Good basic pci sata/esata adapter for the price, works with linux
I bought this adapter after having some trouble with a quad-port rosewill card. I needed an esata adapter for use with a startech dual esata dock (satadock22ue). This is in a c.2003 ibm netvista desktop with no native sata ports that is now being used as a soho server running stock debian 5.0 (lenny). After the rosewill card had pci bus conflicts that were not resolvable with bios changes, i was a little worried about spending more money on a high-end card for this old machine. The sii 3512 chip appeared to have a reasonable reputation for linux support and for less than twenty bucks, this syba sd-sata-1e1i card seemed like a cheap bet. After the first one installed well, i bought a second adapter to connect to the second port on the external dock. There were no problems putting two of these cards in this machine. Due to my desire to keep os and data separate on this server, i am continuing to boot off of a pata drive connected to the mainboard and have not tested whether these cards handle boot drives well.As far as hotswapping when using the esata dock, my method has been to do the actual drive insertions and removals with the dock port powered off. Since the startech dock has physical power switches, i have not tempted fate by testing true hotswap with live ports. I as well manually spin the drives down (i.E. 'sdparm -c stop /dev/whatever') before power off to avoid unnecessary emergency head retracts. In all cases the stock lenny kernel has detected everything right and added and removed the device files exactly as expected on power-up and power-down.These cards have performed flawlessly with both internal and external sata connections. I replaced the main internal pata data drive with a 1tb wd caviar black and i've been running backups to and between various sata drives in the dock. After at least 10+ tb aggregate r/w through the cards i've had no problems at all. I am quite wary whenever doing bulk data transfers on consumer-grade hardware and all of these transfers have been md5sum verified afterwards. So i'm fairly confident in the above statement. That said, it's always a good idea to treat all hardware with suspicion when moving around large amounts of data.As far as performance goes, these cards are sata rev 1.0, don't support ncq, and as standard pci cards are limited in overall performance. They appear to as well be limited to udma/100, but this could be a linux driver thing. But for the price, they do fine. In my setup, with this fairly old machine, i can only get about 110mib/s aggregate no matter what combination of source/dest i'm using. On reads the wd cb 1tb drives seem to max out around 95mib/s with my config, slighly below their rated performance. However this represents about 2x performance gain over the built-in controllers and pata drives i was using previously, and about 3-6x better than external usb drives, so i'm not complaining at all! For my purposes, reliability always trumps speed at a given price.These cards have definitely breathed new life into this old computer.