HighPoint RocketStor 5322 Review

ccokeman - 2013-01-29 18:33:49 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: February 15, 2013
Price: 5322 $119.99, 642L $109.99

HighPoint RocketStor 5322 Introduction:

File sizes continue to grow with the proliferation of devices that boost the pixel counts, ergo ultimately the file size. Sixteen (and higher) megapixel DSLRs and digital video cameras that shoot in 1080p are the norm rather than the exception. Our music and movie collections continue to expand with a myriad of ways to download the content. Add in increased backup file sizes with the latest operating systems and you get tons of data that needs to be stored somewhere on a drive or series of drives. Many of us choose to use an external drive to store our treasured memories and system backups, but tend to gripe about the length of time it takes to complete the process. HighPoint has an answer to that conundrum with the introduction of its RocketStor 5322; the first dual eSATA 6Gb/s storage dock on the market. Sure, you can get dual USB 3.0 performance in the RocketStor 5122B that supports dual USB 3.0 5Gb/s engines, while the 5322 supports dual eSATA 6Gb/s engines for a total of 12Gb/s worth of bandwidth.

As an external dock that supports a pair of SATA 6Gb/s 2.5 or 3.5 inch form factor drives, it is vendor agnostic and can be used with a PC as well as a Mac. With two ports or docks, the RocketStor 5322 can support single or dual drive configurations including RAID configurations when used with a dual eSATA-equipped add-in PCIe card such as the RocketRAID 642L that Highpoint sent along with the 5322. Priced at $119, the 5322 comes in the door with a price premium but if the performance can back up the pricing than it is a win all around.

HighPoint RocketStor 5322 Closer Look:

The packaging for the HighPoint RocketStor 5322 and RocketRAID 642L features a wealth of information across all facets of the boxes. The front and lid of the RocketStor 5322 show an image of the docking station stating that this is the world's first dual 6Gb/s eSATA storage dock supporting SATA 3Gb/s and SATA 6Gb/s standards for both PC and Mac. The right panel shows how the drives can be configured in the 5322 with several combinations of 2.5 and 3.5 inch form factor drives. The contents of the package are listed with the power cord included marked to the right. As a global company, it has power cord considerations for many countries. The back side points out the benefits of using a dual dedicated 6Gb/s eSATA storage solution for either single drive or multiple drive RAID setups. The left side lists the product specifications and warranty/support information with a link to HighPoint's web site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HighPoint packs the 5322 well enough to prevent damage during transit. I found no damage internally to the 5322 or the accessory bundle. What you get for your $120 is the RocketStor 5322 dual eSATA dock, the instruction manual, a power supply and cord, and a pair of one meter long eSATA cables to attach the docking station to the RocketRAID 642L.

 

The packaging on the RocketRAID 642L is configured similarly with an image on the front with the basic specifications listed with a more detailed listing on the rear panel. I'll dig more into the feature later on.

 

 

HighPoint's RocketRAID 642L is part of the 600 HBA series of PCIe storage solutions. The RocketRAID 642L is a PCIe device that supports up to four point to point SATA 6Gb/s drives with two internal SATA 6Gb/s headers and two external 6Gb/s eSATA headers for use with external docking stations such as the RocketStor 5322 I am looking at today. Built around the Marvell 88SE9235 controller, this device can support up to 20 devices when a port multiplier is used. RAID 0, 1, 5, 10, and JBOD configurations are supported. A low profile bracket is included for use in small form factor chassis. Combining the 642L with the RocketStor 5322 is a natural way to get the highest performance out of the docking station if your system does not have native, dual eSATA 6Gb/s connectivity.

 

 

 

HighPoint's RocketStore dual eSATA looks to be able to provide all the bandwidth you would need to transfer your data to an external dock at speeds that mirror an internal drive setup run on through an onboard Marvel controlled set of drives.

HighPoint RocketStor 5322 Closer Look:

Taking a look at the 5322 on its own is a short trip around the dock. From the front you have the RocketStor logo with the transfer method to the top right. The left and right hand sides are void of connectivity while the top and rear views are where all of the interesting parts are. On the top of the RocketStor 5322 are a pair of SATA 6Gb/s drive sockets that are capable of using both 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch form factor disk drives. The drive socket covers flip down to accommodate either size drive. Along the top of the dock at the front is the power button power LED combo. To the right are the buttons used to eject the disk drives out of the drive sockets; eject one out of the socket while powered up and the RocketRAID 642L will let you know as it screams in protest. To the left side of the dock are the drive activity lights for each drive socket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connectivity options for the RocketStor 5322 are limited to, as might have guessed by now, a pair of 6Gb/s capable eSATA ports that can be connected to a PC or Mac via the included one meter long 6Gb/s eSATA cables. The drive is backward compatible with eSATA 3Gb/s devices with a reduction in overall bandwidth capacity. By pairing the RocketStor 5322 with the RocketRAID 642L the 5322 will deliver up to 12Gb/s of data throughput. To the right of the eSATA connections is the power supply port that connects to the Channel Well Technology-built power brick to deliver the 12v DC current needed to power the 5322.

 

 

Installing disk drives into the RocketStor 5322 is as simple as it gets. Line up the drives data and power connections, firmly push the drive into place to seat it, and you are done with that part of the process. By supporting both 2.5 and 3.5 inch form factors the dock supports the widest array of drive options. Each of the dual bays can be accessed independently at speeds that truly approach what you would see with the drive mounted internally and run off a SATA port integrated into the motherboard. Additionally you can run a RAID configuration using a pair of identical drives or JBOD configurations with a pair of different drives.

 

Without the configuration tools the RocketStor 5322 is going to need some help running a RAID set. Let's look at the tools available to the end user to set up the operating parameters of the RocketStor 5322.

HighPoint RocketStor 5322 Closer Look:

If you want to only use the RocketStor 5322 as a dual dock with a single drive, then that's great and is a configurations it can easily handle. Pop in a second drive and still no problems. Where it gets more involved is when you are using the RS 5322 with one of HighPoint's 600 series HBAs, in this case the RocketRAID 642L in a RAID configuration. After the system boots, the HighPoint storage BIOS starts up. By using the Ctrl-H command you gain access to the RAID BIOS where there are six functional areas to use. Create and Delete are used to either create or delete a RAID array. Add and Remove are used if you have additional drives installed onto the RAID card and want to remove it from the array. Settings is used to choose the array as a Boot device. View is used to look at the curent configuration while Initialize is used to prepare drives for use in the RAID array.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HighPoint has an additional option for drive and RAID array setup if working in the RAID BIOS is not to your liking, with an online application that allows much of the same functionality but with an easy to use GUI. In fact you get even more functionality by using the web-based GUI. After logging in with a default password you can access the software. The global view page shows whether or not you are using one of HighPoint's HBA products and the capacity of the drives installed in the RocketStor 5322. The Physical tab allows the user to look at information on the installed controller and again the devices attached to it.

 

 

The Logical tab is where the RAID Array can be set up, and the spare drives on the 642L managed and viewed. The beeper mute function proves to be a valuable addition to the software. The Setting section includes options for rebuilding a RAID array and the ability to setup email notifications for system notifications.

 

 

 

The Event tab keeps track of event notifications providing a way to diagnose any drive or HBA-related errors. SHI or Storage Health Inspector provides the SMART data for the installed drives and allows a drive shutdown temperature to be set to keep mechanical drives from overheating. The Recover list lets the user recover a RAID partition. The Help tab provides a link to HighPoint's online support systems and a link to register your product to take advantage of the one-year warranty.

 

 

With drives installed it's time to see if the dual eSATA capabilities of the RocketStor 5322 can deliver groundbreaking performance for an external storage system.

HighPoint RocketStor 5322 Specifications:

RocketStor 5322

Enclosure Interface :
SATA 3.0 ( SATA 2.0 compatible) to eSATA 6Gb/s / 3Gb/s compliant
I/O Ports :
2 x eSATA 6Gb/s ports
SATA Hard Drive Compatible :
2.5" and 3.5" ( SATA 3.0 and SATA 2.0 Compatible)
Solid State Drive Compatible :
2.5" ( SATA 3.0 and SATA 2.0)
Interface Transfer Rate :
Up to 6Gb/s per bay
HotSwap and HotPlug Compatibility :
Yes
LED Indicators :
Individual Power and Active LEDs per each drive slot
Power Button :
Yes
System Requirement :
Computer with eSATA ports or Standard eSATA PCIe RAID Cards
Material :
ABS Plastic

HighPoint RocketRAID 642L

Host Bus Interface
PCI-Express 2.0 x 4
Number of Device Ports
4 SATA Ports
6Gb/s SATA Controller
Marvell 88SE9235
Connector Type
2x SATA / 2x eSATA
RAID Level
0,1,5,10, JBOD
Form Factor
Low Profile
Board Dimensions
3.12'L x 2.64'H
Alarm/Buzzer
Yes
Activity/Failure LED
Yes (internal ports only)
Port Multiplier
Up to 20 SATA devices

HighPoint RocketStor 5322 Features:

RocketStore 5322

 

 

Allinformation Courtesy of HighPoint Technologies @ http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA_new/series_rr600-management.htm

HighPoint RocketStor 5322 Testing:

Testing of hard drives and external docking stations can be done in several different ways. Testing will be completed with the Z77-based system listed below, alongside a fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit that is updated to SP1 and fully patched as of the date of testing. The latest Intel Rapid Storage technology drivers and software have also been installed. All tests are conducted with the drives connected to a native eSATA 3Gb/s port on the motherboard and through the Highpoint 642L using both a single and dual eSATS 6Gb/s ports on the 642L HBA. In an effort to eliminate any possible bottlenecks with performance all tests are run in the same order with the same test sequences.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Dock:

 

Benchmarks:

  1. PCMark 7
  2. HD Tune 4.60 Pro
  3. Crystal Disk Mark
  4. SiSoft Sandra 2013
  5. ATTO Disk Benchmark
  6. 5GB File Copy
  7. RAID Test

HighPoint RocketStor 5322 Testing:

PCMark 7: In this test I will be running the secondary storage test to gauge the performance of the storage docks in real world usage scenarios. Each drive is run through the entire secondary storage suite with results compared across the product tested along with a comparison suite.



 

 



 

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In each of these tests it's easy to see how well the RocketStor 5322 does compared to an internal drive.

HighPoint RocketStor 5322 Testing:

HD Tune 4.60 Pro measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers. In the 4.60 Pro version, the user can measure not only drive performance as a whole, but also run more precise file and random access benchmarks as well.

Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crystal Disk Mark 3.0: Crystal Disk Mark is a hard drive benchmark designed to measure the read and write speeds of drives by using 4k blocks, 512k blocks, and sequential data. For the test, we chose the 1000MB option.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again the RocketStore 5322 provides excellent throughput via its dual 6Gb/s eSATA connections.

HighPoint RocketStor 5322 Testing:

SiSoft Sandra 2013: SiSoft Sandra is a diagnostic utility and synthetic benchmarking program. It allows you to view your hardware at a higher level to be more helpful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atto Disk Benchmark v2.47: Atto Disk Benchmark is another aged, but good hard drive benchmark utility designed to test read and write speeds for different file sizes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

File Copy Test: In this test I have compiled a five gigabyte folder of mixed file types that is transferred from the internal solid state drive to the drive installed in the RocketStor 5322.

 

For an external dock HighPoint's RocketStor 5322 delivers on the promises made by HighPoint, with only an SSD mounted to an Intel motherboard header being faster. That says a lot for the abilities of the RocketStor/RocketRAID combination. Transferring data to a single installed hard drive is almost 50% faster than transferring the same data via an USB 3.0 interface.

HighPoint RocketStor 5322 Testing:

The ability to use the RocketStore 5322 in a RAID configuration to further drive the performance curve higher for you spend dollar. To that end I am testing the RocketStor 5322 in a RAID configuration to see just how high the disk drive performance will scale when run through our test suite. I will be using a pair of Corsair SSDs and a pair of Seagate Constellation drive as the drives of choice for this comparison. The tests employeed ar the time of the test will be CrystalDiskmark 3.0 and SiSoft Sandra's work load.

RAID testing: CrystalDiskmark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Single Cable test 3Gb/s vs. 6Gb/s

 

Physical Disk test

 

 

File System test

 

In each of these tests the implementation of HighPoint's dual 6Gb/s standard has paid off with higher transfer rates effectively giving the end user the ability to save more time writing DATA to the drive.

HighPoint RocketStor 5322 Conclusion:

When you pair the HighPoint RocketStor 5322 up with the RocketRAID 642L PCIe HBA, it's tough to find an external storage system that will deliver the performance numbers the RocketStor 5322 is capable of. In just about every test the only configuration that would eclipse the numbers by the HighPoint combo is when the storage drives were mounted internally to the native Intel 6Gb/s headers. By delivering a product of this caliber, the end user can significantly reduce the time it takes to run back ups or just move data from an internal drive to one mounted in the RocketStor 5322. In some of the tests the RocketStor 5322 delivered better performance numbers than the internally mounted drive by way of the higher throughput of the dual eSATA connectivity.

Performance wise you cannot go wrong with this dock and add-in card. The few opportunities I saw were that when packed full of 4TB drives, the drives just were hot during operation, so much so that a fan was required to keep them cool. Alternatively you could set the safety temperature in the web GUI as a way of reducing the temperature. Sold state drives did not heat up nearly as much. Configuring a RAID set with either the BIOS on the RocketRAID 642L or an easy to use step-by-step web GUI makes installation a snap.

Pricing is going to come in on the high side when you include the RocketRaid 642L controller. The RocketStor 5322 is going to set you back about $120, with the 642L a little further down the scale but not much at $109. That's about two and a half Benjamins all told. A steep price to pay for sure but what's your data really worth? A warranty of one year is included and is on the short side for the current dynamic in the DIY computer space. Even when you count the warranty out, HighPoint's RocketStor 5322 is a rocking piece of hardware that delivers awesome performance for your dollar.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: