SATA For Servers: Testing Backplanes

Silicon Image Sil3114

The Sil3114 has been on the market about as long as the TX4 from Promise, but is somewhat superior - the chip supports the simple RAID modes 0 and 1 as well as 1+0.

While Promise is clearly targeting the end customer (semi-professional and professional users), Silicon Image has more success in integration and with corporate customers. Thus it happens that numerous products are based on the Sil3114 and this chip has already been in use integrated on motherboards.

Silicon Image Sil3124

The 3124 is the current top model from Silicon Image. The Sil3124-2 is particularly interesting - it already supports Serial ATA transfers with 300 MB/s and native command queuing, which can process up to 32 commands to the hard drives in the optimum sequence. The higher transfer rate makes sense in connection with Serial ATA port multipliers, which allow two hard drives to run on one port.

Unlike the 3114, the Sil3124 also features a PCI-X interface as well as the ability to run RAID 5. As is usually the case in the lower price range this function is based on software, which, however, is not important for servers that do not run lots of realtime transactions.