Although the AAA-UDMA has all the manageability and reliability features you could ask for, its performance with most array types is certainly nothing special, and its RAID 5 performance is unforgivably poor. When Adaptec says it's meant for entry-level servers, they aren't kidding. The only server roles it would be good for are those that would not be limited by hard disk throughput but still require redundancy and high capacity. The only type of server I could see this controller being useful for is a low-level file and print server, since other kinds need much more hard disk performance than this controller can provide. It's simply unacceptable as a workstation solution, since it doesn't provide the performance a workstation needs.
>To be fair, we should remember that Adaptec never intended
the AAA-UDMA to be used in anything but small, entry-level servers, so perhaps
we shouldn't expect blazing performance in general. Still, I'm making the
assumption that anyone reading this article probably isn't looking for server
hardware evaluations, and this review is done with the home power user in mind,
hence the low overall rating. For business users, the AAA-UDMA is the solution
for the very cheapest RAID 5 possible. If you thought about getting this
controller because it would provide a RAID array with high performance, think
For home users, I can only think of a handful of good uses for this
controller, partly because it doesn't work with Windows 9x. Presumably, you'd be
using this controller on a server or other secondary system that isn't your main
computer. One way to use the system with the controller would be as a media file
warehouse. With three or four large hard disks, you could store an astonishing
number of MP3 or movie files. legitimate ones, of course.
Second, it wouldn't be bad for home video storage and editing. Although the
performance wouldn't be adequate for high-quality video, any kind of video needs
a lot of disk space. However, you could do both of these with a much cheaper
software-based IDE RAID controllers like Promise's FastTrak series, IWill's
SIDE-RAID series, or integrated RAID controllers on some newer motherboards.
I don't know how well these perform, and they don't provide RAID 5 support, but I doubt that they perform worse than the AAA-UDMA, and they cost far less. If Adaptec made an ATA RAID controller with its own RAID chip- that is, not one which has to translate IDE to SCSI and back for use with a pre-existing SCSI RAID chip- it might be worthwhile. But considering its hefty price and sometimes appalling performance, the AAA-UDMA is difficult to recommend to home users unless they have a true need for low-cost RAID 5 and aren't concerned about performance. It's an adequate solution for low-traffic business servers that need capacity and redundancy at the lowest possible price, but it's far from the barn-burner I expected.