More and more today solid state drives are making a bigger presence in the world of hard drives. Over conventional mechanical drives, there are some obvious benefits: speed, fast latency times, lack of moving parts to name a few. Although still expensive, laptops and desktop performance seekers have taken a fond liking for them. With our current generation of solid state drives vastly improving upon the already fairly impressive previous generation, solid state drives are an more than ever an attractive option for upgrades. For a line of products in such a relative state of youth, they have done quite well.
In recent times, a few interesting things have happened and have shaken up the storage playing field. On the hardware side of things, not only has the cost of storage continually become cheaper (as always), but for the first time in years hard drive technology is really changing. Not too long ago, solid state drives or SSD's entered the market. While not perfect, each consecutive product improved upon the last considerably. While not the most effective cost per GB solution, it did offer the jaw dropping speeds typically found in more expensive RAID setups. For sheer capacity, conventional mechanical hard drives offer all the gigabytes and even a few terabytes to satisfy even the most persistent hoarders. Digital content has never been so plentiful, whether through various digital media services, shared content or even home produced media such as audio, video and picture there is plenty of content that needs storing that just isn't going to fit in your mom and dad's conventional 80GB hard drives. Whether users are looking to boost system performance, capacity or redundancy for data, RAID is an obvious choice.
A few months back when we looked at Highpoint's RocketRAID 2680 and RocketRAID 4320 offerings, we started off by discussing the state of hard drives, the actual real world benefits of RAID- specifically with respect to data contingency and cost. Evaluating both polar ends of the price spectrum, it provided a fair bit of perspective of the differences in software RAID, entry level hardware RAID and high end enterprise level RAID solutions. With quite an impressive stack of hard drives and perhaps a bit too much data, we concluded that for a serious system, hardware based RAID setups was absolutely essential. But, an absolutely serious RAID setup isn't found in most households, it isn't found in most performance user's systems and well, frankly, isn't too common at all. Not to run in circles here, but it goes without saying that a dedicated I/O processor and with a set of memory, hardware RAID will perform better than software RAID, especially when dealing with demanding disk access applications. For today's review, we again welcome Highpoint back, and with them is the RocketRAID 3510 RAID card. Unlike our last review with Highpoint we won't be pulling out our stack of Seagate 500GB drives, instead thanks to OCZ, we will be looking at the RocketRAID 3510's performance with two OCZ Vertex 30GB drives
For over a decade and a half Highpoint has been developing and producing RAID solutions and along with a small handful of companies have become the forerunners today. Highpoint has enjoyed quite a bit of success both with enterprise level products and with entry level home RAID solutions and have built up quite an impressive track record with customers including Google, SunMicro, Maxtor, Hitachi, San Disk, HP, Lenevo and the list goes on.