HighPoint ships first 6Gbps SATA controller card

HightPoint introduces the first SATA 3.0 add-in controller cards for desktop computers.

The new Rocket 622 and Rocket 620 SATA 3.0 controller cards from HighPoint. HighPoint

In September, Seagate made the first 6Gbps SATA hard drive available. The new Seagate Barracuda XT hard drive offers twice the throughput speed of existing popular 3Gbps SATA hard drives. Now you're about to get the chance to take advantage of the new drive's performance with your current PC.

HighPoint, which makes controllers for storage devices, announced Monday the availability of the first SATA 6Gbps (or SATA 3.0) host adapters, the Rocket 600 series, which are based on PCI-Express 2.0 technology.

SATA 3.0 is the next generation of the SATA storage standard. Currently most computers use the second generation of this standard, the 3Gbps SATA (or SATA 2.0). At its full potential, the SATA 3.0 standard could theoretically transfer entire contents of a CD (about 800MB) in just one second. According to HighPoint, its new controller cards, however, offer the sustained speed of up to 500MBps.

HighPoint's new series of controller cards comes in two versions, the Rocket 622 that offers external eSATA connections to 6Gbps hard drives and the Rocket 620 that adds the higher-speed SATA to a computer's internal storage. Both of them, however, require an available PCI-Express slot inside the computer. You need the Rocket 620 if you want to install an operating system on the new and faster SATA 3.0 hard drive.

The two add-in controller cards are fully compliant with the Advanced Host Controller Interface (or AHCI) standard. They can also be installed in PCI-Express 1.0 slots and are backward compatible with previous generations of the SATA standard (the 1.5Gbps SATA 1.0 and the 3Gbps SATA 2.0). This means you can use them with any existing SATA-based hard drives and solid-state drives, other than the new 6Gbps SATA Barracuda XT from Seagate.

The new controllers are available this month. The Rocket 620 is slated to cost $70, while the Rocket 622 costs another $10.

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