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

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The Software

Highpoint provides users with a plethora of driver options. Several flavours of Windows are supported along with Redhat, SUSE and FreeBSD drivers. Also provided is the software needed to manage your RAID arrays from within the OS. Very useful!

As I mentioned earlier, the software that came with the card came on floppy disks. That wasn't too bad because the latest drivers are always available on the site anyway. BIOS updates are still done through bootup floppies however (and motherboards are STILL doing this - are my cries going unheard?).

What was even more frustrating is that the load utility (both the latest and the one included with the bios file) couldn't properly detect the card and would thus die without even loading the bios.


That brings me to my next point, that of compatibility. While the card worked flawlessly with the two Intel boards we used and coexisted peacefully with the SATA controllers on board, when it came down to put it into my personal system, I ran into problems.

I'm currently using an Asus K8V SE Deluxe motherboard and when this card is installed, it takes hijacks the BIOS space that the onboard Promise controller would otherwise take up. It'll still show up in windows manager, but no matter what bios and driver settings I tried (and believe me, I tried a lot), the promise controller just wouldn't initialize.

While this is no fault of Highpoint's, I felt the need to point out that when adding in extra RAID cards, one should be mindful of the potential conflicts that may occur. My tip for the day is to use cards from the same manufacturer. In this case, a Promise card would have been more ideal in this setup.

Benchmark Setup

Now that we've gotten acquainted with the card, shall we take a look at some benchmarks?

A little about the test systems and benchmarks we did. First off, both test systems were as identical as we could make them. Both CPUs were clocked to 3.4 ghz and a gig of ram was used in each case. The systems were booted off a 40gb IDE drive and the drives used for benchmarking were a pair of 120gb Maxtor SATA drives. This would help to eliminate any factors which would affect the results of the benchmark.

In terms of software, we used Windows XP SP2 with all the latest patches. The drivers installed were the latest at the time of writing (5.00.1012, and 2.05s for the 875, 775 and the Highpoint respectively). RAID 1 and RAID 0 configurations were tested as they seem to be the most popular. When we attempted to use RAID 5 on the Highpoint card, it used up so much CPU that it was essentially unusable.

To find out theoretical performance, HDTach and Sandra's Hard drive benching utility were used. Because we know data isn't normally sequentially written to a hard drive, we used IOMeter with the Fileserver and Webserver access patterns defined by the fine folks at I/O load was set at 64 I/Os.

Numbers are great and all, but we want to know about GAMES! Just for that, we threw in a couple of level loads for Doom 3. Doom 3 was installed on the RAID arrays in all instances and all saved game data was loaded from the RAID arrays. Because we had to resort to using a ghetto stop-watch on my PDA, we repeated the level loading tests three times and average the numbers.

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