XFX Revo64 RAID 3 Controller Review
Packaging & Physical Examination
The XFX Revo64 package is very elaborate. The box is the trademark "X' shape that is featured on all XFX products like video cards and computer accessories. This unique shape is certain eye catching on the shelf but unfortunately XFX's packaging is a bit excessive. After you've managed to open the package (it's literally a box within a box within another box), you're left with a RAID controller, a manual, SATA cables, and software CD and a mountain of cardboard.
Excessive packaging or insurance against shipping damage?
You decide. :-)
The SATA cables included with the REVO64 are different from your typical SATA cable. On one end is a SATA connector with a locking latch to keep the cable in place when attached to a drive. The other end is your typical SATA connector. The velcro straps, though a small detail, are immensely useful by helping you keep your cables nice and tidy inside your computer case.
The cables themselves could be UV reactive (I don't have a proper light to test this) and is twice the length of a standard SATA cable which makes it convenient to route.
Looking at the REVO64 card itself...
The Revo64 uses the NetCell Revolution NC3000 SPU which supports 3 SATA channels. XFX also has a 5-port model of the Revo64 which you can deduce by the unsoldered traces on the PCB.
The Revo64 has 64MB of onboard RAM which makes it a unique consumer-model RAID controller. Onboard RAM is typically found featured on more expensive Enterprise-level controllers to improve performance, but the XFX Revo64 has it standard. The 5-port model supports 128MB of RAM.
Three Marvell 88i8030 chips can be found next to the SATA ports. Since the NetCell NC3000 SPU natively supports ATA100 channels, these chips act as an adapter for the SATA interface. As we will see in performance testing, though the ATA100 bridge places a restriction on SATA burst performance, sequential performance is still very good.