HPT's RocketRAID 2340 under the spotlight
As mentioned before, the HPT 2340 card itself ain't nothing all that special to look at. It does include a heatsink for the main chipset and it is needed, it's not just there for looks. During our benchmarking and testing, the chip certainly does heat up but using the ever-so-reliable touch method, it wasn't too hot to touch - I would say on the north side of "warm". Nevertheless, during our time spent with the product, we never experienced any issues. If you do have any problems with the card, you'll be pleased to know there is a three year warranty, which is quite generous, although for the price a lifetime warranty would have been better in our opinion.
When it comes to storage capabilities and features, the RocketRAID 2340 really shines. You can hook up a total of 16 x SATA or SATA II hard disk drives using the four Mini-SAS to SATA cables, that's a total of four drives hooked up per cable. If your boss has given you a huge budget for building your company's next server, you could buy 16 x Seagate 7200.10 750GB drives and that'll give you a huge total of 12,000GB of data storage.
The feature list is huge (as you can see above from the HPT website) but we'll cover some of the main ones that are most important. It is powered by a PCI Express x8 slot which is needed, especially if you intend on using all 16 hard disk drives. The 2340 will work in a regular x8 PCI-E slot along with a full size x16 PCI-E slot but it will only operate at x8 electronically. Since it is fully SATA II compliant, each of the SATA ports offer up to 300MB/s of maximum data throughput and of course, older SATA drives will work just fine.
As far as RAID functions go, there are plenty of options with most of your possible needs covered. You've got plain old JBOD, RAID 0 for performance, RAID 1 for redundancy, RAID 5 for performance and redundancy, RAID 10 for even faster performance and redundancy as well as RAID 50 which is RAID 5 and RAID 0 mixed together.
Native Command Queuing or NCQ for support is on the features list along with the ability to monitor the hard drives via LED. You've also got the ability of staggered drive spin-up support and hot swap and hot spare functions for replacing drives without shutting down your system. There is 64-bit LBA support which allows you to create large partitions. S.M.A.R.T is another feature that is included which allows you to monitor the drives health inside your OS and if your RAID array happens to die and go to a better place, it supports automatic RAID rebuilding once you add in a new drive to your system.
As you can see, it pretty much comes with everything but the kitchen sink. It's easily the most advanced RAID controller we've ever reviewed and is sure to work well in important server environments. Now that we've finished looking at the package and the card itself, let's move onto installation.