Adaptec Adapts To PCI Express

PCI Express PCI-X PCI controller bus

Adaptec is one of the few controller vendors that takes full advantage of PCIe and offers an entry-level product line. Adaptec's RAID 1220SA is a controller card that supports two Serial ATA (SATA) drives running at 3 Gbits per second and legacy drives with 1.5 Gbps. It is ideal for low-end workstations and small server appliances.

The next step up from the 1220SA is Adaptec's 1430SA, which is a four-port PCIe SATA II HostRAID controller card. The 1430SA supports four SATA drives. Because 500-Gbyte SATA drives are common, system builders can put together an inexpensive 2-Tbyte file server system with the 1430SA card. This card can address the storage needs of the entry-level and midrange server appliance markets.

Like the 1220SA, the 1430SA card also has a low form factor. The size of a card is important because PCIe greatly reduces the space now available on motherboards. Its low profile conforms to 1U and 2U server enclosures, as well as professional workstations.

The 1430SA controller card arrives with I2C management support, so enclosures that have I2C cables can monitor disk-drive activity. In addition, the 1430SA card supports RAID level 0, 1 and 10. With RAID 10, servers can mirror two RAID 0 hard-drive sets that are striped together, a feature that allows servers to achieve high performance and redundancy using four hard drives.

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A big selling point for system builders is the Adaptec Storage Manager software, which works across the vendor's entire product family. The Manager supports native command queuing, a performance feature available in new SATA drives.