Via Technologies, the chip maker, has announced its VIA VT6421 discrete controller chip, providing Serial ATA RAID. It supports the full spectrum of x86 processor platforms for desktop and mobile PCs, enabling control through PCI and CardBus (PCMCIA) interfaces.

Simultaneously Adaptec announced that motherboard makers Asustek, Gigabyte, Supermicro and Tyan have selected an Adaptec Serial ATA RAID product - HostRAID software - for design into next-generation motherboards.

They couple HostRAID with 4- and 8-port Serial ATA ASIC technology from Marvell Semiconductor. HostRAID provides the mirroring and striping capabilities embedded in Adaptec's Ultra320 SCSI controllers. To simplify storage management and reduce related costs, it can be managed under the same management software used for Adaptec's SCSI, Serial ATA and upcoming Serial Attached SCSI products.

It enables workstations and servers to provide cheaper RAID protection using Serial ATA disk drives and an easy migration to Adaptec's RAID add-in cards and to its direct-attached and networked storage arrays. RAID levels 0, 1 and 10 are supported, but not 5, with 4-8 disks.

This, together with the Via chip, should enable competing Serial ATA RAID products broadening user choices and helping to drive prices down.