Before its introduction, 3Ware's Escalade 7000 series was quite possibly the most anticipated ATA RAID card of all time. This was hardly surprising given the then-unmatched performance of the Escalade 6000 series - performance oriented users couldn't wait to see what a successor would bring to the table. In particular, high hopes of improved RAID 5 performance drew the card a lot of interest.
Along came the Escalade 7000 series, followed shortly by our review of the 4-port 7410. While the 7410 delivered a huge sequential write performance increase relative to the 6400 in RAID 5, overall RAID 5 scores (i.e., its scores in our File Server, Workstation, and Database tests) were only 2-3% better on average - still significantly lower than those of the Adaptec 2400A, and thus a disappointment to many.
But when it comes to improving RAID 5 performance, 3Ware certainly wasn't about to give up, as is evidenced by the introduction of the Escalade 7x50 series.
The Escalade 7450...
Compared to the Escalade 7x10 series, the Escalade 7x50 series is about one thing and one thing only: improved RAID 5 performance. The hardware itself, however, is virtually identical to that of the 7x10 series - the difference is in firmware. Dubbed R5 Fusion Technology by the marketing folks, this new firmware aims to significantly improve RAID 5 write performance, and hence, overall RAID 5 performance as well. Does R5 Fusion deliver? We'll find out shortly, but first, a quick look at the card's specs (which are, again, pretty much identical to those of the 7410):
- RAID levels 0, 1, 10, 5, and JBOD
- On-board microprocessor
- Four ATA-100 channels (1 drive per channel)
- R5 Fusion Technology
- 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 are the following items:
- 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)
The Escalade 7450 remains unchanged from the 7410 as far as software goes. See our review of the 7410 for a rundown of the software that accompanies each card.
The following benchmarks were run with the card's write cache enabled and a stripe size of 64k. Driver release 7.3 (version 1.10.01.036) was used along with BIOS version 1.07.01.17.