HighPoint RocketRAID 404

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The HighPoint RocketRAID 404 - Page 2

 

 The HighPoint RocketRAID 404 (HPT374)
4 Channel PCI IDE RAID Controller...

By, Marco Chiappetta
October 10, 2002

The RocketRAID 404 also ships with a GUI based utility that gives users the ability to configure their array from within Windows using a simple graphical interface.  This utility can also be set up to send e-mail notifications should it detect any issues with the array, which would be a useful tool to system administrators in charge of critical data...

     

The utility can also be used to create or delete any arrays, and gives a graphical representation of the drives connected to the controller.  With the exception of the e-mail notifications, most of the options available with this utility can also be accessed via the card's BIOS setup.  A device like the RocketRAID 404 isn't just about speed and security, it's about features.  Providing you are using the proper enclosure, like the RockMate seen here, the RocketRAID 404 with also give you the ability the "hot swap" hard drives...meaning you can remove and reinstall drive on-the-fly without having to shut down the machine.  Another cool feature allows users to designate any drive on the array as a type of "backup", and this drive will be activated should another on the array be damaged.

The Hot Hardware Test Systems
Top Notch!

 
HARDWARE:

Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz (2400MHz) with 533MHz FSB
MSI 845E MAX2 BLR (Intel i845E)

256MB Corsair PC2700 (CAS 2)

NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti 4600 (29.42 Drivers)

On-Board NIC

On-Board Sound

Creative Labs 52X CD-Rom

Standard Floppy Drive

Western Digital 20GB 5400RPM x 1

Western Digital 80GB WD800 "Special Edition" 8MB Cache x 2
(Courtesy of Arena Computers!)

 

DRIVERS & SOFTWARE:

Windows XP Professional SP1 (DirectX 8.1)

64K Cluster Size used (64K was the only setting available on the Promise Controller)

Intel Chipset Drivers v4.00.1013
Intel Application Accelerator v2.2

Promise v2.00 Build 21

High-Point HPT374 v1.22
 

Installation and Setup
Some good...Some not-so good...

Before we get into the benchmarks, we want to make an important point.  A PCI device like the RocketRAID 404's actual performance, or any other PCI device for that matter, is ultimately at the mercy of the PCI bus itself.  If you've got multiple devices sapping your PCI bandwidth, your actual peak throughput with the RocketRAID 404 will be nowhere near as high as its "theoretical" peak.  This is why you won't see the 100% performance increases when two drives are connected in a stripe set, or quadruple the performance with a 4 drive array, and so on.  With that out of the way, let's move on to some benchmarks...

INTEL (I845E/ATA100) SINGLE                                                           PROMISE 20276 SINGLE
  

HIGH-POINT 374 SINGLE

We used SiSoft SANDRA's built-in file system test, and TCD Labs, Inc.'s HD Tach v2.61 to benchmark the RocketRAID 404 in three different configurations (single drive, a 2-drive RAID 0 array and 2-drive RAID 1 array).  In the single drive tests, we compared the RocketRAID 404's performance to an on-board ATA/100 controller from an Intel i845 based MSI motherboard (the 845E Max2 BLR) and to the Promise 20276 ATA/133 RAID controller also found on this board.  As you can see, when using a single hard drive the High-Point powered RocketRAID 404 led the pack across the board.  SANDRA showed the overall drive throughput with the RocketRAID 404 to be higher than both the Promise and Intel controllers, and HD Tach showed the best performance with CPU utilization second to only the Intel controller.  The HD Tach chart also showed the most consistent performance across the span of the drive.

PROMISE 20276 RAID 0                                                     HIGH-POINT 374 RAID 0
    

PROMISE 20276 RAID 1                                                      HIGH-POINT 374 RAID 1
   

In both the RAID 0 and RAID 1 tests, we saw similar results, but the HD Tach tests showed much more inconsistent performance with both RAID controllers across the span of the drive.  With our two Western Digital drives in a RAID 0 array (striped for performance), read and write performance with the RocketRAID 404 was slightly better than the Promise controller.  With the drives in a RAID 1 array (mirrored for redundancy), the High-Point RocketRAID 404 also outperformed the Promise 20276.  What we found most interesting in the RAID tests were the read / write fluctuations with the 2-drive arrays.  Regardless, the performance of the RocketRAID 404 was top notch, besting the Promise controller and all of the reference numbers in SANDRA's database.

Overall, we were very impressed by the High-Point RocketRAID 404.  It offers a wide array (no pun intended!) of features and excellent performance, at a price point well below similar ATA RAID products.  At a street price of about $90, it's hard to fault the RocketRAID 404, especially considering a similar product from Promise, the SX4000, sells for over $150 (the SX4000 does have a few more features and an optional on-board cache though).  We think the RocketRAID 404 is a perfect fit for a high-end workstation, or a small to mid-sized server, but I can't really see any reason for a general PC user to drop 90 bucks on one of these controllers, unless they need the extra IDE connections or want to add RAID to an existing system without upgrading motherboards.  All in all though, the High-Point RocketRAID 404 is a great product, and if it fits your needs, we highly recommend it.  Based on its performance, features and competitive price, we're giving the High-Point RocketRAID 404 an 8 on the HotHardware Heat Meter...

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Tags:  HP, RAID, point, highpoint, AI, id, K

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