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Intel ICH10 Motherboard Raid vs Silicon Image 3114 R Card Raid

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December 8, 2009 2:42:31 PM

I have bought an Acer Aspire M5800 and wanted to get RAID-1 so when I received it the PC guy had installed a Silicon Image 3114-R Card for me with 2x 1TB @ 7200RPM hard disks in Raid-1.

However after a day I noticed my motherboard (Acer G45T/G43T-AM3 V1.0) has an Intel ICH10R with it's own 0, 1, 5, 10 raid controller.

I gave the guy a call on why he still installed a PCI card on top of a motherboard raid controller and he explained the PCI card is definitely superior to the motherboard controller and will use far less CPU power. If this was 3 years (the bios on my SiI 3114 from June 2006) ago I would say I understand but see below why I doubt whether this statement is still valid.

Silicon Image 3114 PCI Card: (got the info partially from the SI site here: http://www.siliconimage.com/products/product.aspx?pid=2...)
* SATALink 4-Port PCI Host Controller
* SATA – 1.5 Gbps (150MB/s)
* SATA 1.0
* Integrated SATA Transport, Link logic, and PHY layer
* 48-bit sector addressing
* Four independent DMA channels with 256B FIFO per channel
* Virtual DMA in PCI with serial link in legacy PIO mode
* Supports command buffering for ATA TF shadow registers
* Supports up to 4MB external FLASH <<< so doesnt have it??
* Supports ATAPI devices: CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, etc.
* Hot-Plug capable
* Supports spread spectrum clocking to reduce EMI
* Single, digital PLL architecture with 1 PLL for all 4 channels

* And finally... it is a PCI card it seems... not PCI-E so max throughput is 266 MB/sec on the bus itself if I am not mistaken
* Also... what does the R mean in 3114 R... I could not find any info about that!


Intel ICH10 Motherboard RAID:
* SATA2 – 3 Gbps (300MB/s)
* SATA2 specification and HDD support
* Intel Matrix Storage (raid 0, 1, 5, 10)
* Intel Turbo Memory

* I have not found more info about this chip... so please fill me in ;-)

My Question:
1. Is the SiI 3114-R PCI card really outperforming the motherboard Intel ICH10R controller just because it is a PCI card and not an onboard chip or is technology already so advanced that my onboard chip raid will outperform this PCI card?

2. Will the PCI card take more processing away from my CPU compared to the ICH10 controller or is that statement only valid for XOR enabled raid cards?

3. I also just found out that the SiI3114-R is actually a PCI host controller with built in raid function... that probably means it acts (system resources) the same like an ICH10R chip right?

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a b G Storage
December 8, 2009 3:21:45 PM
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There is no reason to use an add-in card such as the one you list for raid 1. It might even be slower, who knows. You are correct in your suspicions. I hope you werent charged too much for that card. The good news is that I will be perfect for hooking up optical drives if you fill up all your motherboard ports. Now the question is, can you move your drives to the intel controller without rebuilding your computer. There is a stick in this forum if you want to try this adventure.
December 8, 2009 10:46:24 PM

goobaah said:
There is no reason to use an add-in card such as the one you list for raid 1. It might even be slower, who knows. You are correct in your suspicions. I hope you werent charged too much for that card. The good news is that I will be perfect for hooking up optical drives if you fill up all your motherboard ports. Now the question is, can you move your drives to the intel controller without rebuilding your computer. There is a stick in this forum if you want to try this adventure.


Sad fully that was not possible haha, I had to rebuild the raid / reformat my drives... ah well I just had installed windows so it was not too bad to build the raid again :-)

Thanks for your feedback ~
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January 30, 2010 12:29:49 AM

FWIW, I would have just tested with some thing like HD Tach or HD Tune or something. Even though the throughput on the PCI isn't quite as fast "theoretically"...How often do most folks get in the 150MB/s speeds on the RAID arrays? Offloading some of the work from your processor might actually benefit the system. Sometimes on paper doesn't pan out in real testing.


That being said, it has been quite handy moving RAID arrays from ICH7 all the way up to ICH10 w/o the need to rebuild. I think this fact alone has been a major reason why intel now pretty much owns the southbridge market on Intel proc boards.

All the quality RAID cards are $300+..and it seems an outrageous cost to a "budget" build of $800-$1000. However, since disk I/O has long been the bottleneck...most of us are used to the awful speeds we get on the board. SATA II does 3 GB/s..yet at best we get 10% of the throughput.

Sorry, soapbox aside, you might consider testing it regardless...but in the long run ...for a fairly cheap card....its probably not worth it. Could craigslist it or save it for a microATX board build that you want a few more disks out of..
January 31, 2010 1:41:28 AM

That was a great suggestion, I should have done that in the beginning... I have to rebuild the raid (wipe the disks) every time I switched between SIR3114 and ICH10 so I just took the SIR3114 out and left ICH10 to take care of my system...

My system is running win 2008 R2 (web server (xampp 1.73) and file server (active directory) for 8 computers) on an Intel Quadcore 2.4ghz with 4gb ram with 2x 1tb in raid 1 and I never have reached 100% cpu using the ICH10. Back that with all the amazing reviews I read that ICH10 performance is so off the chart for being a "fake" raid I am glad I chose ICH10 ;) 
!