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Reviewed by: Norman Tan [11.10.04]
Manufactured by: HighPoint Technologies

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Originally found only on high-end workstations and servers, RAID has become a very large part of many peoples' everyday desktops. When Intel introduced the built in ICH5R controller on the 865 and 875, SATA RAID quickly became part of the mainstream. These days, you would be hard pressed to find a mid to high-end motherboard that does not some sort of RAID support (and in many cases, with more than one controller). With hard drives being as cheap as they are today, it's not unheard of for people to be running a RAID 0 array for their programs and a RAID 1 array for their data.

A little refresher for those of you who are wondering what the modes are. RAID 0 is known as striping. In this mode, different blocks of data will be written to different drives. The idea being if you can split up the data into two parts, you have theoretically twice the amount of speed as two disks can be utilized at once.

RAID 1 is known as mirroring and in this case, both drives will have the exact same data read and written to it. If one drive fails, then you will still have the other functioning drive. If you put a spare drive in, then the controller will copy data from one drive to another thereby allowing you to keep your valuable data safe and sound.

The card

Today, we'll be looking at HighPoint's RocketRAID 1640 card which is a 4 port SATA controller capable of supporting RAID 1/0/10/5 along with JBOD (Just A Bunch of Disks). The chipset used is Highpoint's own HPT374 which is found on the company's very successful RocketRaid 454 which is a 4 channel 'parallel' ATA IDE card.

To see how well this card stacks up against other devices, we will be looking at the Intel ICH5R and the ICH6R controllers which are found on the 875 and 925x motherboards respectively.

The Package

Apart from the card, the box contains a manual, four SATA cables and the driver disks. I really liked that Highpoint decided to include the SATA cables (after all, you can't have too many). I also wished I'd noticed them before I reviewed the Silverstone case, as these are low profile cables that do fit the case.

That's the good part. The bad part was that the software came on several floppies. Welcome back to 1995! What I would have liked to see is a boot floppy and a CD with all other required software. Having to swap out floppies to install a program is a huge hassle.

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