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Sensible and strong SATA screamer.
There's a lot to like about the SilverSATA II, a compact RAID unit that houses two Serial-ATA (SATA) hard drives and has both a USB 2.0 and an external SATA (eSATA) connector. It can be configured as a RAID 0 or RAID 1 array, and its enclosure is built to last and easy to use.
We looked at the 320GB SilverSATA II, which has a pair of 7,200 rpm, 160GB hard drives (our test unit had Hitachi Deskstar drives). The sturdy aluminum enclosure houses two removable trays that each have key locks to keep them secure. In RAID 0 mode, you're striping data, which combines the capacity of both drives into one big drive. Since data is written to both drives at the same time, RAID 0 is ideal for speed. RAID 1 is mirroring, where one drive is used as an always-on backup drive of the other.
You'll get better speed results by using the SilverSATA II's eSATA port instead of USB 2.0, but you need a Mac Pro or Power Mac. Since Macs don't have eSATA ports, you need an expansion card, such as the one we used: Sonnet's Tempo-X ($199.95, www.sonnettech.com). We tested the SilverSATA II in a RAID 0 configuration using Xbench (free, www.xbench.com) on a dual 2GHz Power Mac G5. Using eSATA, the SilverSATA II posted a rate of 109.66MB per second on the sequential uncached write test; the Power Mac's internal 160GB SATA drive was rated at 37.19MB per second. On the sequential uncached read test, the SilverSATA II was rated at 93.48MB per second, while the internal drive was 32.14MB per second. When duplicating a 2GB video file, the SilverSATA II finished in 38 seconds, versus the internal drive's 99 seconds.
USB speeds weren't nearly as impressive - as we expected. On the sequential uncached write test, the SilverSATA II was rated at a measly 9.54MB per second. On the sequential uncached read test, the SilverSATA II was rated at 10.42MB per second. Duplicating our 2GB video file took over seven minutes.
The bottom line. The SilverSATA II is a top-notch storage device - but buy yourself a SATA II card.
CONTACT: 866-744-8722, www.wiebetech.com
REQUIREMENTS: USB, Serial ATA expansion card for external Serial ATA connection
Excellent case construction. Speedy SATA performance.
USB bottleneck. Expansion SATA card sold separately.