Installation and Usability

Installation of the Revo64 is very simple and, true to XFX’s claims, requires no drivers to get running. Once installed in a free PCI slot, you can either use the BIOS utility to configure your arrays, or the bundled Windows software.

XFX Revo64 RAID 3 Controller Review - Storage 44
Just created a RAID 3 array. The whole process took seconds.

The BIOS interface is a bit confusing if you haven’t used similar RAID configuration tools before. Before writing this article I was a RAID newbie and managed just fine using the BIOS. The manual is well written and will aid those of you who who are unsure. Once the array is configured in the BIOS, the array appears like any other uninitialized disk in Windows which can then be formatted and used like any other drive.

XFX Revo64 RAID 3 Controller Review - Storage 45

In Windows, the NetCell software is very easy to use and configure. Once the software is installed, you simply select the drives you want to use in your array, select the RAID mode, and click the “Create” button. If one of the drives used in the array is unformatted, you will have to use Windows’ format utility to initialize and format the array. Any unconfigured disc attached to the Revo64 will go unused and can not be used as an independent disc. So if you have three discs attached to the controller, best to use all three otherwise one will site idle.

I found that using the Revo64 in Windows generally painless. Creating and deleting arrays is very easy using a combination of the NetCell software and Windows’ disk manager. The software is simple and effective with some nice features.

XFX Revo64 RAID 3 Controller Review - Storage 46

There is a notification feature that can email a configured email address information in the event of a disk failure.

XFX Revo64 RAID 3 Controller Review - Storage 47

The update wizard can be used to download and flash new firmware from the Internet or flash using a file from your computer. The interface is well designed with simple Window dialogs (unlike some fancy Windows flashers employed by some motherboard manufacturers).

However there are little things I wish were implemented to make life a little easier.

First, the software isn’t very smart in how it deals with unformatted disks. If an array is created using at least one unformatted disk, it does not prompt you to format it, instead you have to do it manually. Initially I was confused why my array was not appearing in Windows, and it was because I was expecting the software to do all the initializing when it does not.

Second, there is no “Data Migration” tool like that seen on NVIDIA’s or VIA’s RAID software. So if you’re changing between RAID modes, NetCell’s software will not preserve your data so you’re going to have to back up information onto other media before changing modes.

« PreviousNext »