Over the last couple years, 3Ware has made quite a name for themselves in the ATA RAID market. In particular, their Escalade 6000 series (reviewed back in February) earned the company a good reputation amongst RAID enthusiasts as a manufacturer of high-performance ATA RAID cards - in fact, the Escalade 6410 handily left all the competition in the dust until the introduction of the Adaptec ATA RAID 2400A in May.
It's thus no surprise that 3Ware's successor to the 6000 series - the Escalade 7000 Series Storage Switch - has been highly anticipated. 3Ware quickly sent us an Escalade 7410 after the card's announcement, allowing us to present a first look at the card's performance.
The 7000 series brings a number of additional and improved features such as 64-bit PCI support, a 64-bit ASIC, improved packet-switching, and RAID 5 hardware XOR functionality. The 7000 series also sports TwinStor and StorSwitch (the latter of which was formally known as DiskSwitch; both of these features were discussed in our Escalade 6410 review), features that the Escalade 6000 series proved were more than mere marketing. The card's full specs:
- RAID levels 0, 1, 10, 5, and JBOD
- On-board microprocessor
- Four ATA-100 channels (1 drive per channel)
- Hot swap and hot spare support
- Stripe size selectable from 64K to 1MB
- 64-bit/33MHz PCI
- TwinStor, StorSwitch support
- Windows 98/Me/NT/2000, Red Hat Linux, SuSE Linux (Driver also available in open source kernel 2.2.15 and beyond), and FreeBSD support
- 3 year warranty
Included with the card:
- Four single-connector ATA cables
- Driver/utility disks
- Installation guide
- Two Y-splitter cables (used to connect two drives to a single power supply connector)
Somewhat surprisingly, the Escalade 7410 (as well as the 7810) is a half-length PCI card. Despite the fact that full-length cards are pretty darn cool looking, we suspect that most users prefer half-length cards due to space concerns. Other than that, the card looks like one would expect, with four ATA connectors, two 3Ware ATA-100 controllers, and an on-board microprocessor.
The software that accompanies the Escalade 7410 remains virtually unchanged from that of the 6410. Its BIOS allows for standard functions such as array creation, deletion, and rebuilding. A write cache setting is also present - as with the Escalade 6410, this refers to the cache on the drives themselves.
The Escalade's software utility, 3DM, provides event notification functionality in the case of critical events such as drive failures - the utility can either send an email or trigger a local event in Windows. The adapter's rebuild rate and audible alarm may also be toggled.