I'm extremely excited, for some very nerdy reasons. I've been modding one of my hackintoshes over the past couple weeks to create my vision of a perfect DIT computer. A part of that vision is hardware controlled RAID.
Doing some research, I found that the HighPoint RocketRaid 2720sgl was compatible with hackintosh systems. It has two miniSAS ports and only cost $150, which is an incredible deal in the world of RAID cards. The downsides to it - transfer speeds up to only 450mb/s, not a full RAID on a chip. The two miniSAS ports can be adapted to eight sata ports.
I installed with 4 internally mounted 3tb drives and 2 500gb drives I had laying around the house. That leaves two sata ports for a future hot spare and another drive. I configured the 4x3tb into a RAID5 giving 9tb of usable space. The 2x500 I put into a stripe config as a scratch disk, nothing valuable gets written to it.
On first boot, it was recognized immediately. I installed the web drivers for the another 2700 series rocketraid card that was mac compatible, and it was able to communicate and see the 2720 just fine. This gave me the ability to monitor the RAID from the OS, and set up things like email alerts when there are errors. I also disabled the speaker on the card, if you've ever heard a rocketraid alarm go off, it sounds horrible and frightening.
I did find a caveat to the card. When creating the RAID5 set in bios, or in the webui, you only get the option to "Initialize in background." This is very very slow. It took my computer 48hrs to fully initialize, leaving me unable to use the 9tb for two full days. I learned later if you initialize in Windows, you can cut that time down to 3hrs.
Another oddity is when first attempting to format in Disk Utility I received an error about a misconfiguration. It took me a while to figure out, but Disk Utility was defaulting to MBR, and MBR is an invalid selection for the RAID (no idea why). Changing it to GUID and formatting it fixed the issue.
I fired up my handy Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, and was very pleased with the results. 400mb/s read and 425mb/s write was more than enough for me, competing with the
I think the best comparison for what I've built here is the thunderbolt connected Pegasus R4. It costs $999, and gives you 6tb useable. It also achieves a higher write (500mb/s) speed and a lower read speed (350mb/s) and can be used with a laptop. All in all, mine cost $650, has room for a hot spare, has 9tb of useable data, and can be expanded.
I'm not saying ones better than the other, but it is nice that I was able to build comparable performance for 2/3 the cost.