Buyer Beware: Roline's $10 cable can cause $1100 in damage
8/13/2009 by: Theo Valich
In my 19 years of experience with personal computers and 10 years of being a hardware reviewer, I have never experienced that a cable would cause the death of two connecting components. But as they say, there is always a first.
This cable (note the buldge on the SAS port) fried two precious components of our testing setup
This time around, the honor of killing a 600GB Cheetah 15.7K SAS drive and Intel's DX58SO "Smackover" motherboard goes to Roline's "SAS to Dual SATA" adapter. We had two Seagate Cheetahs and decided to connect them to a SATA-equipped motherboard to check if RAID0 and RAID1 would be possible on a dual-SATA connector, e.g. enjoying the full speed of these SAS drives on a SATA motherboard.
According to numbers achieved on an SAS motherboard, we expected to comfortably bottleneck the ICH10R Southbridge chip in the same manner two Solid State Drives would [Intel's Southbridge chip is capped at around 450MB/s].
But thanks to Roline's 11.03.1065R cable, we were unable to do that. Roline is a brand of Rotronic AG, a Swiss-based company with a tag-line "Designed for Professionals" using manufacturing facilities in China. Sadly, this time around Roline designed and manufactured a quite expensive [$11] cable that burned over $1000 of equipment and pushed our reviewing schedule back. The 600GB version of the Seagate Cheetah 15.7K is called the fastest hard drive in the world, and seeing it in action - we sorta agree to these claims, since it can even challenge Solid State Drives at a higher capacity. But with the price of 820 dollars, seeing this drive going in flames with Intel's DX58SO motherboard (around $240) meant that we are down by almost 1100 USD.
At first, it started off ideally - we purchased two Roline SAS to Dual SATA Cables, connected two drives into the DX58SO motherboard and turned the system on. The moment we booted the system, the temperature in the cable sparked through the roof and we felt a heatwave going around the system. Even though we switched off the power supply within two seconds after the boot, the damage was done. SAS Cable
During our analysis, we concluded that Rotronic AG miss-manufactured this cable, and the power from the Molex cable was routed directly onto the second SATA cable, where it made a burst and melted the plastic on the connector itself, SATA cable on the Roline cable, and melted power and data connectors on the Cheetah 15.7K, and fried a SATA port on the motherboard, rendering it useless. This small manufacturing mistake resulted in quite unfortunate damage and a loss of our testing data [we were in RAID0 part of testing]. We are waiting on new components to continue the testing, and you will see the first article coming next week.
But seriously, we did not expect that a cable is going to be miss-manufactured in a way that power would route from the Molex connector to the SATA port and fry everything up. The other drive, thanks heavens - works perfectly with Roline's SAS to Dual SATA adapter.
Roline's 11.03.1065R, Roline SAS to Dual SATA cable, Seagate Cheetah 15.7K, Intel DX58SO, Rotronic, Rotronic AG, Roline, Designed for Professionals, Seagate, Seagate Cheetah 15.7K, Cheetah, Cheetah 15.7K, Intel, Intel Corporation,
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