It looks like I might finally be able to begin using a RAID 5 array being controlled by the SiI3114 chip on my Gigabyte K8N Ultra-9 motherboard. That being said, I have a couple questions about just how this chip handles all the RAID 5 stuff.

1. Obviously this is not a true hardware RAID controller, so that means that it must use my CPU to do parity calculations. If that is the case, should I expect to see its CPU usage, or is it supposed to be transparent? I tried running an experiment where I'm writing to the array (just a simple file copy) and at the same time trying to make a WinRAR archive using best compression to make sure I use full CPU time. When I did this, I noticed that it in fact did not use 100% of my CPU. Instead, it seemed like about 20-30% of my CPU time was just simply not available (Windows 2000 task manager was reporting it as idle time). As soon as I stopped the file copying, the CPU usage immediately shot up to 100% again.

2. So if that is the case, then would I be able to benefit from having a dual core CPU in my system? Granted, I won't be reading and writing to this drive constantly (it will be more for storage of all my stuff rather than holding my OS), but still the idea of a dual core CPU is intriguing, and this would be just another excuse to get one.

I may have already answered at least my first question with my experiment, but I was just wondering if anyone else knew more about how these simple RAID 5 chips worked. Thanks!

Matt