The Escalade 7x50 series was designed to do one thing, and one thing only: improve RAID 5 performance relative to the 7x10 series. Overall, it comes through pretty nicely... Although it's overall RAID 5 performance can't quite match that of Adaptec's ATA RAID 2400A (in 3-drive RAID 5, the 7450 trails by 10-15% on average in the File Server, Workstation, and Database tests, a difference reduced to about 5% when adding a 4th drive to the mix), its RAID 5 sequential write performance (45MB/sec in the testbed; 60MB/sec in the 370DE6 system) is unheard of - the Escalade 7x50 is obviously the card of choice for anyone who demands top sequential write performance in RAID 5.
It's amazing what a little firmware magic can do: the 7450's 5-15% RAID 5 performance increase relative to the 7410 in the File Server, Workstation, Database, and Random Write tests, along with its remarkably improved RAID 5 sequential write performance, was all accomplished via different firmware, not different hardware. This demonstrates that firmware can be just as important as the hardware itself.
Concerns about performance differences between 32-bit and 64-bit PCI have hopefully been put to bed. Although the 7450's sequential write performance is indeed significantly better in a 64-bit PCI slot, the fact remains that its performance in our core, random IO tests (File Server, Workstation, and Database) remains unchanged by 64-bit PCI. This shouldn't be surprising - relative to 32-bit PCI, 64-bit PCI simply brings more bandwidth to the table. Random IO performance, however, isn't bottlenecked by bandwidth - average access time is the limitation here.