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ricks
10-06-2001, 11:12 AM
Hi all,
Got my Acard ATA 133 RAID card. This setup cost less than $350 to set up useing the OEM IBM hard drive as one of the two drives, and useing the supplied cables that came with the card. I used IBM 60 GXP 60 gig drives, same firmware on both drives.

Installation is straight forward until I crammed the cables in underneath the raid card which almost has to be in the bottom slot. I have a 20gig Baracuda on the motherboard ATA100 bus, and a Cheetah on a scsi bus, four cables to fold spindle and mutilate. Worries me that air flow will be blocked off from drive tops.

Putting the Barracuda on the bottom of the stack mount and the IBM in the top mount concerns me, there is almost no space between them. Admittedly the Barracuda probably is as cool a drive as is availiable, but heat worries me.

Supplied with the card was;
2/2device cables
A power splitter for running 2 drives off 1 power connector
2 slide in drive brackets/Haven't seen the like since the 9500
2 sets hard drive screws long enough for the above mentioned plastic brackets.
(Too long for use with metal brackets)

TEST RESULTS All tests at 8MB ATTO Bench
***RAID OFF***
Peak Read; 97.38 mb/s
Sustained Read;39.34 mb/s

Peak Write; 87.61 mb/s
Sustained Write; 31.17

Test of both drives before turning on the hardware raid. The drives would basically be on a ATA133 single channel card. Results insignificantly differed from drive to drive so I only posted one set of numbers.

These drives have a 2mb buffer, testing showed read and write at peak for the first 2mb then dropped down to sustained for the rest of the test.

Turning on the RAID is a simple matter of flipping a switch on the card.

***RAID ON***

Peak Read; 124.55 mb/s
Sustained Read; 75.65 mb/s

Peak Write; 114.09 mb/s
Sustained Write;68.98 mb/s

These drives were both partitioned and initialized prior to turning on the RAID, all initialization disappeared when I turned on the RAID, partitions and all. I used Drive setup to install drivers and initialize. After turning on the RAID I had ONE big drive and had to re-initialize.

I was not allowed to partition the RAID. Drive Setup would not allow anything but simple initialize, NO options. I don't know if another product such as Softraid or FWB will allow partitioning or if hardware raid doesn't support partitioning.

I will move the raid to a B&W and find out how well this improves drive performance in that machine next.

Rick

ricks
10-06-2001, 10:19 PM
Update,
After running tests all day on this card, and moving it between the Quicksilver and the B&W I have some observations.

I will not return this card to the QS. It's not stable enough nor versatile enough for my main computer. I have had benchtests drop off suddenly after a reboot to 1/2 their previous performance and ended up having to initialize the drives again to restore to former capabilities.

I have had the drives disappear from OS10s install program, and have had to reinitialize to remount the drive. I don't get a feeling of stability from just 2 days of testing on this card. Maybe a firmware problem, but this is a HARDWARE raid card with NO software involved in the raid process. It should be rock solid.

I much prefer the options availiable with SCSI over the few choices you have in ATA Hardraid, the only choices you have with ATA are;
**How big. What drives you use.
**Whether it's on or not.(off it's just an expensive ATA host card)
**Partitioning under OS10.
**Supposed compatability with OS9.x and OS10.
**2 or 4 drives max (and matched drives at that)

The one big bonus is Bootability. If the card was more stable that would stand out more. I don't mind having another drive to boot from though, at least with SCSI that drive can be on the fast SCSI bus with the raid drives. I also like the ability with scsi to raid volumns instead of drives, no choice with Hardraid.

This card is a great bonus to the B&W. It performed great under OS9.2 and boosted my throughput to 3+ times the internal bus. As a low cost alternative to the much more expensive SCSI bus this card is a good buy if the reliability can be proven. I want to see some credible successes from a lot of people before I'll feel confident with valuable data on this cards raid array.

We'll see

Rick
Speed is its own reward

sauria
10-19-2001, 08:44 PM
Not stable enough to run as a RAID0 boot volume?

ricks
10-19-2001, 10:36 PM
sauria,
I really am quite satisfied with the raid operating consistently. It boots both OS9 and 10.1 perfectly. I was having problems with installing OSX that was solved with the simple removal of the overclock on the 500mhz cpu I was running from 550 back to 500. For some reason the faster speed was not stable in 10 while I had no problems in 9.

I love this card and the resulting performance in my B&W. It rocks http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif It has been perfect ever since I dropped the clock down.

However, I had this in the Quicksilver867 and had some behaviors that reminded me that a pure raid0 is not the safest place for your important data. I had the raid performance benchmarks all of a sudden drop to half their previous numbers, I also had the raid drop out of sight from anything except the initialization programs. Both times I had to reinitialize to remount the raid. To me, that's not good. I want to be able to fix the problems without loosing the data!

I am running everything off the raid on the B&W at this time, mostly OSX, and it has been great since the initial setup problems. I am getting used to it's speed, at least 3 times the factory bus performance. I can't afford the SCSI route on both the QS and the B&W so it's there to stay.

Because of that, anything I can't afford to loose on the B&W is stored over on the Barracuda that's attached to the mobo bus.

I would expect the Quicksilver to exceed any reliability measure that the B&W would ever have. I have been most impressed with the Quicksilvers stability, it's awesome. That's not to say anything bad about the B&W, just how good the Quicksilver has been, way beyond my wildest expectations. The Acard raid would probably serve as a inexpensive and reasonably reliable accelerator for any New World mac. Photoshop and video as well as music files would benefit. I still would worry about the lack of protection. Raid0 is the least reliable method of storing data, bar none. Any of the other raid options are more secure, but also are significantly more $$$$$$$$

I am going to build a combo raid0+1 when I can afford the X15 drives. Until then the Quicksilver is doing RAID1 on old cheetahs along with the factory ATA drive as the boot drive.

Hope that answers it.
Rick

qaedakiller
10-30-2002, 12:58 PM
Hi -
Question for Ricks. Has your opinion on the Acard 133 Raid changed since your last post? I'd be putting my most important data on these drives and I'm absolutley going to create a back-up plan, but I'm wondering if I should trash the whole idea and just get myself a scsi raid.

ricks
10-30-2002, 04:23 PM
Hi ya q,

?Well, drudge up the old original post huh? http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif At the time I wrote this I had virtually no OSX experience and just as little IDE drive experience to go along with it. Since then I have bought a second ATA133 hardware RAID card, a Siig branded one, and installed it in my Quicksilver with two BarracudaIV drives attached. To date I must say that a year has led to exactly ZERO http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/dance.gif failures with that array. It has been perfect.

?I unreservedly recommend the Acard (or Siig, Miglia and Sonnet versions of same) for OS9 or OSX use. The one in the B&W settled down to run just as well after the first few problems that to this day I can't attribute to any cause. Those problems have never reappeared through many, many many tests and constant usage of the arrays in both computers.

?Cheapest and most effective acceleration available for your hard drives, period.

Rick

billbo
10-30-2002, 04:47 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>To date I must say that a year has led to exactly ZERO failures with that array. It has been perfect.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Knock on wood http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

------------------
Bill

"I made a conscience decision in a semi-conscious state"

ricks
10-30-2002, 05:56 PM
Bill,

????PUH-LEASE

And ouch, the closest wood is my head.

Rick

qaedakiller
10-31-2002, 06:25 PM
Thanks again!

q