Joined on 09/15/04
Performance problem due to NCQ
Pros: With the native command queueing (NCQ) queue depth set to 1, performance in AHCI mode is high (>90MB/sec) just like in IDE mode.
Cons: A further update to my previous review... As someone pointed out on the seagate forums, under linux, changing the NCQ queue depth to 1 (echo 1 >! /sys/block/<disk>/device/queue_depth) fixes the performance. I confirmed this with hdparm -t. Looks like the 0 buffer size number is a bit of a red herring and the real problem is something deeper with Seagate's NCQ implementation. I notice that this fix has been used for Seagate drives in the past (per the linux-ide mailing list). Good luck changing the NCQ depth to 1 under other OSes :)
ad14 firmware doesn't fix performance
Pros: Performance is great in IDE mode
Cons: Just an update to my previous review. With the ad14 firmware and the disk in IDE mode, burst performance is fine (>90MB/sec). In AHCI mode, burst performance is bad (~50MB/sec). In both cases hdparm reports the cache size as 0. Not sure whether AHCI is broken because of the misreported cache, but certainly misreported cache size is not impacting IDE mode. Seagate level III tech support denies there is a problem, and thinks that the ad14 firmware is the final fix.
Warning: won't do SATA 3gbps
Pros: Fan is reasonably quiet and is one of a very short list of sata enclosures to provide cooling
Cons: Requires 6 screws to swap a disk - should be screwless. I have two of these, and they both fail to negotiate sata300 speed (3gbps), only negotiates 1.5gbps, even tho enclosure advertises 3gbps!! Yes I do have my disk jumpers set to allow 3gbps; said disks negotiate 3gbps fine in other enclosures such as the bytecc bt-380. So what you say, disks don't read at 150MB/sec anyways? Well if you do linear reads from the disk you'll see that the 1.5gbps rate results in a performance bottleneck. In my tests of barracuda 7200.11 disks, I could get ~99MB/sec sustained read rates at 3gbps, and only ~91MB/sec at 1.5gbps. I contacted thermaltake about this and they do not have an answer, just that R&D is looking at it! The bridgeboard used by this enclosure has a inic-1610l chip that is apparently limiting speed to 1.5gbps, and I don't think they want to admit this fundamental problem.
Overall Review: Only modern sata disks are fast enough to notice this bottleneck in sata performance so the problem has been hidden for a while. Time for a recall for anyone who really expects sata300 to work with this.
Cache problem remains with updated firmware
Pros: Agree with LordConrad, but...
Cons: Have to remove low performance a jumper, flash the firmware, and still can't use the cache is too much handholding for something that should "just work".
Overall Review: Is there still a fix coming? I only see denial of an outstanding problem over in the seagate forum. The AD14 firmware on my drive still leaves the cache mis-identified as 0, as reported by 'hdparm -i' and the low performance results from 'hdparm -t' under linux confirm that this impacts burst I/O.
Pros: Better price point than the "deluxe" cards due to more rational choices of add ons(leaving out typically needless "deluxe" features such as 2 ethernet ports, 2 PCI express x16 slots, oversized heat syncs.)
Cons: BIOS does now allow AHCI to be enabled! This even even though ICH9 chipset supports it. Asus does not understand AHCI and removed this feature after 0406 BIOS revision. Board does not function as advertised (supporting 1333mhz FSB with AHCI). Problems POSTing with memory that requires EPP timings&voltage to run in performance mode, even when that memory is in Asus's QVL'd list. Motherboard sometimes requires cold-booting even when timings&voltage are set perfectly.