I just installed the card and didn't install any drivers. It seems to work as an HBA (host bus adapter). As far as I can tell, software RAID is better than fake-RAID. I have a RAID0 on it that I configured using
mdadm (software RAID). The RAID0 was already configured before I added the rocketraid card, and I didn't have to do anything else after that. Essentially, I am using the Rocketraid to add more SATA ports.
I am booting from a separate SSD, so perhaps that makes the switch easier, however I did have some issues with booting. I have two SATA controllers on my motherboard, and with the Rocketraid card installed, I can boot from a disk connected to the Rocketraid or from a disk on the Marvell SATA controller. Of course the SSD takes a performance hit with the Marvell SATA controller (540 GB/s vs 400 GB/s read speed), so I just switched the SSD to the Rocketraid and it boots just fine. Once booted, I can see and use drives on the on-board (non-Marvell) SATA controller.
For what you want to do, my free recommendation would be to get the Rocketraid 2720SGL and two SAS/SATA cables so that you will have 8 SATA ports total. There are certainly other cards out there, but the 2720 has two main advantages - SATA III/6Gb/s and PCI-e x8. Most other "cheap" cards out there are x1.
Edit: Now I'm having issues with booting from my startup up disk, which is connected to the controller. I think this is because I added disks after the OS was installed. I seem to remember something buried in a readme file about that.
At any rate, I decided to install the drivers: here's what I did:
Download the webGUI for linux and the open source drivers. I used the generic Linux drivers. http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA_new/CS-PCI-E_2_0_x8_Configuration.html
To install the drivers,
untar the source and navigate to the rr272..blah..product/rr272x/linux folder. There is a readme me along the way, so might as well read it. In the linux folder, the usual
make install will build the drivers. You might need build-essential and a few other packages (
apt-get install build-essential). There was an error about not finding rr272x_2x, but it seems ok, the driver is rr272x_1x.
Now to install the webGUI, unzip/untar/unpack the webGUI from the website. This is an rpm package so use alien to un-rpm it and convert it to a deb package:
alien rr272..blah..$ARCH.rpm. Choose the one appropriate for your architecture type (32 bit versus 64 bit). This will spit out a deb package, which you can install with
dpkg -i blah...foo.deb (
apt-get install alien, if you don't have it already)
Now reboot, cross your fingers, and short to ground.
Once rebooted, open a terminal and set up the driver for htpsrv to use. This is detailed in the readme file,
echo rr272x_1x > etc/htpcfg
now start the server by typing
hptsvr in the terminal. You should see fireworks, hear bells and whistles, and be generally underwhelmed by the lack of output. Next, go to your open-source browser, such as Firefox, and navigate to localhost:7402. You might have to substitute an ip address instead of localhost. -u RAID -p hpt You can flash the BIOS via the webGUI too, but I found this out after I went through all the trouble of creating a Freedos USB disk.