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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 7 January 2012
Please ignore the negative review. Western Digital and Seagate are manufacturers of mechanical hard disks. These may well come with a Sata 3 6Gbps label, however this is just all marketing nonsense from the drive makers. A mechanical drive cannot saturate a sataII interface, let alone a sataIII interface.

He was receiving a score of 5.9 because without an SSD, Windows will not give you a higher score. It doesn't matter if he connected the drive to a sataIIII slot in the future, it still wont go any faster as he is limited by the drives... not the card!!

The card works great where it is supposed to be used... SSD's! If you have a SataIII SSD and don't have a compatible mobo. It's worth buying this as it does work and works pretty well!
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I purchased the excellent 'budget' Samsung 840 250GB SATA Solid State Drive for use with my wife's old MESH gaming PC fitted with a 5 year old Asus P5NE-Sli motherboard and a 3Ghz Intel 8400 core2 duo processor, running Windows 7 64-bit. However on installing the SSD I discovered that AHCI (Advance Host Controller Interface) isn't implemented on this motherboards 3Gbps SATA2 interface which will adversely affect SSD speeds, and I found the Samsung 840 drive ran significantly slower than similar ACHI enabled 840 SSDs in our other SATA2 PCs - with my quad Core2 PC's SSD running at 266 Mbps sequential read and 258 Mbps sequential write and my wife's SSD only achieving 133 Mbps and 110 Mbps respectively, as measured by CrystalDiskMark 3 disk benchmark freeware. In comparison our best Western Digital Black 1Tb mechanical SATA-3 HDD hard drive had sequential read/writes of 114 Mbps and 110 Mbps (although our older WD Green and Seagate HDD drives only achieved 20 to 50% of that respectively). However random read/writes of small 512k & 4k files was still 5 to 50 times faster with the SSDs compared to our hi-spec Western Digital 1Tb Black mechanical hard drives. So although the wife's SSD was still zippier than her modern Seagate and Western Digital mechanical hard drives, I felt things could be improved. Plus this StarTech PCIe card gives us two extra internal SATA3 ports in addition the four SATA2 ports already in use on the motherboard, and these could be set to RAID with identical twin hard drives.

Fortunately the Asus P5NE-Sli had a free 16x PCIe Sli (rev 2) slot which offers the theoretical 16x PCIe speed of 8 Gb/s and can take any size PCIe card. So I purchased this Startech 2 port SATA PCIe to use in that second 16x slot (note that a 1x PCIe slot on this rev.2 motherboard only runs at 500 Mbps (0.5Gbps), so this 6Gbps PCIe SATA3 card will struggle in lower x1 and x4 speed PCIe slots). Although technically using both 16x PCIe slots in the motherboard will drop the bandwidth to 8x on each slot, adding this SATA card didn't affect our NVidia 9600GT graphics card fps performance. Fitting the Startech card was easy after I bent the top of the rear plate slightly to prevent screwing the card in raising the rear of the card out of our PCIe slot. As others have said here, Windows 7 64-bit didn't recognise the SATA3 cards Marvel chip, but I simply downloaded and installed the driver direct from the product listing on StarTech UK's website and then the card worked perfectly. The card's twin SATA ports are quite a way from our hard drive bays, and my 12" SATA cable only just reached the nearest port (you may need a longer cable).

I was worried that the PC wouldn't boot from this StarTech PCIe SATA card, but the Asus P5NE-Sli motherboard BIOS recognised the Samsung SSD and allowed me to give it boot priority. The PC booted up from the Samsung 840 SSD and CrystalDiskmark now gave sequential read/writes of 207 Mbps and 160 Mbps respectively, an 180% and 145% increase over the speed via the motherboards own SATA2 ports, and not far off the SSD benchmarks in my AHCI enabled PC. Although this StarTech PCIe SATA3 card apparently has AHCI enabled, I couldn't get Windows 7 to activate it for the SSD, even if I temporarily deactivated the motherboards SATA ports, so the Samsung SSD still runs without AHCI enabled. I can access this PCIe cards BIOS using Cntrl-M at bootup, but I couldn't do much with a single SSD fitted (it's more for setting up RAID configurations).

As we got real speed gains that are noticeable in use, the card was relatively cheap at £30 compared the SSD and easy to get running, and it adds a useful extra two SATA ports, we are happy with both its performance and value, so 5*. However our increase in SSD read/write speed was largely due to the poorly implemented SATA2 interface on the PCs Asus P5NE-Sli motherboard and the availability of a free 16x/8x PCIe slot - SATA2 speeds on our other AHCI enabled older gaming PCs SSDs were faster than that achieved with this nominally 'SATA3' card in the 8x rev2 PCIe slot. Still this StarTech card also provides an extra two SATA ports that would be fine for optical and secondary mechanical hard drives, and it offers the option of RAID configuration with twin hard drives. Plus if you can get AHCI running with it, the cards read/write speeds will improve. This StarTech PCIe card was supplied in a simple cardboard box so it would be easy to return to Amazon if it didn't meet expectations.

Update Aug 2014: The Asus P5NE-Sli motherboard has NVidia chips for the system bus and the twin Sli 16x PCIe slots and the PC has an NVidia GT 9600 graphics card with 512Mb ram. When I tried to replace this GT 9600 with an Asus AMD Radeon HD 6670 Graphics Card with 2Gb graphics memory the new graphics card definitely interfered with the operation of this Startech SATA6 card in the second 16x PCIe slot. The BIOS kept resetting the boot order away from the SSD to the internal secondary hard drive and the PC couldn't boot up unless I went into the BIOS and changed the boot order every time the PC was started. Sometimes the SSD on this Startech SATA card was recognised in BIOS, occasionally it wasn't. Turned out the old NVIdia GT 9600 graphics was faster than the new AMD one anyway, so I bought a new fan for the old GT 9600 and returned it to the primary 16x PCIe slots and the PC has been working fine ever since. Seems like it was an AMD hardware and/or Windows AMD graphics driver conflict of some sort with the motherboards NVidia secondary 16x SLi slot.
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on 27 October 2011
For those who are limited to a 3Gb/s data transfer motherboard, this is a nice work around until motherboards with 6Bg/s come as a standard. Very easy to install, I inserted the card into a PCI-E 2.0 bus slot. Although the slot is larger then the connector itself, it will still function correctly as long as you make sure the connection is flush against the slot.

Load times are noticeably faster, and as the previous reviewer mentions, you will be limited to a 5Gb/s due to motherboard limitations. Still for the price, it's definitely worth every penny.

I recommend using two SATA3 drives and pair them up in RAID 0.
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on 14 March 2011
It works which is a good start! Things to note are; the instruction booklet states that Windows 7 will auto find the driver. Not true, when the card installs you will find device manager shows a device with exclamation mark against it. If you try to install the correct driver from the disk supplied, Windows will tell you it cannot find the driver. What you need to do is use the same driver to update the marvel driver found in Network adapters, and then all is ok. Also, the PCI Express bus is limited to 5Gps transfer so you will not be getting the 6Gps that the card is capable of. Whatever though because link a SSD or super fast SATA3 drive to this and you will still have a noticeably faster data transfer rate compared to your old SATA2 drives. It does what it says on the tin.
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on 20 December 2013
I've tried loads of these cards from different manufacturers, all claiming that they work with port multipliers (I have an 8 HDD DAS unit, so that's 2X 4 channel multipliers). But in reality, they can only handle the multipliers on one channel at a time. So can't run all 8 HDDs together. But this card actually runs both channels with the multipliers, and does it perfectly. So now I can run my 8 HDD DAS, and can use it as JBOD (which I do) or any available RAID configuration. On top of this, you can use it as extra SATA ports by simply switching the jumpers across the correct pins. Giving you a choice of 2X eSATA, 1X eSATA and 1X SATA or 2X SATA. Very good piece of hardware and a very reasonable price.
If I could, I'd give it 10 stars.
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on 24 February 2014
Installed onto a Windows 7 x64 Home Premium SP2 rig (all updates), installed drivers and rebooted. Installed four SSD's, ran AS-SSD bench to find throughput was 8MB/s, that's right 8MB/s!!!!

I contacted their tech support to be told "we don't understand why it's doing that, we'll forward the problem to our design team but we can't help you". I spent nye on a full day experimenting with different configurations, different cables and drives and no luck at all. I took the card to a different machine to see if it was a compatibility issue with my rig, but the problem persisted.

With a single drive the performance is spot on for Sata III, with a Crucial M500 240GB I received the advertised speeds of 480MB/s read 270MB/s Write.

Avoid this card at all costs, if you seriously need RAID look at an Adaptec SAS controller, yes they cost three times as much but they are reliable and work exactly as advertised and come with fantastic product support.
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on 26 March 2016
Bought the 4 port card to fit into my Dell T7500 workstation which only has a 1.5Gbps PERC6 RAID card. Previously was getting at most 125MB/sec on my SSD drive (even less on HDD) via the on-board cards, and I couldn't see the full size of my RAID disks so it was time for an upgrade.

After installing this card I am now getting 450BMB/sec on my Samsung EVO 850 (SSD), and 275MB/sec on a RAID 0 array of 2 x Western Digital 3TB Blue (HDD). Very happy!

One big problem I did have though was random lockups of the desktop and random corruption on the partitions hosted on the SSD (I am running SuSE Tumbleweed Linux). I tried different kernels, settings etc. and couldn't find a solution. The SSD worked fine with the on-board SATA controllers, the problem only occurred with the new card. The RAID 0 HDDs worked fine on both old controllers and the new one so I started to suspect that either the card was faulty (overheating), or just wasn't supported properly in Linux when running under heavy load. Then I suddenly realised that I was using the original SATA cables that came with the machine i.e. 10 year old SATA I cables. I quick trip to local PC store to buy some SATA III 6Gbps rated cables and all the problems were instantly fixed! The old cables clearly couldn't cope with the speed that this card can throw data around with an SSD.

Overall very happy with the card, and it works perfectly under Linux. Just make sure you aren't using rubbish cables!
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on 19 September 2012
This item is for those who wish to increase the amount of SATA ports in their computer. It slots into a spare PCI-E port (the short little one, not the graphics card slot or older PCI slot) and gives 2 x SATA 6gbps ports. It is fixed in place by one PC case screw or thumbscrew in the slot on the back plate. It takes seconds to put in and can only go in 1 way so it's fairly easy to fit.
I have used my item in 2 different computers to connect more SATA devices and it worked flawlessly with both systems (1x Core2Quad and 1x i7, both Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit)
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on 29 October 2015
Driver crashes under load taking all connected drives offline. Won't come back without reload.
Really useful if you want to never get anything done.
Card may be a Ferrari but I can't tell because the donkey driving it keeps crashing.
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on 14 January 2016
Bought this to use with my Microserver Gen 8 as it doesn't support 6GB/s on the internal ports for all of the drives. Also wanted to connect my SSD using full speed SATA!

I've tried similar products from different manufacturers, most have performed poorly or caused other issues this has just worked out of the box and no problems running windows 8.1. I am using it to power the storage for my home server and the disk performance using this and western digital red hard drives is fantastic. Very good piece of hardware and a very reasonable price. I have no hesitation in recommending that you buy this!!!

I think its a must have for every Microserver Owner (Gen 8)
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