Articles: Storage

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As you may have already guessed from the name of the today’s article, we are going to discuss the new four-channel controller from Promise: FastTrak TX4300. The new model differs from the predecessor, Promise FastTrak TX4200, by faster data transfer rate between the controller and the HDD: 3Gbit/s (against 1.5Gbit/s by FastTrak TX4200, for details see our article called Promise FastTrak TX4200 4-Port Serial ATA RAID Controller Review ).

The controller is shipped in Promise’s brand name box:

But the controller card itself appeared very tiny, it is nearly half as big as FastTrak TX4200:

Unfortunately, the HDD connectors do not face the same direction, which can make it difficult to settle all the cabling inside low-profile (1U) servers. Above the chip there are connectors for hard disk drives activity indicators (individual as well as combined). There is a also a connector for the information cable of the SuperSwap 4100 chassis (this cable serves to monitor the rotation speed of the fan inside this chassis and HDD temperatures).

The controller is bundled with everything necessary: four SATA cables, power supply converter (which is becoming less required as there appear more power supply units with the corresponding connectors), the bracket used to install the controller into a low-profile system case, user’s guide and a CD-disc with the drivers.

The controller complies with the Serial ATA II Extensions to Serial ATA 1.0a specification and can support up to 4 Serial ATA hard disk drives (supporting up to 3Gbit/s data transfer rates).

Besides the Native Command Queuing Technology (NCQ), it also supports Tagged Command Queuing (TCQ).

The supported RAID array types are pretty standard: RAID 0, 1, 10 and JBOD. Since the controller can work in the 32bit/66MHz PCI 2.2 slot, the maximum possible theoretical bandwidth this controller provides is 266MB/s.

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