Introduction

Day 3 of Computex came and went; the relentless near-100% humidity, minor earthquakes, smoke-filled rooms and continuous wailing of international businessmen intimidates all but the most seasoned show goers. Even though we have been in Taipei for almost a week, new technology is still everywhere and never ceases to amaze us. The crowds are a little smalller than other years, but fortunately for us, it seems that the majority of the attendees are actual vendors, buyers and manufacturers (unlike previous years when a strong majority of local inquisitors composed the bulk of the audience).

Albatron

Albatron had several new items on display, although most of them are not terribly new. Albatron product managers emphasized their new BIOS solutions for both graphics cards and motherboards.

However, the show stealer for Albatron was clearly the “ATOP” AGP to PCI-E converter cards. ATOP allows a user to plug an NVIDIA AGP video card into a PCI-E riser – allowing a user to upgrade to an nForce4 board without getting rid of their old card. While the implications are nice, the practicality of the card is still being tested and there are also issues of clearance that have not been addressed yet. The ATOP bundle pictured below consists of an AGP GeForce 6200 video card piggy-backed onto the ATOP adaptor.


Click to enlarge.

Albatron also had their K8SLI motherboard on display – the narrowest nForce4 SLI motherboard that we have seen outside of an SFF.

Sapphire
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  • KristopherKubicki - Friday, June 03, 2005 - link

    Thanks for the update DoctorBooze. The details I got were just from a quick conversation with a VP at NetCell. It sounds like their tech is going to be on some motherboards in the near future, so hopefully by then I'll have more details.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • DoctorBooze - Friday, June 03, 2005 - link

    Couple of points about all this RAID stuff. The RAID level described in the article is RAID 4, not RAID 3; RAID 3 uses byte-level striping, not block-level. RAID 3 needs synchronised spindles for adequate performance because, to read a whole block back, you have to read off all the discs except the parity disc. Most implementations will also read back the parity and make sure the data is valid; there's no performance hit for this. Overall, RAID 3 reads and writes about as fast as a single drive (whether you have validation enabled or not). It's a very safe way to store your data, as it'll pick up single-sector faults and correct for them (and the controller or OS can subsequently mark the block as bad with no harm done).

    RAID 4 and RAID 5 do not require synchronised spindles because they operate at a block level, so for any block of data you only have to read one disc, and if they validated the data, they'd be as slow as RAID 3 (because they'd have to read the contents of all the discs to retrieve and validate one block, which would mean you got none of the benefits of parallelism). RAID 4 and 5 only protect against faulty sectors if the drives report them as faulty rather than just returning duff data.
    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Friday, June 03, 2005 - link

    Re: All the comments about RAID5 - I may be a little biased, but the cannotation was *good* RAID5 support in kernel!

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Friday, June 03, 2005 - link

    JHutch: RAID3 is pretty much identical to RAID5 except that RAID3 dedicates a whole disk to parity.

    RyanVM: I might have phrased it incorrectly - but we meant to say don't expect to see a new card between X550 and R520.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • fsardis - Friday, June 03, 2005 - link

    is it just me or the new stacker 830 has 9 bays instead of 12? how can it be bigger than the original stacker then as mentioned in the article? Reply
  • LidlessEye - Friday, June 03, 2005 - link

    Rebuild time shouldn't be quite that long... depending on other I/O and the RAID controller, I'm sure. But if there's a lot of I/O, you shouldn't be using ATA anyway... the probability of a failure even if it takes a day is miniscule. Also, since it wasn't pointed out in the article, RAID 10 or 0+1 offers much greater I/O and nearly the same fault tolerance for four disks, I would use 0+1 at 6 disks (instead of five in RAID 6). So that leaves RAID 6 for 7 or more drives... 14 is often cited as a "common" configuration. FWIW, EMC and IBM recommend RAID 10 and 5 in most of their SAN gear. Reply
  • USAF1 - Thursday, June 02, 2005 - link

    @#25

    The other issue with RAID-3 is that all disks in the array are spindle synchronized. So, your I/O's per second are also limited to that of a single drive. By contrast, RAID-5 allows for independent control of all hard drives in the array. RAID-3 is great for streaming large, contiguous files but not much else. I have 18TB of CIPRICO RAID-3 devices where I work and I wish I didn't...
    Reply
  • Doormat - Thursday, June 02, 2005 - link

    Its coz rebuild time on a 10k or 15k 73GB SCSI HD is not that long. On an 8 drive 7200RPM 400GB(per drive) array, rebuild times are on the order of days. Reply
  • LidlessEye - Thursday, June 02, 2005 - link

    oh... also, very few people use it in the server world since it so slow, and array failure due to two drive failures is generally caused by negligence, not rebuild time. I would never want to use it for a small array (<7 disks).
    Reply
  • LidlessEye - Thursday, June 02, 2005 - link

    Windows has offered software RAID 5 since at least NT4. So it’s been available for about a decade…

    RAID 6 is worthless except in very large array sets (like 14 drives) for data archival mainly. Compaq (now HP) has offered this (Called RAID ADG) for about 5 years on their SCSI RAID controllers, and of course that’s in hardware. I believe IBM has offered it for a few years as well.
    Reply

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