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

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Doom 3

Finally, we come to the Doom 3 benchmarks to answer the long standing question, do it make a lick of difference whether we run RAID or not?

A look at the numbers

Surprised? I sure as hell was. I would have thought that level loading would depend somewhat on the HD, but as we can see from the data, it's virtually identical across the board. While this is only one test, it gives us an inkling that perhaps RAID 0 isn't quite as fast for the desktop as we think. If anything, we should be using RAID 1 arrays to keep our data safe and sound! (but then you would only have half the potential storage).

Well things were looking nice and cheery for HighPoint for the sequential read/write tests. But things sure turned sour when we unleashed IOMeter on it.

And keep in mind that IOMeter is probably the single most important benchmark we can perform in terms of real world performance. Sure HDTach shows nice 100 MB/s result in a read or write test, but that is for sequential file transfers ONLY. How many times do you copy large files around your drives? I/O is where it's at, and although our tests were probably more stressful than those you'd normally see, they will point out any flaws in a drive controller, and they did just that for the RocketRAID 1640.

On a personal usage note, I have been using this card in my personal system for the past couple of weeks now (actually I should say systems, first a P4 and now an AMD64) and in every day tasks, I really don't notice much of a difference between the various controllers that I've used (ICH5, VIA, Silicon Image and Highpoint) when matched up with the same drives. I'm definitely not using my system as a web server or file server, that's for sure.

In the next few weeks, we will publish our next storage review, featuring NCQ drives. Keep these numbers in mind as we start testing the capablities of NCQ with IOMeter. If you think ICH6R kills now... Just wait!

The software package that comes with this card is very solid (if only it came on CDROM!) We aren't going to blame the compatibility with the onboard Promise controller on Highpoint, but we do have to mention the BIOS updating problem (the problem - it just wouldn't work). We also ran into problems running RAID 5, where the CPU usage would reach intolerable levels.

So it seems that as long as you don't try to push the RocketRAID 1640 to the extreme, it runs quite happily, and should serve your most basic RAID needs.

  • Rock solid stability
  • Good software management
  • Keeps up in sequential transfer rates

  • Gets killed in I/O tests
  • High CPU usage in RAID 5
  • BIOS updating didn't work
  • Software came on floppies

Final Score: 79%