generalization such as "card X is better than card Y" simply can't be made here, as is usually the case. Both cards have their assets and liabilities, and it's up to the user to decide which one is better for his or her specific purposes.


FastTrak100 Addendum...

Upon examining the results from this article, Promise went to work on finding out why the FastTrak's sequential write scores were so poor. They were soon able to reproduce the issue. According to Promise:

"We found on certain motherboards we were generating excessive interrupts under Windows 2000. Our newest Family Driver 2.00 Build 6, which supports the FT66/FT100 and FT100TX2, remedies the excessive interrupts issue under Windows 2000."

Promise requested that we re-run the Sequential Write test on both a RAID 1 and RAID 01 configuration using the new drivers. Below are the new results along with the FastTrak's previous results and the MegaRAID IDE100's scores.

IOMeter Sequential Write
# IO's outstanding RAID 1 Sequential Write (MB/sec) RAID 01 Sequential Write (MB/sec)
FastTrak100 (old) FastTrak100 (new) MegaRAID IDE100 FastTrak100 (old) FastTrak100 (new) MegaRAID IDE100
1 1.00 27.36 27.82 1.02 37.66 38.57
4 1.00 27.33 27.82 1.02 38.03 39.05
16 1.00 27.33 27.82 1.02 37.95 39.03
64 1.00 27.32 27.82 1.02 37.89 38.98
256 0.97 27.02 27.51 1.00 37.51 38.61

It's undeniable that the new FastTrak drivers resolve the interrupt issue. We commend Promise's timely resolution of the issue.

The new drivers may be downloaded here.


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