Specifications, Pricing and Availability
As you can see, HighPoint has come a long way since the HPT370 found on the ABIT BX133. I was able to find quite a bit of information on their website and put it all together in the specification image above. As you can see, the RocketRAID Series now includes several enterprise class features and leaves the onboard controllers found on motherboards left wanting.
There are two closely related versions of the RocketRAID 600 Series, the 640 and 644. Both controllers feature four SATA 6G ports and their only difference has to do with the location of the ports. The 644 has external eSATA and the 640 uses internal SATA. The 640 that we are testing here today is the half-height controller that can be used in smaller rackmount servers easily.
The heart of the controller is the new Marvell 88SE9128 which is also the heart of the GIGABYTE X58A-UD7. The difference is that the HighPoint card is a PCIe plug in controller that can be moved to other motherboards as you upgrade systems. Hopefully the HighPoint optimized drivers are able to perform better than the GIGABYTE and Microsoft drivers.
Speaking of drivers, there is a huge debate going on in various SSD manufacturers forums over the Marvell drivers and their ability to pass along the TRIM command. In a point blank question to HighPoint I was told that the HighPoint 600 Series does pass along the TRIM command to the drives, even when used in a RAID 0 array. This is great news, but it is not the final say to the story at this time.
When it comes to the cost, Newegg already lists the HighPoint RocketRAID 640 as being in stock and ready to ship for 164.99 USD. This is less than the cost of most new motherboards with SATA 6G and much less than an enterprise controller.