More Than 6 SATA Ports?

Discussion in 'Gigabyte' started by (PeteCresswell), Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Seems like most mobos have six or fewer SATA ports.

    The one I'm currently using as a WSH server only has six.

    I find that using RAID cards to enable more drives has it's hassles.

    When I shop for the next mobo, would I be wasting my time looking for
    something with 10 or 12 SATA ports - that doesn't cost an arm and a leg?
     
    (PeteCresswell), Feb 20, 2013
    #1
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  2. (PeteCresswell)

    Paul Guest

    That's not going to happen - the "that doesn't cost an arm and a leg" thing.
    If it looks like a server or smells like a server, they'll charge
    server pricing.

    Use the search engine on Newegg, to look for something.

    *******

    http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z77 Extreme11/?cat=Specifications

    $400

    Z77 PCH - 4 SATA II
    - 2 SATA III

    LSI SAS 2308 - 8 x SAS2/SATA3 6.0 Gb/s

    Then the question would be, what would it cost for a SAS 2308
    chip if purchased separately. It happens to be $300. The question
    then would be, whether the rest of the motherboard is worth more
    than $100. And, it probably is. It's got "a lotta junk on it".

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816118182

    The difference might be in the level of support for the SAS.
    A reviewer on Newegg, for the Asrock board sez:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157343

    "Cons: The 8-port onboard LSI SATA3 6G/Sec RAID controller
    looked really nice on paper, was a huge selling point,
    and convinced me to rush into this purchase...
    Unfortunately, it's performance has been pretty far
    under-par for me so far."

    You'd probably want to check out the driver situation,
    before buying the motherboard. Are drivers readily
    available ? Anyone else get good results with SAS 2308 ?
    And so on. Once you buy the motherboard, you're "married"
    to it. No pulling out the SAS2308 chip and installing
    something else. (Hopefully, it can be turned off
    in the BIOS.) It'll be tying up x4 or x8 PCI Express
    lanes, or some other number of lanes. And on a LGA1155
    motherboard (selected for economy), there aren't that
    many PCI Express lanes to begin with (hosted by the CPU).
    The Asrock uses a couple PEX chips, to move the available
    bandwidth where needed (so that's a plus).
    See page 16 of the manual.

    http://www.techpowerup.com/img/12-04-09/z77_chipset_block_diagram.jpg

    ftp://174.142.97.10/manual/Z77%20Extreme11.pdf

    For your storage server purposes, I doubt the PCI Express part
    is a limiting factor. So part of the $400 purchase price, pays
    for the two PEX chips and makes the board more usable.
    To make a simple storage server, you wouldn't go to that much
    trouble, as the x16 processor interface could run x8 to a single
    video card slot and x8 to the SAS2308.

    What's really unclear, is what market Asrock is selling that
    product to. Gamers who wanted a left over SAS2308 ? Or
    storage server builders who wanted left over video card
    slots ?

    *******

    Have you considered using a SIL3132 card, and Port Multiplier
    boxes ? That's another way to achieve fanout on a regular
    motherboard. The SIL3132 uses an PCI Express x1 slot (x1 or larger).
    Such an approach would be suitable for DVR recording
    scenarios. We need someone to test these things :)
    You know you wanna :)

    http://www.sataport.com/

    The wiring looks like this. One x1 PCI Express slot, can
    host 10 disks this way.

    PCI Express x1 --- SIL3132 (FIS) ----- Port Multiplexer ---- 5 disks
    ----- Port Multiplexer ---- 5 disks

    Total cost, around $250 or so. Say $100 for each 5 port box, and $50
    or less for the SIL3132. And the cables of course. I'm hoping
    somewhere, you can find a box like that for less than $100.

    I see one here for $60 or so. So maybe they're not all price-fixed
    at $100.

    http://www.datoptic.com/silicon-image-4726-raid-port-multiplier.html

    Because the siliconimage web site is currently in a web monkey
    meltdown, I have to use an archive to find a description of the
    4726 for you. Before spending $50 on a SIL3132 board, you can
    try it off a motherboard (Intel) host port first. If it doesn't work
    there, the SIL3132 should help. AFAIK, the SIL3132 has RAID software
    that makes all the ports off a Port Multiplier visible.

    http://web.archive.org/petabox/2013...siliconimage.com/products/product.aspx?pid=74

    Example of a SIL3132 for $24.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815124027

    So that's another way to do it.

    I haven't even seen a benchmark for a Port Multiplier chip, so
    don't know whether it'll do 120MB/sec on a single disk or not.
    I haven't run into anyone yet, who has tested one.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Feb 20, 2013
    #2
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  3. Per Paul:
    I've got a couple of SIIG 2-port cards. One PCI and one PCI-Express.

    I've also got a PCI-Express Rocket-Raid with 4 ports.

    Sounds to me like I need to learn to love SATA cards.

    Right now, that's a challenge bc I'm stuck in the middle of a Windows
    Home Server re-install where it's not buying my SIIG PCI card's driver.

    Worked fine with it (same card, presumably the same driver) for years
    before.... but now it doesn't like it.

    Gonna obsess over it for a few more days and then, if I can't resolve
    it, just sacrifice the array and do a new install - trying the
    RocketRaid 4-port card instead just on GPs.

    Only reason I don't do that right now is an aversion to restoring 8
    terabytes from scratch....
     
    (PeteCresswell), Feb 20, 2013
    #3
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