I just happened to have a RAID storage server in the shop that was due for a complete wipe anyway, so I decided to take the opportunity to do some benchmarking. Somewhat to my surprise, ZFS turned out to be quite a good performer - despite its advanced data-protection features, it was the fastest filesystem tested for single-process reads, with or without RAIDZ. RAIDZ did quite well too; on multiple concurrent reads it is significantly slower than RAID5/ext3, but still manages to nearly double single-drive performance across the board.
AMD Athlon 64+ 3500
2GB DDR2 SDRAM
1 WD 250GB HDD (operating system)
5 Seagate Barracuda 750GB SATA-II HDD (RAID array drives)
Operating systems used:
FreeBSD 7.2-RELEASE amd64 (UFS2 and ZFS testing)
Ubuntu Server 8.04-LTS amd64 (ext3fs testing)
no filesystem tuning was done for any test - all filesystems were left in their default configuration.