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Opinions and Advice on a Controller Card and Power


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So I am getting real near to adding a couple more hard drives to my desktop and I am running out of sata ports to plug into and was hoping someone can offer a little advice or opinions about some products.

 

My desktop is a little bit of everything. I use it mainly as a server. I host all my media content that serves two TVS in my apartment, I also use it as a Web, Database server, a little gaming here and there and lastly I do a little bit of programming. 

 

1) SATA Controller Card - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816124064

 

A) Any speed penalty if I go with a PCI-E Controller card?

B) Is there any cons at all going this route?

C) Anything more reliable or better then this?

D) What if I have multiple Controller cards?

 

2) More Power Connectors - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812400127&Tpk=PYO4SATA

 

A) Any drawback having multiple drives on a strand? 

 

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That looks like a nice card. :)

If you don't get SMART data on the drives attached, you may need to enable "UnsafeDirectIo", I'm not sure though.

 

As for PCI-E... no, you get better speeds with PCI Express cards, as they have higher bandwidth.

Cons? Running out of space in the case? Also, power may become an issue, depending on the PSU.

Personally, I prefer the HighPoint RocketRAID 2720SGL. But it's defintiely an investment, and not cheap. But that's a good card too, IIRC.

Multiple cards? Shouldn't be an issue.

 

And as for the power, that really depends on the drives, the PSU in use and the cable it's connected to. But assuming decent parts, it should be good, I think.

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For a FileServer with many spinning drives, always go for a single 12V-Rail PSU.

One single disk drive will eat up 2+ Amps on the 12V rail when performing a cold start.

 

ATX standard actually requires a PSU to be dual rail, but for this purpose a single rail is recommended...no need for doing any maths...just connect an go.

 

You will find the no. of rails in the specs of the PSU.

If this information is not listed, you can determine it from the Output-Amps given on the spec plate.

Like a non-single-Rail PSU will advertise the output per Rail, like "12V1-22A, 12V2-18A" for a dual-rail....a single Rail PSU will not have the 12V rail-output numbered, like stating "12V-40A" as in this example.

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I have no experience with this card, but it's one that I've had my eye on for some time, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815287028, most sata ports, I can find on a single, affordable card, now it's only a 4 channel card, so you can't use all six port at the same time, but, figured 2-3 internal with one external, would meet my requirements.  

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I bought a IBM ServerRAID m1015 card off eBay for about 100 bucks. It's PCI-e 8x but works in a PCI 16 slot just fine. It has 2 SAS ports and can handle 8 drives. It runs all 8 at 6gb. Works awesomely and is 100% stable. I also have the LSI equivalent and know that the LSI drivers and utility work with this card. The IBM drivers and utilities only work on Windows Server, not any of the clients OS's.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-ServeRaid-M1015-PCI-e-RAID-Controller-Full-Height-Bracket-46M0861-46C8933-/121227681741?pt=US_Server_Disk_Controllers_RAID_Cards&hash=item1c39bb9fcd

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The M1015 is a very nice SAS controller.

I am using several of them in my builds, also in conjunction with SAS Expanders., like the Intel RES2CV240.

 

The original M1015 is a RAID card, which is kind of a waste with Drivepool or software-"raid" based systems in general.

There are many threads out there on how to crosss-flash it to a HBA with IT-mode Firmware.

 

Also other LSI2008 based controllers that will work similar to thze M1015 (and can be cross flashed) are available, like

- Dell Perc H310

- Fujitsu D2607

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I think my next SAS/RAID/HBA card may be one of those, in fact.

 

And "a waste" is a matter of opinion. I mean, any controller that supports more than 4 disks is going to run you a good chunk of money anyhow.

 

And being able to run a BUNCH of drives off of one card is very nice.

 

And thanks for the list. I think the Dell Perc's tend to be a bit cheaper, IIRC.

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By being a "kind of waste", I was referring to their original purpose.

These cards, being originally a "real" RAID type are only entry level in this domian.

And using the RAID driver in JBOD mode with DrivePool or in software raid *is* a waste and a risk, too.

 

Well...cheap times are long over.

Especially the M1015 was shipped as the standard card with all IBM X-Servers...but all enterprise customers did rip them out, replaced them in their servers and sold the parts as crap in the bay.

I remember buying a pair of two, brand new in their boxes, for 70USD...good old times.

Since the word is out that these can be cross-flashed to a HBA, they became the best known secret and prices went through the roof.

Same is now for the Dell models...the Fujitsu is the youngest secret as of today...maybe there are some deals waiting ahead.

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