Monday, February 27, 2012

StarTech has disappointed me (PEXESAT32)

So today I loaded what I thought would be a lovely dual-eSATA port HBA expansion card (StarTech PEXESAT32) into my system.  The results were anything but lovely.  

First up, by default, I could only see 3 of the 7 drives I have in my eSATA enclosure, and I had no idea why.  I couldn't get the Ctrl+M key sequence in BIOS post to work, and ultimately figured out that my Asus Motherboard BIOS was preventing that (updated to a newer BIOS and now I can enter the Marvell setup area). 

Once into the setup area, I could only see 3 HDDs (as was showing up in Linux and in the post messages).  Naturally my first impulse was to check for firmware and bios updates for the card (at the time showing BIOS v1.0.0.1029, Firmware  Sadly StarTech had none.  Did some quick googling and found a nice site ( the Marvell 912x cards and linking to updated bioses.  Now mind you, this chip is used in a lot of aftermarket cards like this one, so it was relatively easy to find another manufacturer (a better one because of it) that posted a DOS executable to install the newer BIOS & Firmware.  Next problem?  Why the hell in the year 2012 are we still relying on DOS.  Seriously gentlemen, get with the year 2000.  Linux should be defacto now. 

Anyway, I managed to pull together a bootable USB from the following instructions:

Then copied in the update bits from the IOSATA site:

Rebooted, and booted from my USB.  Ran the go.bat, and after a little bit, all was updated and rebooted.  Now running BIOS and Firmware  Good right?  Wrong.  Do difference to the problem. 

I see someone bought this same card and having the same troubles also, so I guess I have a crappy product on my hands again.

Also, I'm a bit suspicious about Amazon's removal of the original page for the product that I bought.  It did have customer reviews there and now only a Google cache view will work.  Original Amazon product page:

Don't buy StarTech PEXESAT32.  Don't support this sort of poor product development.

And in case anyone is wondering, I just looked around for another card maker.  Syba seems to be another one of those StarTech vendor:  Cheap in most aspects.  Their website is worse than most knock-off computer product sales websites, and their support side doesn't even list a wide selection of products they sell.  I guess they're off my list of potentials now as well.

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