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REVIEW: HighPoint RocketRAID 2322 PCI Express SATA II with RAID 5 and External Infiniband Support

Posted May 24th, 2006, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

As of this writing, the HighPoint RocketRAID series of Mac compatible SATA II host adapters are still the only ones that support RAID 5 at the card level. HighPoint has four PCI Express host adapters for the latest G5 Dual-Core Power Mac series. The RocketRAID 2322 is the only one of the three with external ports so we were anxious to test it.

The RocketRAID 2322 has two mini-SAS connectors which enable you to support two of the HighPoint X4 four bay enclosures with Infiniband connectors. The big idea is that you have a single cable going to each four drive set. Unlike Port Multiplier boxes which would have the four drives sharing one 300MB/s channel, this mini-SAS to Infiniband scheme uses one cable to deliver a total of 1200MB/s bandwidth (four channels of data) to four drives. Also, the HighPoint X4 enclosure is one of the few which connects the drive directly to the backplane.

For this round of testing, we used four (4) Western Digital Raptor 10K 150GB SATA drives in each of the three enclosures we used for testing.

Rocket 2322 R0 = HighPoint RocketRAID 2322 SATA host adapter connected to four bay X4 enclosure using a single Infiniband cable; "hardware" RAID 0 configuration
Rocket 2322 R5 = HighPoint RocketRAID 2322 SATA host adpater connected to four bay X4 enclosure using a single muti-lane cable; "hardware" RAID 5 configuration
Tempo E4P R0 = Sonnet Tempo SATA E4P host adapter with each of the four ports connected to a different drive in the SeriTek/2eEN4 four bay enclosure; software RAID 0 configuration
Tempo E4P PM = Sonnet Tempo SATA E4P host adapter with one port connected to the
Fusion 500P "port multiplier" enclosure; software RAID 0 configuration

We were impressed with how well the RocketRAID 2322's RAID 5 configuration performed compared to the three RAID 0 configurations. Though we still find HighPoint's browser based RAID manager "clunky" to use, it gets the job done.

As indicated above, we used HighPoint's X4 Infiniband enclosure when testing the RocketRAID 2322. You may already have an investment in enclosures and cables for your SATA drives. You may not want to buy the X4 enclosure with Infiniband connector. Good news: HighPoint is offering an alternative cable that goes from the mini-SAS connector to four eSATA connectors which allows you to use conventional 4 bay or 8 bay SATA enclosures with the RocketRAID 2322. However, if you have Port Multiplier boxes, the RocketRAID isn't for you. It does not support PM.

HighPoint doesn't support hot-swap in the traditional sense. You must use the browser based RAID manager to dismount the RAID set before you turn off the enclosure or remove a drive tray or disconnect a data cable. Otherwise you get a shrill alarm that continues until you shutdown the Power Mac.

It's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when using RAID 5 configurations. It's still important to have a well thought out backup scheme for your data. That's because, though RAID 5 can rebuild itself when a drive goes bad, it can't fix a corrupted directory or corrupt file. Furthermore, it's possible to corrupt a directory or file when rebuilding a RAID set.

Lloyd Chambers is about to release 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 used it to sample the speed of the beginning (empty) and end (full) of our RAID set using a 4GB test file.


BareFeats reviews the HighPoint RocketRAID 2314

BareFeats reviews the HighPoint RocketRAID 2320

BareFeats reviews the HighPoint RocketRAID 2224 and X4

BareFeats reviews the HighPoint RocketRAID 2220

BARE FEATS testing of the Sonnet Tempo E4P "port multiplier" PCI Express host adapter with up to 12 drives

AMUG tried out the DAToptic "Sbox" five bay PM enclosure. We plan to feature this box and the DAToptic eSATA_PCIe host adapter in a future article.

AMUG has done a great article on the Sonnet Tempo SATA E4P.

AMUG also looked at the Addonics Port Multiplier Upgrade.


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