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Highpoint e.SATA Kit V2.0 Review

By: Cameron Johnson | Accessories in Storage | Posted: Nov 6, 2003 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 8.0%Manufacturer: Highpoint

Features of the e.SATA Kit v2.0



First and foremost we have a look at the package and what Highpoint gives you in the way of value. The e.SATA kit v2.0 is in a blue box. This box shows you the two main components that make up the RocketRAID kit 2.0, this being the RocketRAID 1542 PCI host adapter and the RocketMate 1200. Unpacking the unit you get your RocketMate 1200 HDD enclosure unit, RocketRAID 1542 Serial ATA RAID adapter, 2 x 50cm Standard Serial ATA cables, e.SATA dual link cable, Universal AC to DC power supply adapter, Driver CD and user manual.



The host adapter is the RocketRAID 1542 PCI Serial ATA adapter. This baby comes with two internal Serial ATA ports for connecting up Serial ATA drives within the system to the controller card. It also has two external ports. What is most puzzling is that these ports are not new but simply four pin Firewire ports used to transfer the Serial ATA data. While you may say, it can't be, there are seven pins to a Serial ATA channel and there are only four data channels and three ground pins - the four pins are used for data and the external shielding is used to ground the terminal to the case itself. The chipset used is the Highpoint HPT374 four Channel RAID controller. It is the same one used for the RocketRAID 404 host adapter. This chip allows you to have four Serial ATA drives on the one controller chip with Marvel Parallel to Serial ATA converter chips.



As mentioned, Marvel conversion chips are needed to convert the parallel signals from the HPT374 to Serial signals needed for the Serial ATA drives to operate. Two Marvel converters are located below the two internal Serial ATA ports and two beside the external e.SATA ports.



This is where it all comes together. The RocketMate is Highpoint's new external enclosure for e.SATA. At the moment there are four different RocketMate enclosures, this being the fifth. All the previous enclosures were for single drives only, either Serial ATA or Parallel ATA, this is the first dual drive e.SATA enclosure. The unit is similar in design to Hot Swap RAID enclosures, that's partly because it is one. Being based on the Serial ATA technology, Hot Swapping of failed drives is permitted.


Located on the right hand side of the front drive access are two LEDS for each drive. The green LED indicates power status, the red LED is for disk activity - just like a front panel on your PC case - you always know what's going on. Above these are key locks. These lock the drives into the unit to prevent them falling out and switch the power on and off for insertion and removal.


The back of the unit is where all your access points reside. First off you have a standard DC in jack; this is where you plug the DC power supply into from the wall socket. This gives the system 12v power like your PC power supply does. Within the unit that 12v is split for the two drives and then converted to 5v for the 5v rail your PSU normally delivers to a hard disk drive. Beside the power port is a 50mm fan that revs around 2500RPM. This allows the drives to remain cool when in full operation, which is a must these days, and something which IBM made us all learn very quickly.


Beside this are the two e.SATA ports. These ports are simply 6 pin Firewire ports used to connect the e.SATA cables - and no, plugging in a Firewire card doesn't work, we tried.



Here we see one of the drive trays removed. This unit is designed to accommodate IDE drives. You simply plug the drive in and it goes from there.


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