Yes, it’s that time of year again when we pay tribute to software. For without it, our badass rigs would have nothing to do to but look pretty. Indeed, it’s the programs we run that show us what our machines are truly capable of. The challenge, of course, is in deciding which applications and utilities are most deserving of special honor, not to mention a coveted silver-esque statue.
In the November 2007 issue, we took an in-depth look at RAID—short for Redundant Array of Inexpensive (or Independent) Disks—and broke down the pros, cons, and most importantly, speeds of the various RAID permutations you would find on a typical multidrive setup. Here we’ll examine the medium itself: the RAID controller, which tells the drives in a RAID setup how to interact. As you’ll see, there are RAID controllers of differing types, technologies, and price points, and we want to learn whether these variations translate into performance differences. After all, even the fastest RAID configuration ultimately depends on the performance capabilities of its physical host.