SATA Storage Performance

RAID 0 Throughput

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The Nvidia MCPs still seem to have some throughput issues in a RAID configuration, as four Western Digital WD1500 Raptor hard drives did not result in more than 112 MB/s with the nForce 790i MCP. In contrast, the Intel ICH9R, which is used on X48 motherboards, provides a 311 MB/s bandwidth using the same four hard drives. We verified the poor results with a set of four Samsung hard drives — the figures were still somewhat disappointing. AMD’s older SB600 southbridge showed the same low performance level.

RAID 0+1 Throughput

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Although Nvidia doesn’t provide better throughput in a RAID 0+1 using four hard drives, it offers better read performance than the Intel chipsets. While the read throughput with ICH9R and the X48 is limited to less than 80 MB/s, Nvidia still is at 115 MB/s, which equals the bandwidth we saw in the RAID 0 testing.

RAID 5 Throughput (Intact & Degraded)

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Finally, there is a substantial performance difference when running four hard drives in a RAID 5 array. Here, Nvidia does much better, providing read transfer rates of 62 MB/s, while Intel cannot exceed 51.8 MB/s. However, while Intel write performance drops to only 5.6 MB/s, Nvidia sustains 21.3 MB/s. Yet we’ve seen much better RAID 5 performance by Nvidia in the past: look at the results shown by the nForce 680i SLI MCP and the 650i MCP.