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Iwill SIDE-RAID100 vs. Adaptec ATA RAID 1200A


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Iwill SIDE-RAID100 vs. Adaptec ATA RAID 1200A
  August 14, 2001 Author: Terry Baranski  
Adaptec ATA RAID 1200A provided by Adaptec, Inc.
Iwill SIDE-RAID100 provided by Iwill Corp.


Introduction

Despite the amount of attention that high-end ATA RAID cards tend to get from many SR readers, the fact remains that it's the lower-cost adapters that make up the vast majority of the ATA RAID market. From a market share perspective, Promise's FastTrak series virtually owns the cost-sensitive ATA RAID market. This certainly doesn't mean, however, that there aren't other options for the prospective buyer.

This article takes a look at two of those options: Iwill's SIDE-RAID100, and Adaptec's ATA RAID 1200A. In our last low-cost ATA RAID comparison, it was revealed that the Promise FastTrak100 and AMI MegaRAID IDE100 perform very similarly in most tests. Was this an indication that all cost-sensitive ATA RAID cards perform about the same? Or is the story be different this time around? Only one way to find out...

The Iwill SIDE-RAID100...

Though Iwill is better known by most as a motherboard manufacturer, their SIDE-RAID series has been around since early 2000. The SIDE-RAID66 was the first member of this series, followed by the ATA-100 version known as the SIDE-RAID100. Both adapters employ ATA RAID controllers from HighPoint - the SIDE-RAID100 uses the HPT370, HighPoint's well-known ATA-100 RAID ASIC. The card has the basic features that one would expect from a cost-sensitive ATA RAID adapter, such as RAID 0, 1, and 01 support, and two ATA channels. Full specs:

  • RAID levels 0, 1, 01, and JBOD
  • Up to 4 ATA-100 drives supported (2 ATA channels)
  • 32-bit/33MHz PCI
  • Stripe size selectable from 4K to 64K
  • Hot spare capability
  • Windows 2000/98/95/NT and Linux support
  • 5 year warranty
Included with the card:
  • Two dual-connector ATA cables
  • User manual
  • Driver/utility disks

The Software...

The SIDE-100's BIOS creates and deletes arrays. Hot spares may be assigned and mirrored arrays can be rebuilt or created non-destructively. If, for whatever reason, the default disk mode (e.g., ATA-100) is undesirable, it can be changed to anything from PIO-0 to UDMA-5.

The SIDE-RAID100's software utility is very basic in nature - it simply allows the status of drives and arrays to be viewed from within Windows.

The Adaptec ATA RAID 1200A...

Recently, SR took a look at Adaptec's ATA RAID 2400A and found it to be an extremely impressive performer. Announced simultaneously with the 2400A, the ATA RAID 1200A is geared more towards the entry-level market - it's the 2400A's little brother. Like the SIDE-RAID100, the 1200A uses a single HPT370 RAID controller. Performance contrasts between the two should thus be interesting. The 1200A's full specs:

  • RAID levels 0, 1, 01, and JBOD
  • Up to 4 ATA-100 drives supported (2 ATA channels)
  • 32-bit/33MHz PCI
  • Stripe size selectable from 16K to 64K
  • Hot spare support
  • Low-profile form factor
  • Win98/Me/NT/2000 support
  • 3 year warranty
The retail kit includes the following:
  • Two dual-connector ATA cables
  • User/Installation manual
  • Driver/utility CD

The Software...

The ATA RAID 1200A's BIOS is virtually identical to that of the SIDE-RAID100, unsurprising since they both utilize the same controller.

On the software side of things, the 1200A comes with Adaptec's ATA RAID management utility. In addition to standard array monitoring functions, the utility allows arrays to be created and deleted from within Windows.

 WinBench...


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