SIL3114 4-PORT PCI RAID

SIL3114 PCI RAID

  • PCI 3.3V and 5.0V universal
  • SATA 150MB/s
  • 4 SATA channels
  • 266MB/s PCI bandwidth
  • BIOS (EEPROM)
  • RAID 0, 1, 5, 0+1, JBOD
  • 48-bit LBA
  • ATAPI CD/DVD/BD support
  • Plug & Play

Any machine with SATA ports on the motherboard have PCI 2.1 slots which are 32-bit and operate at 66MHz. The SIL3114 is universal and can be used with older EIDE based machines at 33MHz. When installed in a PCI Express and SATA based machine the SIL3114 supports the full PCI 266MB/s speeds. Copying even large capacity hard disks are < 75MB/s so the SATA 150MB/s speeds are not a real problem.

The SIL3114 has 256 byte FIFO buffers for each channel which is standard for PCI controllers. Disks also have FIFO buffers which work together with the controller card and the PCI bus. The SIL3114 supports virtual DMA so each disk can be a separate PCI bus master with its own disk transfer area.

The SIL3114 does not have the logic and buffers for XOR to support RAID5. It’s all done in software by the driver. This card works best as JBOD and using Windows Storage Spaces.

The low profile PCI card comes with a BIOS to support the creation of a RAID volume. To install a disk, create an array as JBOD which can then be used with Windows,

The updated BIOS supports LBA48 so installing larger capacity disks is fully supported. This card is being marketed largely for NAS type use. Drivers are are Windows update and Linux supports it as well. 1000BASE-T is slower than PCI 33MHz so NAS  users are throttled by network speeds.

The BIOS does not have UEFI support so the maximum disk supported is 2TB. This also applies to any RAID array. We have inquired and there is no updated firmware for the PCI card.

We tested the card with a modern i3-2100 machine with Windows 10 which recognized the card immediately. Attaching a high capacity disk was recognized as well. Drivers for Windows 98SE and above are available. The supplied SATA cables do not have clips so we tested the card with clip cables which are far less likely to become disconnected.

PCI slots are slowly being replaced by PCI Express. Generally motherboards have 1 or 2 PCI slots below the video card where expansions cards can be installed. The Asus P8H61-M LE/CSM has PCI and PCI Express slots which provides more choice. The SIL3114 run easily at full speed with the Intel Core i3-2100.

We have noticed PCI Express cards are slowly starting to become available. The low cost of the SIL3114 makes this card a very popular choice for those who want to add more SATA ports to an older machine.

The card has a 2-pin connector near the bracket for an activity LED. It might have been better to mount the LED on the rear bracket where it could actually be seen when the card is being installed. The SIL3114 actually has LED support for each SATA channel but this capability is not exploited.

MORE PERFORMANCE

The SIL3124 has been seen with PCI and PCI Express x1 cards but they cost over $50. SATA III cards need PCI Express 2.0 x4 slots and they are upwards of $100. Generally PCI Express 2.0 x8 cards are seen with higher port densities. These cards can cost upwards of $500 for the best models.