AMCC To Ship Fast Desktop Storage Solution For Mac

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AMCC is shipping a bundle consisting of a new PCI Express-to-SATA RAID controller, a four-bay desktop storage chassis for SATA hard drives, a high-bandwidth SATA cable for Mac computers and storage management software, said Scott Cleland, director of marketing at the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor.

Though Apple offers its high-performance Xserve RAID array for Fibre Channel SANs -- and other vendors offer a variety of USB-, FireWire- and eSATA-attached products -- the Apple world has been underserved in terms of high-performance storage, Cleland said.

"We see this as an opportunity to go in with a high-performance, true hardware RAID solution for prosumers," he said.

The 3ware Sidecar SATA II RAID product allows RAID 5 write speeds of more than 150 MBps for Apple Power Mac G5 systems, with read speeds of more than 200 MBps, Cleland said.

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The performance comes from AMCC's hardware RAID technology, part of which came with the company's acquisition of storage vendor 3ware in early 2004, according to Cleland. "Everyone else buys a processor from Intel and adds some firmware," he said. "We do our own hardware, software and firmware."

Steve Wood, a computer technician at One World Telecommunications, a Kennewick, Wash.-based Apple VAR, said the performance of the Sidecar solution will make it useful in the Apple community, especially among users of Final Cut Pro, Apple's real-time video-editing application.

"Anybody who is using Final Cut Pro knows that saving to disk is the most time-consuming task, aside from rendering," Wood said. "This solution would probably be a moviemaker's dream."

High-performance movement of data is crucial, since the Mac is the standard for moviemaking, particulary for amateurs, Wood added. "If you manipulate an HD video or movie, the faster you can get it to the drive, the better, because the drive can't do anything else while that is happening," he said. "And in today's world, time is money."

Bryan Murphy, owner of Mac Hollywood, a Hollywood, Calif.-based Apple solution provider, cautioned that while Macintosh users need all the performance they can get, Sidecar might still not have what they need.

"It's still not fast enough for HD," Murphy said. "You need 250 Mbytes per second to capture HD. So we sell Xserve RAID arrays to direct-attach to Macs." High-performance storage devices for the post-production audio and video business must be tested for compatibility with video cards from Blackmagic Design or AJA Video Systems, he added.

AMCC executives said that such compatibility has yet to be certified.

The Sidecar bundle is expected to be available to customers by Sept. 22 via distributors such as Synnex, Bell Microproducts and D&H Distributing, Cleland said.