Pros: As long as you read and follow the manual, StarTech's card provides additional SATA ports on Windows 7, 8.1, 10, and Server 2012 R2 systems. It is far from a perfect solution, but if your system is port-limited, adding a pair of internal or external ports is made simple.
If you are connecting traditional hard drives (i.e. not SSD drives), the port multiplier option may be useful. Transfer speed is limited by the x1 slot bandwidth, so connecting to a SSD or fast RAID 0 will not give the speed you expect. Than said, we haven't seen issues with drives mysteriously dropping or becoming corrupted.
Cons: The SATA III 6.0Gb/s is somewhat misleading. The card itself is SATA III capable. Unfortunately even a single SATA III SSD easily saturates the PCIe x1 connection. Attaching two SSDs is a waste of money. If, however, you have an extra hard drive and external enclosure or two around, this StarTech card gives more consistent throughput than a standard USB 3 connection along with lower CPU usage. If you use a UASP capable USB 3 enclosure along with Win 8.1 or 10, that blows this card away.
Overall Review: As other reviewers mention, read the manual. It's short, concise, and necessary. There are a few potential gotchas that you may face depending on your system and intended usage.
Pros: expands storage.
option rom loads fast, only adds a few seconds to boot time.
Cons: none if you know the limits going in, see other thoughts.
Overall Review: pci-e x1 lane means 400MB/s max sata transfers on newer pci-e revisions.
i needed this to expand storage on an old dell precision (intel 5000x chipset) with only pci-e 1.1 and transfers maxed out around 200MB/s.
Pros: Easy installation, drivers neatly labeled in folders, comes with a low-profile bracket, auto-detected by Windows 8, automatically plays well with esata port multiplier. With no change in other hardware, write speeds over esata are consistently 2-3 times as high as with an old Silicon Image Sil3112 chipset card.
Cons: Jumper function on card is not immediately obvious. Driver installer application threw an unclear error (but manual driver install through Device Manager worked fine).
Overall Review: Currently connected to a Sans Digital TowerRAID TR8M+B, after the card that came with it (Silicon Image Sil3112 chipset) started bluescreening 32-bit Windows 8, apparently with driver errors. The enclosure contains 6 drives (across 2 esata cables) merged into a single Windows 8 Storage Space.
Pros: Worked flawlessly, like a piece of hardware in 2013 should. I had to change some jumpers, but the manual was written in clear, correct English and it was easily done.
Cons: It looks like it could support 4 ports, but the manual says its either 2 internal or 2 external port, set by some jumpers.
Overall Review: You get what you pay for. I tried the Sy** controller card which was cheaper, but deceptively advertised, with a manual that defied the English language.
Pros: I got this card to add a little bit of life to my old X58 setup that I use for gaming and Photoshop. It was pretty easy to install: just set the jumpers to use the internal SATA ports, stick it into the case, connect the drives, and power on the PC. I set up two Sandisk Z400s SSDs on this card since they're my boot drives for Windows and Linux.
Before installing Debian onto the second SSD, I tested file copy performance in Windows 10. A 1 GB (= 1,048,576 kB) test file copied in just a few seconds. More precise testing with a 500 MB file in DiskMark revealed performance on par with the SATA 3 controller in my 2013 laptop. Random reads at 159 MB/s and sequential at 406 MB/s are what I call "good enough"; if they weren't, I'd be looking at a PCIe SSD. Ditto for sequential writes at 187 MB/s and random writes at 166 MB/s. The few Steam games I have on my SSD load faster, and my Photoshop seems to be more sprightly as well.
This card works great with older BIOS-based machines like my X58 motherboard (ASUS P6T Deluxe V2). I just thought I'd throw that out there for those of you not yet using a UEFI motherboard.
Cons: I really, really wish the eSATA ports worked alongside the internal ports. I don't have any eSATA enclosures or such, but that would be a good motivation to get some. Alas, I'll be sticking with USB 3.0. I also wish it was a two-lane PCIe card. With just one lane, you're limited to 500 MB/s read/write performance. Now my SSDs can't quite go that fast, but it's still a big letdown if you're writing to both SSDs simultaneously.
The banks of jumpers are kinda lame as far as setup goes, but the manual tells you what you need to know to set them up correctly. (Party like it's 1989!)
Overall Review: For the price, it's hard to do better, although all things considered, I'd opt for a 2- or 4-lane card if I had it to do over again. I'd also look for a card with 4 internal SATA ports rather than just two. If you're just looking to add SSD support to your older computer, this card is fantastic. (Not that your SSDs won't run on a SATA 2 bus -- they will -- but they'll saturate the bus and you'll lose half your performance.)
Pros: It works as advertised.
Very easy to install and set-up.
Cons: The only con I have for this unit is that when you start up your PC, in my case my HTPC, this starts up first to recognize attached drives. This is going to slow your boot-up time, even if you're using an SSD.
Overall Review: When I found out my HTPC's MB didn't support port multiplier I decided to use an add-on esata card that did support Port Multiplier so I could take advantage of the speed advantage of esata over USB 2.0. Yes, I know that USB 3.0 is faster than esata but, according to the reviews posted for the external enclosures I was looking at, USB seems to be somewhat unstable for that application.
Anyway, I used this to connect a Mediasonic Pro Box to my HTPC via esata and it works. I had no problems setting the card up. The drivers in the supplied driver disc worked fin.
Pros: Installation was smooth for W7 64 bit system. Plug and play detection and driver installation works well. Drives connected to internal sata ports are plug and play.
Asmedia 106x controller.
Cons: Sata (internal) or esata (external) determined by jumper settings. 4 ports total, but only 2 can be used at a time. This is well documented though.
Pros: Reversible connectors (you can switch internal to external via jumpers), small footprint for tight cases
Cons: Default jumper settings are for external connectors, so I had to switch one connector to internal to connect a new secondary HDD.
Overall Review: My 2007-era Dell Dimension E520 (running Win7 64-bit) had a dying 250GB hard drive (original Seagate), so with HDD prices being so low I thought I'd get clever. I bought a fast 300GB primary (WD Velociraptor) and a 3TB secondary (WD Red series for sharing).
The primary HDD worked great, but you probably already know what happened with the secondary--the 3TB drive only showed 746GB! Quick internet research revealed that my dinosaur PC needed a controller card in order to recognize the full 3TB.
After much searching and reading way too many bad reviews, I found this card. And it actually worked! Additionally, the drivers on the CD were the same on their website--when has that ever happened? So to make a long story short, if you have an older PC and want to add a larger HDD, do some homework and get a decent controller card. This one worked out perfectly.