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RAID-Upgrade: Silicon Image Sil3132

The Next Generation of Cool: AOpen's 37 Watt Pentium M Desktop PC

The Sil3132 SATA-II RAID-Controller is a compact chip.

To alleviate the problem of having only two SATA ports on a desktop board, AOpen decided to incorporate into the design a controller chip by storage specialist Silicon Image. Although the Sil3132 is limited to only two SATA ports as well, it does support native command queuing (NCQ) and as well as the RAID modes 0 and 1. In most cases, NCQ only enhances performance in scenarios that put a heavy load on the hard disk(s), making it more of a goodie than an essential feature. The RAID functionality, on the other hand, can be considered more useful, since it is commonly used in desktop systems.

In our opinion, a RAID 1 array consisting of two drives is especially useful, as it greatly increases the system's reliability. As a result, an energy-efficient setup built around the i915GMm-HFS would make an attractive platform for a home or small office server.

Up To Date: Dual Gigabit Ethernet

Each of the two Marvell Gigabit Ethernet interfaces uses its own x1 PCI Express connection. This makes the board an ideal platform for systems that have to cope with high network traffic.

In this context we would also like to praise AOpen for its choice of network components. Carrying two PCIe-based gigabit Ethernet adapters, the board is practically destined for duty as a server or a software router.

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