Sometimes good things come in small packages. Sometimes bigger is better. In the case of RAID cards, bigger usually means more grunt...
The RocketRAID 2300 isn't particularly large but we doubt that it's the smallest card on the market.
Clearly visible at the bottom of the card is the PCIe-slot connector. The larger part to the left has the power connections for the card, while the smaller part to the right is for a single PCIe lane.
PCIe connectors have been designed in this way so that a one-lane card will fit in a 2x slot, a 4x slot and so on, while a 4x card will also fit in an 8x slot or a 16x slot - you get the idea.
So, if you have a free PCIe slot of any lane-width, the RocketRAID 2300 will fit into it.
The most prominent chip on the front of the card is a Marvell 88SX7042. This is a PCIe-to-SATA host adapter. What this means is that the 2300 is a PCIe native card - it isn't old PCI hardware with a PCIe bridge chip slapped on it.
However, in the absence of any special hardware abstracting the disks from the system, the CPU's going to be doing the RAID work.
Efficient use of both sides of the PCB is one of the reasons for this card's small footprint. The lack of an embedded XOR processor (used for parity calculations) and cache RAM are also contributors.
On the end of the card are four SATA connectors, stacked into pairs. They're located in what's arguably the best position for neat cable routing.
Also towards the end of the card are headers for disk activity/failure LEDs, suitable for chassis with removable disk enclosures.
There's also a jumper to enable/disable the card's beeper, which sounds - quite ferociously in fact - when something bad happens. Next to that is a header for connecting up an enclosure that's SAF-TE compatible.
The card is small enough to fit into a low-profile system, so HighPoint has provided a low-profile I/O plate, which can replace the standard-height one with minimal fuss.
Also included are four blue SATA data cables. These aren't of the ClickConnect variety, though, so can come loose if knocked.
A meaty manual is provided, along with a software disk that comes in an envelope outlining the license agreement; a delightful read.
All-in-all, a nicely-rounded package and a neatly-designed card.
Shame it goes a bit wonky when you come to install the software...