Conclusion and Final ThoughtsConclusion
I was generally impressed with the HighPoint RocketRAID 4310. For its current blowout sale price of $229, it is one of the cheapest ways to get into a SAS capable RAID. The 8-port 4320 is an additional $170, and boasts a 1.2Ghz version of the IOP348 engine. While we did not bench the faster card, I would expect performance to scale with the increase in clock speed.
The interface is not as refined as many of its competitors, but it gets the job done just fine. While we were able to hit the bandwidth limit, future firmwares may bring additional speed as the HighPoint engineers take greater advantage of the IOP.
While the overall performance of this card may not be impressive compared to the Areca, consider the fact that the latter costs more than 3x the 4310. Since the 4310 has a faster processor on board, it should theoretically be able to surpass the tested Areca. HighPoint is likely working to further improve efficiency through future updates, and with proper effort they should be able to close the gap considerably. Taking the current throughput figures on balance, and figuring in the *very* low cost, the RocketRaid is a much better buy than the Areca. This is especially true if you will be using standard hard disks in a streaming / mass storage application.
With such a great price point, HighPoint is making an honest effort to get RAID into the hands of average users. I can’t think of a cheaper way to get into a 4-port hardware RAID setup.
- 800Mhz IOP348 overpowered for only 4 channels (plenty of overhead).
- Extremely low cost for enterprise-class features.
- Supports migration to array sizes *smaller* than the current array (but be careful!).
- Mini-SAS to SATA cable not included.
- Firmware/drivers are in need of additional optimization for throughput and small write performance.