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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  

In an attempt to reduce clutter and improve readability, we've debuted graphics-based bar charts in place of the traditional HTML tables.

IOMeter Scores...

Base Scores...

Baseline with 1 Drive

In the Workstation, File Server, and Database access patterns, the SIDE-RAID100, FastTrak100, and MegaRAID IDE 100 all score virtually identical to each other. The 1200A, however, consistently lags behind by the pack by margins of 1-3%. Things become more even in the write tests, as all cards score very similarly.

Considering the 1200A's CPU utilization in WinBench, IOMeter's CPU utilization assessment should be interesting. The table below gives each card's base CPU usage in IOMeter:

IOMeter - Workstation Access Pattern - CPU Utilization (%)
Base
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, 1 Drive1.44 % 1.44 % 1.60 % 1.90 % 2.47 %
Adaptec ATA RAID 1200A, 1 Drive3.85 % 4.03 % 4.77 % 5.20 % 6.26 %
Iwill SIDE-RAID100, 1 Drive0.74 % 0.82 % 0.92 % 1.06 % 1.50 %
Promise FastTrak 100, 1 Drive0.87 % 0.99 % 1.09 % 1.20 % 1.68 %

The 1200A's single-drive CPU usage is significantly higher than the other cards in IOMeter as well, as is evidenced by the above numbers from the Workstation tests. CPU usage results for the other tests can be viewed in the StorageReview.com database.

RAID 0...
RAID 0 with 2 Drives
RAID 0 with 3 Drives
RAID 0 with 4 Drives

Both adapters scale similarly when moving from a single drive to a two-drive RAID 0 array. As the SIDE-RAID100 had a slight lead in the single-drive scores, it also has such a lead here. Things get a bit more interesting when moving to 3- and 4-drive arrays, however. Note that, here, the 1200A's performance is actually lower in the Workstation, File Server, and Database patterns relative to a 2-drive array. The SIDE-RAID100's performance in these tests stays about the same when scaling to 3- and 4-drive arrays, which is also what we saw with the FastTrak and MegaRAID. The 1200A's performance decrease is indeed disconcerting.

As demonstrated below, the 1200A's relatively high CPU usage continues in RAID 0:

IOMeter - Workstation Access Pattern - CPU Utilization (%)
RAID 0 with 2 Drives
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 2 Drives1.58 % 1.56 % 1.87 % 2.31 % 3.03 %
Adaptec ATA RAID 1200A, RAID 0, 2 Drives4.67 % 4.80 % 5.21 % 6.12 % 7.54 %
Iwill SIDE-RAID100, RAID 0, 2 drives0.99 % 1.00 % 1.28 % 1.42 % 1.93 %
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 2 Drives1.05 % 1.11 % 1.22 % 1.55 % 2.10 %
RAID 0 with 3 Drives
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 3 Drives1.54 % 1.58 % 1.87 % 2.03 % 2.97 %
Adaptec ATA RAID 1200A, RAID 0, 3 Drives4.61 % 4.65 % 5.27 % 6.19 % 7.26 %
Iwill SIDE-RAID100, RAID 0, 3 Drives0.93 % 0.99 % 1.12 % 1.23 % 1.92 %
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 3 Drives0.98 % 1.09 % 1.20 % 1.45 % 2.03 %
RAID 0 with 4 Drives
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 0, 4 Drives1.64 % 1.65 % 1.80 % 2.05 % 2.75 %
Adaptec ATA RAID 1200A, RAID 0, 4 Drives4.36 % 4.74 % 5.15 % 6.10 % 7.13 %
Iwill SIDE-RAID100, RAID 0, 4 Drives1.02 % 0.92 % 1.03 % 1.25 % 1.72 %
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 0, 4 Drives1.09 % 1.09 % 1.18 % 1.47 % 2.19 %

RAID 1...
RAID 1 with 2 Drives

Unsurprisingly, both the 1200A and SIDE-RAID100 deliver RAID 1 similar to that of a single drive. It's safe to say that this is the norm for entry-level ATA RAID cards, as both the FastTrak100 and MegaRAID IDE100 also exhibit this behavior.

RAID 01...
RAID 01 with 4 Drives

Overall, the ATA RAID 1200A disappointingly performs a bit worse in RAID 01 relative to a single drive. The SIDE-RAID100, on the other hand, performs very similarly to its 2-drive RAID 0 configuration save for lower sequential write scores.

The 1200A's CPU usage is again relatively high:

IOMeter - Workstation Access Pattern - CPU Utilization (%)
RAID 01 with 4 Drives
All LoadsLinearVery LightLightModerateHeavy
AMI MegaRAID IDE100, RAID 10, 4 Drives1.73 % 1.70 % 1.97 % 2.36 % 3.07 %
Adaptec ATA RAID 1200A, RAID 01, 4 Drives4.97 % 5.23 % 5.68 % 6.81 % 8.06 %
Iwill SIDE-RAID100, RAID 01, 4 Drives1.03 % 1.01 % 1.15 % 1.42 % 2.02 %
Promise FastTrak 100, RAID 01, 4 Drives1.26 % 1.37 % 1.41 % 1.56 % 2.17 %

 Conclusion...


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