Expo: FirmTek previews several port multiplication products

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FirmTek announced several new products and capabilities supporting port multiplication for next-generation SATA and RAID applications at Macworld Expo, including the SeriTek/2SE4, the SeriTek/2ME4-E, and the SeriTek/5PM. In addition, FirmTek also announced port multiplication support for earlier FirmTek controllers.

The new offerings provide high-performance Serial ATA connections for up to 20 drives on as few as four eSATA ports. With the latest drives providing transfer rates as high as 3 gigabits per second, potential aggregate speeds beyond 700 megabytes per second are now possible. This speed and capacity allows streaming of multiple uncompressed high definition video streams, and can support applications in video production, photography, and archiving, as well as other activities involving large media or image files. In addition, FirmTek’s hot-swap compatibility makes it possible for users to move entire drives and arrays between any FirmTek-equipped systems, or into secure storage.

The SeriTek/2SE4 is compatible with both PCI-X and PCI bus architecture systems, with optimal performance on PCI-X systems like the Mac. FirmTek says the SeriTek/2SE4 is the only SATA controller card offering full boot capability, allowing fast RAID configurations to include system operations. Four hot-swappable external SATA II ports enable individual drives or RAID arrays via built-in OS RAID 0/1 software.

The SeriTek/2ME4-E is compatible with PCIe (PCI-Express) bus architecture systems, including the Dual- and Quad-Core G5 Macintosh and the new Mac Pro. FirmTek says it’s the only controller that allows volumes to boot on a Dual- or Quad-Core G5s. FirmTek also notes that the SeriTek/2ME4-E is not bootable on Intel-based Mac Pros at this time, though it plans on looking for a solution. Four hot-swappable external SATA II ports enable individual drives or RAID arrays via built-in OS RAID 0/1 software.

The SeriTek/5PM has several new enhancements, including full support of port multiplication. Enclosed in an aluminum case, the SeriTek/5PM offers several other design elements intended to deliver security and reliability. It features a front-panel power switch that carries a multi-second delay to prevent accidental power-down—a feature requested by many users, according to FirmTek. The temperature management system features two ultra-quiet fans with three user-selectable speeds, a fault LED, and a mutable temperature and fan failure alarm. While optimized for use with FirmTek controllers, the SeriTek/5PM will work with any controller that follows the eSATA II port multiplication design specification. FirmTek employs a server-class power supply as standard equipment.

The SeriTek/2SE4 will sell for $199.95 when it ships in late February. Prices for the SeriTek/2ME4-E and SeriTek/5PM have not yet been set; both are expected to ship in late March.

FirmTek has also announced that two controllers already shipping—the SeriTek/2SM2-E for MacBook Pro models and the SeriTek/2SE2-E for Dual-Core G5 models—already support port multiplication on enclosures like the SeriTek/5PM. Users need only connect these cards to compatible enclosures to enjoy the benefits of port multiplication.

This story, "Expo: FirmTek previews several port multiplication products" was originally published by PCWorld.

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