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REVIEW:
CalDigit FASTA-2e PCI-e SATA 3G Host Adapter with 2 external ports

Posted June 16th, 2006, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

Many readers have asked for a low cost SATA host adapter for the Dual-Core and Quad-Core G5 Power Mac's PCI Express bus. In earlier articles we reported on the Sonnet and HighPoint 4 port SATA 3G host adapters that cost $300. Add the cost of the 5 bay enclosure with drives and we're talking big storage bucks. Some lower priced options are beginning to emerge. We decided to report first on CalDigit's FASTA-2e PCIe host adapter because it offers two external eSATA ports for $79. (There are other 2 port cards available but most of them have one 1 external and 1 internal port.)

We used two Maxtor MaXLine 7V300F0 drives (300GB 7200rpm 16MB cache) in the tests we ran. (A FirmTek SeriTek/2EN4 enclosure was used.) We ran the drives as single drives and as a software RAID 0 (striped) pair.

The FASTA-2e host adapter uses a Mac driver that comes with the card or can be downloaded (along with the user manual) at their website.

QUICKBENCH
We averaged the 50MB to 100MB extended test. The "*" indicates the second drive was busy.

DISKTESTER
We tested the striped pair EMPTY and FULL using a 4GB test file:

CONCLUSION
We think the
CalDigit FASTA-2e SATA 3G PCI-e host adapter will fill the need very well for those who only want to add one or two fast external drives to their Dual-Core or Quad-Core Power Mac. The $79 price point certainly is attractive if you don't have the need for more than two drives.

If you are looking for the port multiplication feature, this card is not designed for that. Nor does it offer "hardware RAID." You'll want to look elsewhere for those features and will probably pay a lot more. But then, if you are a high end user, you understand those "rules."

MORE TO COME, AS USUAL
We're planning to report on the other low priced SATA cards that have been announced or are shipping to see what unique features or pricing they offer. Ditto for some new enclosures coming along the pike.

TEST SOFTWARE

QUICKBENCH 3.0
Chris Karr of Intech Software had added some very useful new features to QuickBench including the abiity to average multiple iterations of the various small and large block random and sequential tests.

DISKTESTER 2.0
Lloyd Chambers has released version 2.0 of his useful DiskTester utility. Though it runs from within the Terminal app, we like the flexibility of defining the size of the test file, the size of the transfer or 'chunk,' and the area of the volume to be tested. We often use it to simulate a full volume.

RELATED ARTICLES
BARE FEATS reports on the Sonnet Tempo SATA E4P host adapter which supports up to 20 drives via Port Multiplication.

BARE FEATS reports on the HighPoint RocketRAID 2322 with two mini-SAS external ports that support up to 8 drives in special 4 drive enclosures with Infiniband connectors.

BARE FEATS reports on the FirmTek SeriTek/2SM2E ExpressCard/34 SATA host adapter for the 15" and 17" MacBook Pro.

AMUG has done a great article on the Sonnet Tempo SATA E4P and Sonnet's Fusion 500P Port Multiplication enclosure.

AMUG also looked at the Addonics 5 bay Port Multiplication enclosure.

AMUG reports on a low cost Addonics PCI-X 4 port SATA host adapter ($85).

AMUG reports on a 12 bay (!) Port Multiplication enclosure.

WHERE TO BUY THE CALDIGIT FASTA-2e PCIe SATA 3G host adapter

Mac Pro

ProMax (host adapters, enclosures)

WHERE TO BUY OTHER SATA ADAPTERS, SATA DRIVES AND SATA ENCLOSURES

FirmTek (host adapters, enclosures)

Granite Digital (host adapters, enclosures, drives, cables)

MacGurus (host adapters, enclosures, drives, cables)

MaxUpgrades (host adapters, enclosures, internal mounting kits)

Other World Computing (host adapters, enclosures, drives)

Small Dog Electronics (host adapters, enclosures, drives)

Sonnet Technology (PM SATA host adapters, PM enclosures)

TransIntl.com (host adapters, enclosures, drives, internal mounting kits)

Wiebetech.com (host adapters, enclosures, pre-installed drives, internal mounting kits)

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2006 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster and mad scientist