HighPoint RocketRAID 620 indeed works for Hackintosh

Update [2011 Aug 6]: The original drivers appear to work just fine under Lion v10.7
Please see here for background on the “main PC = NAS” approach this hardware facilitates.
And here for my other Hackintosh tribulations with getting my old graphics card to work.
I’m very satisfied for a $60 part… the drivers loaded right up under both Win7 and OS X v10.6.6 (and 10.7 currently)
As a side note: This all works well in tandem with Parallels Desktop v6’s Boot Camp virtualization facility where I can dual boot into my one sole Windows 7 install natively or via a Parallels VM under OS X (I know VMware has something identical but from what I’ve read, Parallels still has the edge on performance).
The drivers on the install disc were up to date… and I’m taking it as a good sign that they haven’t found need to update them for over a year now.
Windows 7 Driver – currently: v1.1.9.1221, 12/21/2009
OS X Driver – currently: v1.1.0, 12/22/2009
There is the usual BIOS based boot time configuration screen you can pop into to manage your arrays.
And you can also install a management “Web GUI” … this is obviously driven by a mini web server that runs under your OS on a certain port… this is NOT plugging an ethernet cable into the RAID card itself… it is not that sophisticated… the whole thing is very bare bones, very old school but seems to have the basics covered (time will tell)… it’s loaded via an old Installshield style setup.exe that I recognize from the early 90’s … the web screens themselves are completely boring old school stuff which stands out in a bad way these days but truly, <ValleyGirlMode> whatevers </ValleyGirlMode>.
looking at the benchmark from CrystalDiskMark… those sequentials look respectable but I guess the other rates are pretty poor???
those specs are running the RocketRAID on these drives: Hitachi Deskstar HD32000 IDK /7K (2TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal)
image       image
The card itself is very miniscule… about 2.75″ inches square (see below)… it is a “1 lane” card (i.e. “X1” in the PCI-express common parlance)… but it is PCIe 2.0 so you absolutely want to put it in a 2.0 capable slot if you can and on my mobo that is a x16 lane slot… which “looks” like a waste but is totally fine for me because I’m not a gamer so I’m not using that secondary PCIe x16 slot for an SLI gfx card or anything useful anyway.
DSCF5030 - closeup
Checkout this last photo… I realized the RocketRAID card’s bracket alignment was off quite a bit (too short)… after installing, the card would slide itself loose of the slot… so much so that the mobo’s electric disconnect warning light for that slot came on… the bracket for my graphics card right next door doesn’t exhibit anything close to this height deficit so I’ve got to assume the RocketRAID is a bit out of spec… after scratching my head for a minute, the obvious solution that presented itself was to move the bracket under my case’s card stability rail… it seems like my Antec Skeleton’s card rail particularly lends itself to this approach… I wonder if a normal case’s bracket screw down area would ?
P1050814 - closeup

  • Anonymous

    Hey just found this blog post, just wondering as I'm considering this purchase only because I've just bought an OCZ Agility 3, wanted to know if you can boot into the mac side with the raid configured via Bios?

  • Apparently this card is not bootable under OSX.
    See this thread, there's some alternatives mentioned: http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=12375884&postcount=6

  • Anonymous

    I'm running a Hackintosh 10.6.8 and the card runs without any additional installed drivers. Purchased as an OEM card hence no CD. But your article mentioned a OS X v1.1.0, Driver. Is the driver needed? I couldn't find it here: http://www.highpoint-tech.com/usa_new/rr600_download.htm#

    Thanks for the tip on installing the 620 card in the PCIe x16 slot. Looks funny with the small card in the big slot.

    Thanks!

    John

  • I would say, if it works, don't mess with it… i can't remember clearly now, but i'm pretty sure my Highpoint volume didn't show up until i loaded the driver.

    What form of RAID are you running?… my mobo's built-in Intel Matrix controller would show my RAID1 as two individual drives under the Mac… that is pretty deceiving… if I were to then write-enable either of those drives via Paragon NTFS, etc, it would clobber the RAID1 sync status and force a complete rebuild if not total failure.

    I couldn't find the drivers anywhere on the various convoluted highpoint sites either! They seem to push slightly different models than this on their Mac pages… but all of those models lean more towards eSATA for some reason.

    If you want, just say the word and I'll upload the whole drivers disc i have when i get home from work tonight.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the quick reply Beej!

    I'm just using the 620 to add a couple internal HDs… no RAID… to my Hackintosh. I wasn't sure if adding the drivers would give me GUI access… probably not? If not then no need to upload the drivers. The 620 card was free with the purchase of a HD from Newegg. Was surprised it was plug and play.

    Thanks for the excellent info on your site too!

    Best,

    John V.

  • John, if you mean some kind of management GUI… there is a sad looking web gui that you can load up… i don't see it as being necessary… but i went ahead and threw up the Mac DMG in case anyone is curious: http://www.filesonic.com/file/1642487144/RR62x-mac-v110-091222.dmg

    Did they really give you the _RAID_ version of the 620 free with a drive? I think there is also a non raid version with the same number… That's pretty generous… that was a $60 item for me and most drives aren't much more than that… just curious, can you post a link to that deal?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the Mac DMG… like many Mac users before me I couldn't access the GUI. ( I did a search to find a solution but no joy… ran "SystemStarter start raidman" in terminal but no luck )

    There seems to be variations of the card. This is the card that came free with a Samsung 1.5GB HD… was one on NewEgg's 3-hour deal that is over now:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816115099

    Here's more info on the card: http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA_new/product_support_sata6.htm

    Further research reveals that the Mac is plug and play and no need for drivers. I would just use Disk Utility to set-up the RAID.

    Thanks! John

  • Ok that's the non-RAID 620 card… which makes sense that it's a free and doesn't require drivers. I've got the RAID 620 card with my drives in RAID1 and believe that's where the drivers become necessary. Of course, like you say, all OS's support software RAID so you could still go that route… I went with RAID implemented on the card rather than the OS so that volume would be readily mountable under both Windows 7 and the Mac. I wasn't sure what an OSX RAIDed volume would operate like under Windows. I also have MacDrive on the Windows side to directly mount Mac HFS volumes (great tool) so it might've actually worked.

  • Anonymous

    Ok that's the non-RAID 620 card…
    Oh originally the word RAID was in the title of the 620. Not sure when NewEgg deleted it. Anyway I'm really pleased with the card as I didn't have RAID in mind, I just wanted to install more HDs in my computer. Was plug and play and free didn't hurt!
    Best,
    John

  • Anonymous

    Quick question…

    Would there be a speed benefit to install a 6GB/sec SSD with the 620 card in the PCIe 2.0 slot? Or another words would there be a speed benefit over a 3GB/sec SSD or does the PCIe 2.0 slot hinder the full speed of the 6GB/sec SSD.

    Thanks!
    John

  • First, careful with your big B's and little b's when doing hardware math… B=Byte, b=bit, 1 Byte = 8 bits.

    PCIe 2.0 doubled the max *per*lane* from PCIe 1.0's 250MB/s to 500MB/s (= 4Gbps per lane).

    "Lanes" are important when looking at your PCIe slots and cards. These Highpoint Rocket 62x cards support PCIe 2.0 one lane (i.e. "x1") and therefore do represent a theorectical bottleneck of 4Gbps vs the full out SATA revision 3.0 6Gbps spec.

    To answer your specific question, the max numbers i've seen for sequential reads on contemporary SATA 6Gbps SSD's are not quite 400MB/s yet (3.2Gbps)… so we're squarely over the old SATA 3Gbps bar but still under the top end 4Gbps the 620 cards should be capable of… Anandtech.com's periodic SSD "roundups" are a convenient way to check the current state of the art at a glance.

    Now, by RAID0'ing two good SATA 6Gbps SSD's, one can readily contrive a scenario that bottlenecks on a one lane card like the RocketRAID 620… the next notch up in price/performance is four lane (x4) cards like the RocketRAID 640. That card would provide 16Gbps max theoretical which seems like more than enough overhead for several years worth of SSD sequential throughput evolution. Quick NewEgg price check… hmmm, a little stingy, $180 for the 640 vs $40 the 620… reminds me why i went with the 620… my needs were just RAID1'ing two big platter based drives, nowhere near pushing the top end.

    Lastly and perhaps most importantly, max top end throughput is actually a questionable goal. In my humble opinion, that whole top end frenzy is yet another sales hook whipped up by the marketing wonkers. If you read Anand's excellent SSD backgrounders, he repeatedly makes the point that *random reads*, not sequential, are what matter most when it comes to system responsiveness… i.e. the OS/App performance, which consumer sized/priced SSD's are currently most targeted for… like when our old HDDs chatter away during Windows boots. Random reads on even the latest SSDs are well below 100MB/s which is trivial for any contemporary controller. Max sequential throughput is more something to consider when moving lots of big files around… i'm hard pressed to think of typical usage where i do that… everything i can think of involves slower secondary media, so the SSD will never be the bottleneck anyway.

    Note: if one is interested in the economy of a 62x and wishes to include RAID as an option… make sure to notice the difference between "RocketRAID" and just plain "Rocket" while you're shopping around… the plain Rocket 62x's do not do RAID at all.

  • Pupin Coor

    Seems that highpoint changed the link in the chinese site, to some driver in the USA site that doesn't work… Could you please upload the driver you are using somewhere?
    Thanks

  • Pupin Coor

    The links are live, however the mac driver links to rr620c page on hptmac.com.cn, where the downloadable file currently seems to be "HPT-Quad-eSATA-mac-v100-100120.dmg", and not the v1.1.0 driver you are referring to. The HPT-Quad driver does not support the RocketRaid 620, so I'm quite certain that's not the driver you are using. Could you please confirm this and hopefully post the correct driver?

    Thanks,
    Pupin

  • @Pupin – You are right. Sorry about the misdirection there. Confirmed: The RR64x driver within the "HPT-Quad-eSATA…dmg" currently listed on HighPoint's own support page for this model did not work for me either. RR62x driver from the disc that came in the the box reupped.

  • Pupin Coor

    Thanks! now it works great

  • The link to driver for 62x is broken and its not available on official website. Please upload it to somewhere else.
    I need it very much

  • Anonymous
  • Tried everything – always the same – can't start web gui in mac os x.
    localhost:7402 – not found.
    tried under lion and snow leopard in 64bit and 32bit modes.

    may be there is something special I need to do?

  • i'll tinker when i get home from work and let you know… but to be frank, are you sure you care?? that ui is way ugly and i've *never* needed it… do the raid config from a typical bios screen and that's it.

  • I suppose I found the reason.
    Mine controller is Rocket620
    Not RocketRaid 620, but while booting BIOS says that it is RocketRaid and I can create Raids, but no reaction in Mac OS X

    The only difference that mine don't have one small chip, but the main chip its the same – Marvell ;(
    The rest is absolutely the same

    Be attentive when buying them

  • (This was posted by Kris but for some reason didn't show up)

    I just wanted to thank all of you for providing this info, I just purchased a RocketRaid 620 for use in my Hackintosh and was very pleased to be able to create a RAID 1 volume that both OSX (10.6.7 in my case) and Windows 7 can access! I figured I would outline my installation steps and some of the sacrifices I had to make so that future users searching the net would be able to benefit from my experience, minus all of the trial and error I went through:

    My Rig: Asus P8P67 Deluxe, i7 2600k, 8GB DDR3 1600, 10.6.8 (installed via the ^Andy^ guide available on insanelymac.com)
    Drives: 2xWD Caviar Blue 500GB on Intel Controller (the white SATA3 ports, one drive each for Windows 7 and Mac OSX), 2x3000GB Seagate Barracuda (on RocketRaid 620 in RAID1 mirroring mode), "Mac HFS+ Disk Support" driver included with ProTools 9 and 10.

    1. As I had read from other reviews, this card doesn't get along well with integrated RAID controllers, so I had to switch my onboard SATA mode from RAID to AHCI (normally this would be set to AHCI by default, but I had a RAID1 setup before this install).

    2. As an added precaution and because I didn't need them, I disabled the Marvel SATA3 controller as well via my motherboard's bios

    3. Installed the card in a free PCIe x1 slot, and by hitting (CTRL+H) at the RocketRaid startup screen, I successfully created a RAID1 array with my two Seagate Barracudas by first initializing them and then creating the RAID Array (I opted for 4k sectors as these are recommended by the manufacturer for these drives).

    4. After figuring out what needed to be disabled to boot past the RocketRaid screen (outlined above) I successfully booted into Windows 7, who prompted me that I had a new device to install. Since Windows update was unable to install the software automatically, I told the wizard where to find the drivers in the correct directory on the included CD-ROM).

    5. Once restarted, Windows successfully recognized the hardware. There are three new device manager entries, two under "Storage Controllers:" (HighPoint RCM Device and RocketRaid 620 SATA Controller) and one under "Disk Drives" (HPT DISK 0_0 SCSI Disk Device). Windows Disk Management shows the new 3TB disk, but I chose not to initialize it just yet as it would be formatted under HFS rather than NTFS.

    6. After crossing my fingers and praying to the powers that be allowed me to boot successfully into Snow Leopard this time, I ran the driver package posted on this page by user Anonymous (RR62x-mac-v110-091222.dmg) and restarted again.

    7. Success! Snow Leopard gave me a wonderful error message at startup that my new disk would have to be initialized before it could be used. I opened up Disk Utility and formatted the new 3000.5GB disk HFS+ Journaled, and dragged a nice large folder onto it as a test, with no hiccups.

    8. Now back into the Windows side… success again! Thanks to the Mac HFS+ Disk Support that Avid kindly installed for me with ProTools 9, Windows 7 is now able to read and write to the disk without any issue at all.

    Thats all for now, I'll post the results of some Crystal Disk Mark testing once I've completed them, as well as update on how well the card works under Lion once I upgrade the OS. Thanks again to the posters on this page for providing the knowledge/drivers that allowed me to complete this installation, and have a mirrored volume that both OSX and Windows 7 can recognize.

  • Anonymous

    what do you use if you need 12 or 16 2 t drives

  • Anonymous

    Does HotSwap work with this card under Hackintosh? My Mobo (MSI Z77MA-G45) supports hot-swap in the bios but I am having issues in OSX (Disks want eject) so a considering one of these cards – but hot swap is a must. Thanks

  • Off the cuff I can't provide any info. I wasn't in a hotswap interest scenario so I didn't try. I'm sure you see that the cards claim this basic ability but I can't confirm working or not under OSX. And it'll probably be too long before I can get back over there to try it. When I do boot that side back up, I'll try to remember and report back.

  • Anonymous

    much appreciated, thanks