updated 07:00 pm EDT, Fri September 23, 2011
Bypasses SATA 2.0's 3Gb per second limit
Computers with older SATA 2.0 (three gigabits per second) speeds and a PCIe 2.0 expansion slot can now overcome the built-in limitations of their drives and achieve over 4GB per second possible throughput using one of the two new MaxPower RAID mini-SAS card models in RAID 0 mode. The mini-SAS setup allows four separate channels of data, making it possible to configure up to eight eSATA or mini-SAS external enclosures. Both cards feature two mini-SAS ports.
The MaxPower RAID mini-SAS 6G-2e card offers two external ports, while the 6G-1e1i card has one external port and one internal port. The cards support SAS Expander, allowing up to 128 SAS/SATA devices to be connected, and also supports multiple levels of RAID -- including 0, 1, 5, 10, 50 and two JBOD configurations (span and individual drive modes).
Both cards have an automatic passthrough that lets a connected drive talk to the OS immediately without needing to initialize it first, allowing users the ability to hot-swap singled non-RAIDed drives in and out easily. The card also sports its own browser-based RAID manager interface, including a Storage Health Inspector that can monitor and set up reports on the activity of the array drives -- even via e-mail.
The cards both sell for $280 each via Newer Technology's distributor, Other World Computing, and include a three-year warranty. The models work with Intel Macs running OS X 10.5 or later, or PCs using Windows XP or later. The card does not support Boot Camp Windows configurations using XP on Macs, but is compatible with Vista or Windows 7 setups.