Southbridge Battle: 780a, ICH10 and SB750, Compared
All chipsets today offer integrated Serial ATA (SATA) support, since all mainstream hard drives now utilize the fast serial interface. Even entry-level chipsets tend to support the creation of striped sets (RAID 0) or mirrors (RAID 1) to accelerate storage performance or improve data protection.
Upper-mainstream and high-end products not only offer more SATA ports but also added software-based functionality, such as RAID 5. Although few users actually use RAID 5 on desktop PCs (given a three-drive minimum), this mode requires processing horsepower to calculate parity, which is required to rebuild stored data should one hard drive break. The CPU supplies the horsepower, but the southbridge acts as the controller for the RAID operations, and we found significant differences between RAID 5-enabled desktop chipsets for these tasks.