We also utilized IOMETER 2010 in our testing to confirm the sequential speeds that we were seeing with compressible data. Here we are using an 8GB test file with 64K transfers at a Queue Depth of 64 to see the maximum transfer speed with sequential read access.
Again we see a top speed just north of 1.5 GB/s. This would be very useful in file transfers and server-type file access scenarios. For use with large video or audio files this would be an extremely fast array.
REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
There is a large difference between what I would deem ‘Consumer RAID’ vs ‘Enterprise RAID’. Many wrongly think that they are both one in the same. Enthusiasts, and more involved users, who are utilizing these types of RAID arrays in their computers are looking for different things entirely. Ease of use, affordability, and an emphasis on desktop access file loadings is key to the typical home RAID user. There are major differences in the types of RAID loading and tweaking for the respective products.
We have tested some of the most powerful single SSDs on the planet that are designed for Enterprise servers and, with speeds above and beyond what many normal users can even imagine, one would think that these would be extremely fast in a desktop usage. That just simply couldn’t be further from the truth.
If one were to boot their computer using some of these enterprise-centric SSDs they would be extremely disappointed in their performance. The majority of these devices just are not designed to be used in a desktop application. They are designed for 100 percent operation, 100 percent of the time. These types of SSDs do not lend themselves well to being used by the causal user, and that is without factoring the extreme prices involved.
The SSD realm seems to be coming to a crossroads, however, where there are some devices that can, and will, perform at extreme levels in either scenario, simply by some easy configurations that even a normal user can handle. That seems to be the balance that Intel and LSI SandForce are striving for here by bringing reliability, price, and performance of the true Enterprise-class devices down to a level where us ‘normal’ users can utilize them as well.
The Intel 520 is certainly a huge step in this direction. These SSDs perform extremely well as a single device or in RAID configurations. Having now tested them in both scenarios, we can safely say that they perform admirably on both sides of the aisle.
The HighPoint RAID controller that we used in this review is also a sign of these blurred lines in the RAID world. With a low price and excellent performance, it is also straddling the line with enterprise-class performance at home user pricing.
Look for more in-depth testing with both the Intel 520s and the HighPoint 2720SGL in very short order from us here at The SSD Review. We are already in the midst of an impressive article for the HighPoint controller with 8x256GB SSDs and this is definitely going to have some of our highest single card results that we have ever seen!
The Intel 520s really scored a knockout in our ‘consumer’ RAID testing exercise and, with the speed and latency displayed, it would be hard to go wrong with them. These results are some of the best I have ever experienced with so few SSDs and it wasn’t so long ago that it took a whole stack of SSDs, and a $1000 dollar RAID controller, to achieve what we did here today! Look for our ‘Round Three’ of this Intel testing within the next few days, as we roll out our new Enterprise Test Regimen!