When the BP6 was released, having on-board RAID meant SCSI, which meant much higher motherboard costs, which leads to an unhappy me. Fortunately since then, IDE RAID has made its presence felt with many mainboard manufacturers integrating less expensive IDE RAID controllers in their products. Abit chose to jump on that bandwagon with the VP6, which uses HighPoint Technologies, Inc. HPT 370 chipset. Not only do you get on-board RAID but also ATA-100 support in all four IDE channels. If you still want the performance boost of RAID and not willing to go SCSI just yet, IDE RAID is a great alternative. It's definitely more affordable than SCSI, but of course the performance isn't as high. Software RAID is good too but with the controller already integrated into the VP6, who needs that. Frankly, I think that all motherboards should come with IDE RAID standard these days. I mean it's really not that expensive to just get two identical hard drives and put them in RAID 0. Even if you don't have a second hard drive, you can upgrade to RAID in the future. Of course, the average Joe probably won't know a lick about RAID at all... Anyway I slapped two 30 GB IBM 75 GXP drives in there to see just how fast it would be. Here's what Sandra told me:
2 30GB IBM 75 GXP Drives ATA/100, 7200rpm
Again Sandra is known for giving not so honest hard drive performance results. I ran this test a few times just to be sure. Well the results point to the current setup being pretty superior to the reference model they have there. That's good but I'm still not sure if that's totally accurate. HDTach would tell more but I'll have to add the scores once I get the benchmark CD. For a file server or database server that accesses the hard drive a lot, RAID is definitely a must. The RAID controller here on the VP6 is great, and very easy to use as well. With its own BIOS setup screen, you can create and delete striped or mirrored sets of drives. Since the first VP6 I had died, I didn't want to reinstall everything after all the work I did. So I decided just to put the two drives in the same connections on the new VP6. At first I was scared that this new motherboard wouldn't recognize the old RAID striped set, but it did and everything worked as if the first motherboard hadn't died. The on-board RAID support is nice so that I don't have to use an extra RAID card. It's great for low-cost servers since it delivers an affordable RAID solution compared to a more expensive SCSI solution. The performance isn't as high but it's still better than a single drive. Serious servers will probably look to RAID 5, which would mean SCSI, although there are IDE RAID cards that support RAID 5.