RAIDCore Unleashes SATA to Take Out SCSI

SATA Under Pressure

Little by little it's all or nothing, because every manufacturer now includes serial ATA hard drives in their ranges: Maxtor has the DiamondMax Plus 9 and the MaXLine Plus II, Hitachi offers the 7K250 with SATA, Seagate has brought out the 7200.7 and Western Digital also supplies an SATA variant of its special-edition drives with 8 MB cache. And then there's the aforementioned Raptor at 10,000 rpm.

Fujitsu is equally well equipped, even if people still don't talk about 3.5" drives. But that could change if SATA really does claw visible market share away from territory traditionally dominated by SCSI.

Another new product which will cause considerable commotion on the SATA market is the Raptor with 74 GB announced by Western Digital. The WD360 36 GB version already enjoys a great deal of popularity. It is only the hitherto low storage capacity that has branded the Raptor a bit as a pilot project. According to the official description, Western Digital will launch the WD740 onto the market in the near future, a drive that in conjunction with the controllers tested in this article will enable high performance and total capacities in the range of up to 500 GB. RAIDCore is clearly setting the trend here and provides an option for expanding RAID(s) by using several controllers. More on this later.

What is more, command queuing support is on its way in (SATA II, 150 MB/s). This feature enables those issuing a high number of commands to a SATA device to alter the command order as required in order to be able to react with maximum efficiency. Prerequisites are that both the SATA controllers and the drives support command queuing. The result is a real leap in output.

Coming soon: Western Digitals WD740, i.e. a Raptor with 74 GB. This introduces command queuing to the ATA segment for the first time.