Best PCIe RAID Controller Cards 2020 Detailed Review.
Best PCIe RAID Controller Cards: If you’re looking to expand the capabilities of your computer, RAID is a very powerful platform that can be utilized.
IO Crest 4 Port SATA III Controller Card
Delivering cost-effective controller solutions from China, IO Crest offers unbeatable value. Their products are in widespread use, as they supply many large computer manufacturers with peripherals.
The IO Crest SATA III Controller Card is highly configurable. It’s based on a common controller, the Marvell 88SE9235, and supports the latest version of the SATA standards: 3.0.
Like most SATA controllers, it’s also backward compatible with older SATA devices. Additionally, it can be purchased with anywhere from two to eight SATA ports.
One configuration even offers you four external ports found on the back of the card and four more internal ports. The card connects to a PCIe x2 port, but like any PCIe card will work in an x4, x8, or x16 slot.
The performance of this card is high enough that you will be able to use any single drive available on the market without any reduction in its maximum potential speed.
Since the latest SATA standards are supported, the drives will operate the way they were designed to. On average, the two PCIe lanes used by this card can handle around 600MB/s of transfer speed cumulatively.
This bandwidth is shared between all of the active SATA ports. If you’re accessing either a single SSD or up to four hard drives at the same time, you’ll notice no degradation in performance.
This is a pretty vanilla device designed for simple applications. It does, however, have one handy feature. That is the inclusion of the Native Command Queue.
This is an extension of the SATA protocol that allows the drives to change the order in which data is sent. If you’re sending a lot of commands to the drive or working with large files, this will make the speeds a little more efficient.
Due to the seek times caused by the presence of read heads, Native Command Queue is only beneficial for hard drives.
StarTech.com 4 Port PCIe RAID Controller Card
While sharing many common features with the IO Crest card, this model adds support for 3 different RAID modes.
The StarTech.com 4 Port PCIe RAID Controller Card is built upon StarTech’s own chipset that takes all of the standard SATA features and adds in a few bonuses.
You can select up to four SATA ports in total, with different combinations allowing for external ports. Some configurations also offer a mSata port, a common connector used for small SSDs.
It supports RAID 1, 0, and 1+0. There’s another supported drive striping technology known as HyperDuo, used for combining different drives into a single volume.
This card also uses the PCIe x2 standard, restricting our potential gains from RAID a little bit. Currently the fastest consumer SSDs on the market cap out at around 500MB/s peak transfer speed.
Since we have around 600MB/s of total bandwidth for all drives, we should be able to take full advantage of even the fastest consumer drives on the market, provided we are only accessing one of them at a time.
HyperDuo is a unique feature that’s similar to RAID, with a couple of small changes. RAID can only combine identical drives into one volume.
HyperDuo lets you combine drives of any size. Ideally, you could take the massive storage space of a hard drive and combine it with the snappy performance of an SSD.
HyperDuo will automatically find the most commonly used files and put them on the SSD, improving the overall system performance. Unfortunately, HyperDuo is not yet supported on Windows 10, so this feature is for windows 7 and 8 users only.
Vantec 4-Channel 6-Port SATA PCIe Raid Controller Card
While Vantec is a relatively unknown company, their RAID controller card is one of the most powerful solutions on the market.
The Vantec 4-Channel SATA PCIe Raid Controller Card has ports for up to 6 SATA devices. While only four can be in use at any time, FIS switching allows ports to be activated on-the-fly.
It supports both HyperDuo and the latest SATA standards. RAID modes supported are 1, 0, 1+0, and JBOD. By taking advantage of four PCIe lanes this card is able to offer a total functional bandwidth of up to 1200Mb/s, which is plenty for even power users.
This is where the Vantec PCIe RAID controller really shines. Now that we have access for four whole lanes of PCIe bandwidth, the benefits of advanced RAID arrays become apparent.
Throwing four mid-level hard drives into a RAID 0 array could give you 3TB of SSD-like performance for under $400. Alternately, four modern SSDs in a RAID 0 array could provide a near-instant response to nearly all of your computer’s daily tasks.
1:You just want to add more drives to your computer, and do not plan to use any RAID features.
In this case, the Crest Card will probably suit your needs best.
It’s inexpensive, has no frills, and can be customized depending on the number of ports you need. As long as you don’t need more than 500MB/s of bandwidth and will only be using one or two of the drives at the same time, this is the perfect controller card for you.
2: You want to take advantage of RAID 1 to keep your data safe from corruption or drive failure.
In this case, the StarTech Card is the best solution for you. With RAID 1, there is no additional bandwidth being used by the second drive, all of the redundancy operations are handled by the controller.
Since there are very few consumer drives that exceed 600MB/s, this controller will give you all the benefits of RAID 1 no matter what drive you to choose.
3: You want to use the features of RAID 0 to maximize your data transfer rates
If performance is your number one goal, the Vantec Card harnesses 4 PCIe lanes that can provide an insane 1200MB/s with the right drives.