Impressions & Conclusions

Considering the XFX Revo64 uses the older and slower PCI bus and was originally designed for ATA100, the test results have shown that the Revo64 is far from irrelevant in today’s modern computer. Actually in a few cases XFX’s controller surpasses the integrated RAID controllers we tested on the nForce 4 SLI chipset especially RAID 5. The overall pattern is that the Revo64 excels at long sustained reading and writing, specifically sequential reading/writing on RAID 0 and RAID 3 really stood out.

Burst speeds and random access is poor as can be expected considering the PCI bus is not ideal for this kind of activity and the ATA100 limitation on the SPU keeps results lower than the competition. However, the benefit of using the PCI interface is that the Revo64 can be used in any system and can be easily migrated. NetCell has told me that a PCI-Express version of the NC3000 SPU will be available in early 2006 and that their internal testing has shown good improvement in bursting performance.

XFX Revo64 RAID 3 Controller Review - Storage 44

XFX’s Revo64 – Move Large Files at RAID 0 speed, with RAID 5 security

The real big reason to buy the Revo64 is the RAID 3 support. The tests have shown that it is faster at reading and writing large files than NVIDIA’s RAID 5, while nearly matching the performance of RAID 0 in certain cases. Parity in RAID 3 gives you a peace of mind that your crtitical data is being “backed up” on the fly which is something RAID 0 and JBOD modes can not match.

It is for this reason that XFX has taregtted the Revo64 towards media creators (video, music, graphics users) since the data is often very large and critical. I think the Revo64 goes beyond that as I can see it useful in any situation where large files are transferred frequently like on a file server (large PowerPoint presentations, CD images, daily backups), or an HTPC (DVD / DiVX movies stored locally).

There are other nice features of the Revo64 like the driverless installation which makes configuration a breeze, and zero CPU overhead for RAID operations that doesn’t slow down your computer while transferring files.

It’s only a matter of time before enthusiasts begin looking at their drives and wonder how they can squeeze more performance without sacrificing security and I think that the XFX Revo64 is a unique product that really fills that need.

Worthy notes Issues to be aware of
  • Excellent RAID 3 performance with long/sequential transfers.
  • RAID 3 performance is fast and consistent (unlike NVIDIA’s RAID 5).
  • Easy installation. No drivers required.
  • Zero CPU overhead.
  • Uses the common PCI bus.
  • Add RAID functionality to your existing system easily.
  • 64MB onboard buffer.
  • Extra long SATA cables.
  • Revo64’s burst speed is mediocre so it’s not the best as a general system/application loading controller.
  • Excellent at long transfers – you should do a lot of this activity to gain you maximum usefulness.
  • Decent price, but a stretch for budget buyers.
  • RAID 3 (the mode of choice on the Revo64) requires 3 disks.
  • PCI 2.2 interface is disappearing which may affect future compatibility.

Special Thanks

In preparing this article, I solicited help from the great guys in the Storage Forum. Specifically I would like to thank BWM, MousePotato, Grooge, frosty22, rehtaf, and krose. Thanks a lot guys!

Also thanks to Ryan at XFX and George at NetCell for quickly answering my questions and listening to my comments!

How much is your data worth?

The XFX Revo64 is fast on large files and gives you a peace of mind. Use our PriceGrabber service to find out how to get a new insurance policy on your data!

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