Upgrade: New motherboard or RAID Card

The costs seem to be quite comparable. I started off by purchasing a single 64 GB M4 SSD drive and plugged it into the 6GB/s Marvell controller on my motherboard. I was not satisfied with the speeds I got and so decided to purchase 3 more drives and create a RAID 0 on my native 3GB/s controllers. I thought I would get upwards of 1000mb/s but it looks like it was capped out only giving me 500mb/s.

So now, I have to decide on either upgrading my motherboard to one that has native 6Gb/s or adding a RAID card to my existing motherboard (Gigabyte P55A-UD3). Problem is that I have a graphics card in my only PCIe slot greater than x8, which is what the 6Gb/s RAID cards require (min x8).

What would you do, upgrade to a motherboard which has 2 native 6GB/s controllers (not Marvell, etc.) or insert a PCIe RAID Card? Is there a speed performance advantage to either method? I currently have the 4 SSD's, which method would be able to maximize use of the drives? I have also heard that AMD may have 6- 6Gb/s ports; is that correct, and would that be a viable option to maximize the SSD's? All SSD's have been updated with 009 firmware. My goal is to achieve the greatest speed performance. I do back testing/modeling with currency and equities historical data.

At this point in the game, cost it not really an issue for me, I just want to get it done and get back to my trading!
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  1. Best answer
    to be clear, HD ports are rated in Mb while windows and most programs rate HD's in MB. a sata3 or sata 6gbps connector can only do a max of 750MB/s. however sata 6 that is 750 per port. all the ssd's ive ever used have not had cache, this can be a performance decrease. if you do buy a sata card you must make sure it had on board cache. i use a acra sata card with 1GB cache on my SSD's. most MB raid controllers are not very good for SSD's as they simply can not handle the throughput of iops they are flooding at them. they do work but much slower than a real riser card. its worth noting that changing cluster sizes while partitioning hte HD's can increase performance as well. i found with my drives that a 16K stripe with 16K cluster gave me the best performance but every drive/card config will be different.
  2. Thanks for the comments. They helped me a lot.
  3. a good Intel 6 series chipset will beat any raidcard on the market for an OS volume right now unless you spend more than $600 or so. Raidcards are vest suited for storage as the low end performance will always be weaker.

    Unless you need to have an uber-fast array of SSD's then the 6 series is the way to go with anything up to about 4 drives. Have to keep in mind that when spanning the 6G and 3G ports with 6G SSD.. the 6G ports will downclock to sata2 speeds for all drives connected. Not really that big a deal when you consider that scores beyond many/most raidcards are acheivable.

    Just figure that a good 6G mobo will beat most cards up to about 16k-32k files sizes and then a good raidcard will just run away from it. Always good to keep in mind that sequentials are more siuted to storage than an OS volume as the OS lives in the small randoms.

    I have many buddies who usually use raidcards with 4-8 SSD's in R0 and have now tasted the speeds of the 6 series chipset and say they had no idea it would feel so strong. I've known it all along since I've been running 6 drives in R0 for nearly 1.5 years now.
  4. Best answer selected by bigsteely101.
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