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Smart Hard Drives: Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 and Western Digital WD740 Raptor

Command Queuing: The Countdown Has Begun

The Sil3114 is an expanded version of the well-known Sil3112, now with four rather than two SATA channels. Unlike 3Ware, HighPoint and Promise, Silicon Image has been making native controllers since serial ATA's inception, and they work without the bridge chips from Marvel. Although Adaptec and LSI offer their own SATA controllers, they still rely on the chips from Silicon Image.

So these chips should provide the best basis for gauging performance, especially because Silicon also supports native command queuing. Although it is only achieved with software, it allows NCQ to be enabled instantly - all you need is a new driver.

The Sil3512 is an advanced version of the Sil3112, comes in a 128-pin TQF (thin quad flat) package and only needs 196 mm²; technically it is still at ATA I and PCI 2.3.

The new dimensions are an advantage in integrating it on mainboards and professional multichannel controllers (e.g. Adaptec 2410SA or LSI MegaRAID 150-4).