Best option for adding more sata ports

fatryan

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The system in my sig has 2 SSDs, 2 HDDs, and 1 optical drive. I'm quickly running out of room on the HDD that stores my Plex library, so I'll need to expand. The problem is that I only have 6 sata ports on my board, meaning i could only ever fit one more drive in using the sata ports on the board. It is possible that i could need even more drives in the future, including possibly a second optical drive.

What would be the best way of adding additional sata ports? I've seen a number of different pcie cards that add 1, 2, 4+ more ports, but is that the best solution for adding more HDD and/or SSD storage drives?

I'm also considering switching my OS over to an M.2 nvme on the board, in which case I'd want to run both existing SSDs in Raid 1 (probably software Raid). This wouldn't gain me any additional sata ports though, correct? There's no way to share a sata data cable with Raid 1? I've got two M.2 slots on my board, but if i use the second, i lose 2 sata ports. If i use either as M.2 sata instead of nvme, I lose even more.

I suppose i could look into a raid card that can mount the SSDs, but I'm not even sure if I'll have the room to fit the card. Not to mention, it might just be cheaper to spend the money on a larger replacement HDD anyway.

Are there other options for increasing the amount of sata ports? Tried to find an m.2 adapter, but i came up empty. It would probably be expensive and hideous anyway. Is there any ways to utilize other open slots on the board, like USB or COM?
 

fatryan

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SATA is point to point. There are devices called port multipliers that will split 1 port into 4 or 5 but I don't think I would recommend them.

This one is SATA II meaning all 5 devices will share the bandwidth of 1 sata II port.
https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00AYHX...omp-feature-pcomp-wm-6&ref=aa_pcomp_eoh1_aps1
Yeah, just didn't know if point-to-point was only for independent drives. Like with Raid 1, you're just duplicating the data, right, so it would seem possible (to me at least) to be able to have a SATA splitter in that case. But if that's not the case, then it's not the case. I don't know much about Raid.

Isn't SATA II only 3Gbps regardless of how many ports are in question?
 

UhClem

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The system in my sig has 2 SSDs, 2 HDDs, and 1 optical drive. I'm quickly running out of room on the HDD that stores my Plex library, so I'll need to expand. The problem is that I only have 6 sata ports on my board, ...

Are there other options for increasing the amount of sata ports? Tried to find an m.2 adapter, but i came up empty. It would probably be expensive and hideous anyway. ...
Here's an M.2 adapter. It really does work. [And, it does not utilize a port-multiplier.]
2-Lane M.2 PCI-Express 3.0--JMB585 chipset

m2-jmb585.jpg

=====
"Your debutante knows what you need,
But I know what you want." --Bob Dylan
 

Blue Fox

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Why SAS instead of SATA? Is an HBA functionally different than the cards I was describing in the OP? I don't know anything about these cards.
It's cheaper and works with SATA. HBA means it's going to act no different than your on-board ports (with no RAID capability).
 

Tsumi

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SATA II is 3 Gbps per port.
Yeah, just didn't know if point-to-point was only for independent drives. Like with Raid 1, you're just duplicating the data, right, so it would seem possible (to me at least) to be able to have a SATA splitter in that case. But if that's not the case, then it's not the case. I don't know much about Raid.

Isn't SATA II only 3Gbps regardless of how many ports are in question?
It is 3 Gbps per port.

RAID 1 still requires independent ports because it needs to communicate with each hard drive independently. Hard drives have to communicate SMART status and so on.

Here's an M.2 adapter. It really does work. [And, it does not utilize a port-multiplier.]
2-Lane M.2 PCI-Express 3.0--JMB585 chipset

View attachment 249067
=====
"Your debutante knows what you need,
But I know what you want." --Bob Dylan
Yep... it's really just another PCI-E to SATA card adapter. No point in using one of these things unless you are out of PCI-E slots.
 

fatryan

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It's cheaper and works with SATA. HBA means it's going to act no different than your on-board ports (with no RAID capability).
When you say no raid capability, you're just talking about on the card right? It doesn't impact the ability to do software Raid in Windows or other software right?
 

fatryan

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It is 3 Gbps per port.

RAID 1 still requires independent ports because it needs to communicate with each hard drive independently. Hard drives have to communicate SMART status and so on.
Ok thanks for clarifying
 

likeman

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Why SAS instead of SATA? Is an HBA functionally different than the cards I was describing in the OP? I don't know anything about these cards.
they give you straight up 8 or 4 SATA ports (you can use SAS if you want its not mandatory) HBA cards don't have any raid
 

Tsumi

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Well damn! How did i not find this when i was searching before! So this would be preferable over a full pcie card?
Nope... if you have the space for a full PCI-E card. M.2 communicates by PCI-E so functionally there is no difference. The only difference is in form factor and price.
 

UhClem

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Well damn! How did i not find this when i was searching before! So this would be preferable over a full pcie card?
It's all about getting the SATA bandwidth that you need, while making efficient use of the limited PCIe lanes you have available--and, still allow for future/further expansion. Consider, other than your 3 PCIe x1 slots, you only have a single PCIe x4 (lane) [in a x16 slot] available. I wouldn't "waste" that just to add 1-2 HDD's and an ODD. I'm not aware of any PCIe 3.0 x1 4-port Sata3 cards/chips, or that would be the right short-term solution. Next best would be either a PCIe 3.0 x1 2-port card or a PCIe 2.0 x1 4-port card. The first could sustain ~750-800 MB/sec, enough for a fast SSD (550) and a fast HDD (200-250) concurrent. The second could only sustain 350-375 MB/sec, alright for 2 HDD and 2 ODD with potential for contention (but definitely frees up Mobo Sata ports for performance needs).
 

kirbyrj

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I cannot say enough good things about these cards for SATA operation. I used one for YEARS with zero issues in my Plex server. I used Stablebit Drivepool to basically do a JBOD array and then set manual file duplication by folder.

The trickiest part of having it was figuring out how to get into an EFI shell to flash it to IT mode.
 

warhol76

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I would echo this. Many SATA expansion cards are very low quality. These HBA cards are server quality. When you get one in your hands, you will know what this means right away. You add 8 SATA ports with one card for $50 and you won't have to worry about it failing.
 

Ranulfo

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Here's an M.2 adapter. It really does work. [And, it does not utilize a port-multiplier.]
2-Lane M.2 PCI-Express 3.0--JMB585 chipset

View attachment 249067
=====
"Your debutante knows what you need,
But I know what you want." --Bob Dylan

Well damn. Thanks for posting this. I might have a nice solution now for when my avoton itx mobo eventually dies (thx intel) to get 12+ sata ports. Though it looks like most new itx boards are coming with oculink ports now.
 

likeman

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yep the HBA cards are server grade but work with normal windows install don't normally need drivers at all they just work (the cheap £5-10 ones normally only use 1x or 2x PCIE and cant handle the speed of SSDs, you get SATA CRC errors on the SSDs smart logs if the SSD is trying to send or receive more data than the card can handle as they don't seem to rate limit the ssd)
 

fatryan

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It's all about getting the SATA bandwidth that you need, while making efficient use of the limited PCIe lanes you have available--and, still allow for future/further expansion. Consider, other than your 3 PCIe x1 slots, you only have a single PCIe x4 (lane) [in a x16 slot] available. I wouldn't "waste" that just to add 1-2 HDD's and an ODD. I'm not aware of any PCIe 3.0 x1 4-port Sata3 cards/chips, or that would be the right short-term solution. Next best would be either a PCIe 3.0 x1 2-port card or a PCIe 2.0 x1 4-port card. The first could sustain ~750-800 MB/sec, enough for a fast SSD (550) and a fast HDD (200-250) concurrent. The second could only sustain 350-375 MB/sec, alright for 2 HDD and 2 ODD with potential for contention (but definitely frees up Mobo Sata ports for performance needs).
So what would be my best option? FYI the card I'm about to install is a Rosewill RC-508, which is PCIe 2.0x1 per the specs. Only other slot being used is the 16x for my EVGA 2060KO. If there's a bottleneck on PCIe or M.2 sata expansion cards, I'll put all HDDs on them. Most expansion I'll be doing is high capacity storage, so HDD at 7200 or possibly 5400 if it's a great deal.
 

fatryan

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I cannot say enough good things about these cards for SATA operation. I used one for YEARS with zero issues in my Plex server. I used Stablebit Drivepool to basically do a JBOD array and then set manual file duplication by folder.

The trickiest part of having it was figuring out how to get into an EFI shell to flash it to IT mode.
Dude, I didn't understand a thing you said after the second sentence lol. I'm not very knowledge with this stuff.
 

kirbyrj

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Dude, I didn't understand a thing you said after the second sentence lol. I'm not very knowledge with this stuff.
You have different modes on the controller. IR or IT. Without going into too much detail, IT is what you are looking for if you are looking to just add additional drives. IR is a hardware RAID mode.

Stablebit Drivepool is a 3rd party app that basically acts as a drivepool taking individual drives and combining them through software to one larger drive. For example. Your Plex server might have 4 x 2TB drives, but your movie directory is 6TB in size. Rather than have parts of your movies in different folders on different drives, you can use Drivepool and combine all your drives so that Windows sees it as one large 8TB drive. Inside of the program, you can pick and choose individual directories to duplicate on different physical drives so you have a backup in case one drive fails.

In order to tell your card to go from IR to IT mode, you have to flash it using an EFI shell. I'm not too knowledgeable about that either, but I found a guide on the internet that walked me through it. At least a couple motherboard manufacturers have a "boot to EFI shell" as part of the bios.
 

fatryan

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You have different modes on the controller. IR or IT. Without going into too much detail, IT is what you are looking for if you are looking to just add additional drives. IR is a hardware RAID mode.

Stablebit Drivepool is a 3rd party app that basically acts as a drivepool taking individual drives and combining them through software to one larger drive. For example. Your Plex server might have 4 x 2TB drives, but your movie directory is 6TB in size. Rather than have parts of your movies in different folders on different drives, you can use Drivepool and combine all your drives so that Windows sees it as one large 8TB drive. Inside of the program, you can pick and choose individual directories to duplicate on different physical drives so you have a backup in case one drive fails.

In order to tell your card to go from IR to IT mode, you have to flash it using an EFI shell. I'm not too knowledgeable about that either, but I found a guide on the internet that walked me through it. At least a couple motherboard manufacturers have a "boot to EFI shell" as part of the bios.
Thanks for explaining. That program sounds very useful, so I'll look into it. If i was solely trying to combine physical drives in Windows, can't i just span disks in Windows disk management?

So I'm not totally decided on use of raid yet. I think i do want to implement some kind of redundancy for my personal file storage as well as Plex storage. I don't care if i lose surveillance storage, and OS drive can be replaced. How exactly I would do all this, I'm not sure. Probably raid 1 for each personal storage and Plex, provided i don't need 2 cards to do that.

It occurred to my a few days ago that I have 2 Seagate 750gb 2.5" drives laying around from my laptop. 1 had crashed a few years back and so i switched my laptop to SSDs. Remarkably i was able to recover my files this week from the crashed drive. When it originally crashed, my roommate at the time tried unsuccessfully to recover the files. He is... Let's just say he does high level "computer work" for the US government lol. But he said physical removal was my only option, which costs like $5k. Anyways, i don't know what happened, but years later it started working well enough to copy my files. It was still giving me faults though, and after i opened the case to inspect the platter, the drive was fucked lol.

What i was getting at though is that i have some additional storage just laying around already. I was thinking i could use the remaining 750gb 2.5" HDD to backup my 500gb SSD personal storage. Aside from the differences between solid state and hard disk, the 750gb drive is sata 2... Though it's 7200rpm if that makes any different. So I'm not sure if this drive can be used (or should be used) for this purpose. It's free though, err, i don't have to pay money for new equipment lol. I have a dive adapter and sata cables. Just need the sata ports.
 

kirbyrj

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Yes, it is kind of like Spanning volumes, but you have a lot more control. You can add or remove drives to your drivepool anytime, and you have the option of software redundancy at the folder level right from the program. I would say it's more like Storage Spaces.
 

fatryan

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Yes, it is kind of like Spanning volumes, but you have a lot more control. You can add or remove drives to your drivepool anytime, and you have the option of software redundancy at the folder level right from the program. I would say it's more like Storage Spaces.
Not familiar with storage spaces either, but it still sounds like it would be useful to me. So why exactly would someone choose a raid card over this?
 

kirbyrj

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Not familiar with storage spaces either, but it still sounds like it would be useful to me. So why exactly would someone choose a raid card over this?
I don't know. I didn't ;). The downside is it is a Windows only program. The upside is it is easily migrated to other computers. All I did was swap out a motherboard and the entire drive pool copied over with a new windows install after installing the drive pool program.
 

fatryan

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I don't know. I didn't ;). The downside is it is a Windows only program. The upside is it is easily migrated to other computers. All I did was swap out a motherboard and the entire drive pool copied over with a new windows install after installing the drive pool program.
So it must install some kind of configuration files on the drive to recognize the data then, right? And on that topic, i see some people complaining about scattered files on their drives when using this and other programs. Is there no predefined structure used for storage across multiple drives? For a simple 2 drive raid 1 array, would it just be easier or simpler to handle it in Windows or even the BIOS?
 

kirbyrj

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So it must install some kind of configuration files on the drive to recognize the data then, right? And on that topic, i see some people complaining about scattered files on their drives when using this and other programs. Is there no predefined structure used for storage across multiple drives? For a simple 2 drive raid 1 array, would it just be easier or simpler to handle it in Windows or even the BIOS?
I'm sure it would be easier to do a simple 2 drive array like that. In my case it was for my Plex server so most things were write once and leave it there.

I think there's a free trial you can use to test it out. I had pretty good luck with it and had no issues over 5 or 6 years with pretty much the same drive pool just expanded and contracted over the years. The only reason I stopped using it is because I migrated to a Synology unit.
 

fatryan

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I'm sure it would be easier to do a simple 2 drive array like that. In my case it was for my Plex server so most things were write once and leave it there.

I think there's a free trial you can use to test it out. I had pretty good luck with it and had no issues over 5 or 6 years with pretty much the same drive pool just expanded and contracted over the years. The only reason I stopped using it is because I migrated to a Synology unit.
Got my USB expansion card installed and threw in that extra 750gb HDD. Tried storage spaces first, but I couldnt figure out how to duplicate the drive without erasing the ssd. I also am concerned that backing up a sata 3 SSD to a sata 2 HDD will be problematic after some videos I watched on youtube. So I downloaded a trial of Stablebit Drivepool, and attempted to use it...I do not get this program. How on earth do you mirror drives! Ive literally searched everywhere and I cannot find any settings for this. I also cant find any way to select separate folders. I pretty much cant do anything with the program. All it did was create a pool of my ssd & hdd (which it says is empty for some reason). And when I go to Disk Management, I see 2 new drives instead of 1, one drive claims to be 2TB capacity...which makes zero sense. Both drives combined only equals a little over 1 TB.
 

UhClem

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So what would be my best option? FYI the card I'm about to install is a Rosewill RC-508, which is PCIe 2.0x1 per the specs.
Whoa!! The RC-508 has (4) USB 3.0 ports. And, all this time I thought you were asking about [from the OP Subject:] "adding more sata ports".
Please clarify.

OK I read your subsequent discussion w/kirbyrj, and see that you had "wanted" USB. But, had you already used all 6, or 9, USB3 ports on your mobo? Most of those USB3 ports are each capable of handling full Sata3 throughput (given a capable bridge chip); whereas, that RC-508 has all 4 of its ports sharing a x1 PCIe2 lane (max total of ~375 MB/s) ... Just wondering ...
 
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fatryan

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Whoa!! The RC-508 has (4) USB 3.0 ports. And, all this time I thought you were asking about [from the OP Subject:] "adding more sata ports".
Please clarify.

OK I read your subsequent discussion w/kirbyrj, and see that you had "wanted" USB. But, had you already used all 6, or 9, USB3 ports on your mobo? Most of those USB3 ports are each capable of handling full Sata3 throughput (given a capable bridge chip); whereas, that RC-508 has all 4 of its ports sharing a x1 PCIe2 lane (max total of ~375 MB/s) ... Just wondering ...
No no. Sorry, I probably caused unnecessary confusion here. I've got another thread going on the board in which Kirby and I were having a discussion, and that's probably where the USB card is explained.

I am looking for a sata card or some other way to add additional sata ports. In fact, I used my last available port on my board last night when i threw in my old Seagate drive. The addition of the RC-508 has nothing to do with sata. I was just short on rear USB ports for my various peripherals, so I added that cheap card so I don't have to have a bunch of wires sticking out the front 5.25 bay ports. My only concern with this card was whether or not i will have the room to add a third card on the board for sata expansion. I already lost one 1x slot due to the depth of my video card. But looking at it, i should be fine fitting in a third card. That RC-508 is tiny.
 

fatryan

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So back to those HBAs, if I were to install one how many Sata3 HDDs could I push per SAS port? I've read you can have 8 per port, which seems like a ton. I don't even have the physical room for 8 more drives in my case, let alone 16 or 32. I could probably fit in 5 more full size HDDs and 2 more SSDs based on available spaces, but that would be pushing it on space. That said, I see some HBAs have both internal & external ports. If I can get 8 HDDs per SAS port, it would seem to me the most logical thing to have a 2 port HBA - 1 external and 1 internal. That way I can expand to an external storage device if needed in the future. What are your thoughts on this?
 

fatryan

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This is all I'm presented with when I click on that. It only shows a total of 12 bytes of data between the 2 drives. The Seagate is blank, but the SSD has ~320GB of data on it. I also can't even tell which drive is which in this window.

1591729060774.png


And as stated before, Disk Management is showing the Seagate HDD and Samsung SSD as independent drives (D & R) and the DrivePool as an independent drive (F). Why is it duplicating the drives like this? Shouldn't only 1 drive show up for each physical drive or 1 combined drive? The DrivePool drive capacity is also incorrect: 750GB + 500GB != 2TB.

1591729279774.png
 

warhol76

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If you are looking at the HBAs I would recommend getting one from Ebay that is already flashed to IT mode. Flashing it yourself is not terribly difficult. But, for the cost you can get them on Ebay, it isn't worth the effort to do it yourself. Most HBA have two ports that support 4 drives each. I am not familiar with a card that has both an internal and external port. But, that might be a good option if one is available. Please note; that you need different cables for internal and extternal drives.

Regarding spanning the drives - An advantage of software like drivepool is that you can access the files on the disk without the software. I personally use Drive Bender. But, i know a lot of people use drivepool. If you use Raid or even Windows Storage Spaces, if something goes wrong with the array, you cannot access the data. Drivepool and Drive Bender simply store the informationon the disks and then pool them utilizing software only.

Hope this info helps!
 

fatryan

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If you are looking at the HBAs I would recommend getting one from Ebay that is already flashed to IT mode. Flashing it yourself is not terribly difficult. But, for the cost you can get them on Ebay, it isn't worth the effort to do it yourself. Most HBA have two ports that support 4 drives each. I am not familiar with a card that has both an internal and external port. But, that might be a good option if one is available. Please note; that you need different cables for internal and extternal drives.

Regarding spanning the drives - An advantage of software like drivepool is that you can access the files on the disk without the software. I personally use Drive Bender. But, i know a lot of people use drivepool. If you use Raid or even Windows Storage Spaces, if something goes wrong with the array, you cannot access the data. Drivepool and Drive Bender simply store the informationon the disks and then pool them utilizing software only.

Hope this info helps!
Thanks. That was helpful. And yes, I'm planning to buy an HBA. The prices of the ebay HBAs someone linked to at the beginning of the thread are very reasonable, so much so that I wonder what else I can get for a little more money lol. I've been trying to gather info on these devices, and I've been using YouTube like usual because the visual aid helps someone like me who's not very computer literate... At least not like you guys are here. YouTube information on HBAs is somewhat scarce. Raid controllers? Tons of videos. HBAs? I spend like 30min looking through garbage videos till I finally find one with substance.

So that said, I'm not totally sure what specs I need to be looking at for these cards. PCIe 2 0? 3.0? X1? X4? X8? Expandability to 8 Sata drives is plenty. But as stated, i don't have the room in my case for 8 more drives, so it would be ideal to get one with internal and external connectors. I've seen a few of these on newegg and other sites, though I'm not positive their specs are what i need. I suppose I could buy a card that only has internal or external connectors if there's some other way to get the cable in/out of the case. Something like female-female jack that fits into the removable back panel slots. Not sure if that's even a thing, but I'd think it would work in theory.

This morning i watched a video on sas cables/connectors that more or less said that there are a whole bunch of options and that you need to know which one to buy for which reason. Another longer video i was watching a few clips from was going over varies generations of cards and indicated that some are not intended for SSDs. So it sounds like these things are a bit more complicated than they would appear.

If you can't recover data on spanned or striped drives, then what's the point? Ok i get the performance aspect of striping, but for a drivepool I'd want some security. Stablebit sounds very useful, but as you can see in my screenshots i cannot replicate the setup process shown in tutorials. My files don't show up in the program, and I can't figure out why.
 

warhol76

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Thanks. That was helpful. And yes, I'm planning to buy an HBA. The prices of the ebay HBAs someone linked to at the beginning of the thread are very reasonable, so much so that I wonder what else I can get for a little more money lol. I've been trying to gather info on these devices, and I've been using YouTube like usual because the visual aid helps someone like me who's not very computer literate... At least not like you guys are here. YouTube information on HBAs is somewhat scarce. Raid controllers? Tons of videos. HBAs? I spend like 30min looking through garbage videos till I finally find one with substance.

So that said, I'm not totally sure what specs I need to be looking at for these cards. PCIe 2 0? 3.0? X1? X4? X8? Expandability to 8 Sata drives is plenty. But as stated, i don't have the room in my case for 8 more drives, so it would be ideal to get one with internal and external connectors. I've seen a few of these on newegg and other sites, though I'm not positive their specs are what i need. I suppose I could buy a card that only has internal or external connectors if there's some other way to get the cable in/out of the case. Something like female-female jack that fits into the removable back panel slots. Not sure if that's even a thing, but I'd think it would work in theory.

This morning i watched a video on sas cables/connectors that more or less said that there are a whole bunch of options and that you need to know which one to buy for which reason. Another longer video i was watching a few clips from was going over varies generations of cards and indicated that some are not intended for SSDs. So it sounds like these things are a bit more complicated than they would appear.

If you can't recover data on spanned or striped drives, then what's the point? Ok i get the performance aspect of striping, but for a drivepool I'd want some security. Stablebit sounds very useful, but as you can see in my screenshots i cannot replicate the setup process shown in tutorials. My files don't show up in the program, and I can't figure out why.
Everyone is new at this at some point. Frankly, I did not know much about this specific area before quarantine life. But, I had plenty of time to tinker and figure things out.

It is odd that as much info as there is available on Youtube, info in this area is sparse.

If you are looking for an overview of cards, this is a good place to start. This guy also has videos on other topics (including sas cables.) He also sells HBA cards flashed into IT mode on ebay. I find his prices a little high though.

The card I have can handle 8 internal drives. Unfortunately, I don't have any recommendation on a card with an internal and external ports. Don't really even know if that is a thing. For internal cards, you probably want to look for an LSI 9211-8i card. they are the most price effective tat meet your needs. There are three variants that most people get. The Dell H200, Dell H310 and IBM M1015. I personally have the H310. I bought it on ebay for around $50 already flashed into IT mode. There are a couple variants of each card. Those differences are discussed in the video above.

SAS cables really are not complicated. But, you can mess it up if you aren't paying attention. There are different cables for internal and external connections. The external cables are more substantial with heavy duty connectors and wiring. There are also forward breakout and backward breakout cables. If connecting directly to the drives, you need forward breakout cables. My drives are internal and the cables are directly connected to the drives. So, I ordered these
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018YHS8BS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Not sure which case you are using. But, if you have an older case with 5.25" bays, you could consider something like this item. There seem to be some quality issues with some of the low end vendors. This vendor seems to avoid those issues.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004IMKTX4/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_8?smid=A23NVCSO4PYH3S&psc=1

Moving onto the recovery of data. In hardware and software RAID, you can recover the data if a drive is lost. However, if you have a system wide failure, the entire array "could" be lost. There are ways to work around this. Those avenues vary depending on the solution you are using. Utilizing something like drivepool or drive bender, the disks can simply be plugged into another system and they will instantly be readable. This does not work with RAID solutions.

I cannot speak to your specific issues with drivepool as I have not used it. I do use Drive Bender. When comparing the two, they seem to be fairly comparable. If you search for people's suggestions on the internet, most point towards drivepool. It seems there was a period of time that Drive Bender was not being developed. This is no longer true. It has been consistently updated for several years now. I chose it mostly because I thought it seemed just a bit easier and I liked the UI much better. It also has a trial version.
https://www.division-m.com/drivebender/

Your experience with system manager showing both the physical hard drives and the pooled drive is normal. There are settings to have the physical drives no longer show in explorer if that is your preference. In my case, explorer only shows the pooled drive. Not the 4 other drives that contribute to that pool.

I hope this info helps. Happy to help more along your journey!
 
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