Wiebetech RTX400-SV / Silicon Image eSATA on Snow Leopard

Today, I discovered that my [Wiebetech RTX400-SV][rtx400] 4-bay external eSata enclosure / [TeraCard TCES2-0][teracard] PCIe 2-port eSATA card combo doesn't work with Mac OS 10.6.1 Snow Leopard. I use the TeraCard card as an interface to the RTX400 for port-multiplied SATA. It worked perfectly in previous versions of Mac OS X, but fails craptastically in Snow Leopard.

I wrote to Wiebetech, and they told me to reinstall [the driver][teracardsupport] for the PCIe card. Unfortunately, the PCIe card is based on [Silicon Image][sidriver], which is [known to be incompatible][sidrivercomp] with Snow Leopard. At least the OS was smart enough to disable the driver upon Snow Leopard update: *SiliconImage3132.kext* and *SiCoreService* were both moved to the "Incompatible Software" folder.

Here's what happened during my (thus far, unsuccessful) attempts to get my backup enclosure to work:

1. I tried to reinstall the driver (*Sil3132_1.1.9u_Sil_Pkg*, dated Feb 27, 2007), which is available from [Wiebetech's website][teracardsupport]. Mac OS X 10.6.1 kernel panicked upon install (and the install failed).

2. I read [a support thread][sidrivercomp] where an IOGear tech suggested installing the [latest RAID5 driver][sidriver] from Silicon Image's website. The driver filename is *siliconimage3132r5_15160.zip*, dated 8/14/2007. I installed this driver, rebooted, and turned on my enclosure. The drive(s) mounted, but writing to them threw errors and eventually kernel panicked

3. I uninstalled *siliconimage3132r5* manually by deleting the silicon image extension from */System/Library/Extensions*, the *SATARaid5* folder from */Applications/Utilities*, and *SATARaid5Daemon* from */Library/StartupItems*.

And now, I'm back where I started. I can't access drives in my RTX400 from Snow Leopard. I'm going to have to boot from Mac OS 10.5.8 in order to back up my data, which just seems wrong.

Silicon Image doesn't support customers directly, so I suppose I'll have to ask Wiebetech to find a solution. In the meantime, if any of you know of another PCIe card that supports port-multiplied eSATA and Snow Leopard, I'd appreciate recommendations!

[rtx400]: http://www.wiebetech.com/products/RTX400.php [teracard]: http://www.wiebetech.com/products/pci.php [teracardsupport]: http://www.wiebetech.com/webtech.php?sfid=366&pcode=TC-PCIE [sidriver]: http://www.siliconimage.com/support/searchresults.aspx?pid=32&cat=3&os=3 [sidrivercomp]: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=10066764


I now have a newly-installed Mac OS X 10.5.7 bootable drive that I am using temporarily to do incremental backups of my main 2.5TB data volume to the RTX400. Wiebetech wrote back and said that the [FirmTek SeriTek 2SE2-E][firmtek] card supports Snow Leopard even though it uses the Sil3132 chipset (they wrote their own driver), but I'm going to switch to the [Sonnet Tempo E4P][sonnet] PCIe card, which uses a Marvell chipset, is faster, and supports Snow Leopard. It's a bit more expensive, but I'm always up for moving data faster.

I've also read that Silicon Image may *never* update the driver for the Sil3132, and I don't want to be sitting around waiting forever. It's time to move on to a better chipset.

[firmtek]: http://www.firmtek.com/seritek/seritek-2se2-e/ [sonnet]: http://www.sonnettech.com/product/tempo_sata_e4p.html

***UPDATE*** Confirmed: Sonnet Tempo E4P works in Snow Leopard. It wants to run at 8X on the PCIe bus, so put it in slot 4.