HP SAS Expander Owner's Thread

Discussion in 'SSDs & Data Storage' started by odditory, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. odditory

    odditory [H]ardness Supreme

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    [​IMG]

    The HP SAS Expander is a game changing device for home media storage enthusiasts and business customers alike - combine it with a low-cost RAID or HBA adapter and you've got 32 ports of harddisk connectivity for only a few hundred dollars.

    Overview: The HP SAS Expander is based on the PMC Sierra PM8005 SAS-2 chip which features 36 x 6Gbps ports and 6G/3G multiplexing, SAS 2.0 zoning, self-configuration, table-to-table routing, and an integrated MIPS processor for SES and enclosure management support. Full specs here: http://www.pmc-sierra.com/products/details/pm8005/

    FAQ

    Q: What's so special about this card?
    A: The PM8005 chip has proven to be more compatible in more HBA/Drive configurations than previous generation expanders like the LSI-based Chenbro CK series. While HP intended this card be used in their enterprise products (HP Proliant servers, etc) the card is driverless and essentially "universal" since it follows SAS/SAS-2 specs and can be used with non-HP branded RAID and non-RAID HBA cards. What's unique is the ability to connect 32 drives at a relatively low cost, when combined with a low cost 4 or 8 port RAID or non-RAID HBA.

    Q: Where do I purchase this card and why do I want the green card and NOT the yellow card?
    A: There are multiple hardware versions of this card, available from Amazon, ebay, etc. The yellow PCB version is the oldest hardware revision, has a smaller heatsink, and CANNOT be flash upgraded from its v.0.20. The green PCB cards are the newer hardware revision. I've bought green PCB cards from ebay and they came with firmware v1.00. I've bought a card from Amazon and it came with v1.52. Shipping firmware will depend how old your source's inventory is. To work correctly at 3Gbps with newer SATA2 drives you need firmware v1.52 firmware or higher. Click thumbnail to see a side-by-side of both cards. DO NOT buy the yellow PCB card, it is useless and will not work.

    [​IMG]

    Q: How do I install the HP SAS Expander and what are the power requirements?
    A: The card needs an x4 PCIe slot on a motherboard and draws 11 watts of power. The card doesn't require software drivers, it is invisible to the operating system and motherboard. A common dilemma is people needing to use this card in an empty chassis like a Norco RPC-4220 to create a JBOD enclosure. Some people have resorted to using an old motherboard serve as a power source and ON/OFF switch for the chassis - such a solution costs significantly less than buying a prefab expander chassis. Unfortunately this card has no external 4-pin Molex power connector like the Intel RES2SV240, another highly recommended SAS expander card, but in exchange you're getting 36 ports instead of 24 on the Intel.

    Q: How do I connect harddisks to the HP SAS Expander?
    A: There are 9 ports total which can connect four harddisks each. The external SFF-8088 port is Port #1. The internal SFF-8087 are Port #2 through Port #9. I recommend populating drives beginning with internal Port #2. To uplink the expander to your RAID/HBA, connect to Port #8 on the expander with an SFF-8087 cable from your RAID/HBA. If your RAID/HBA has an external SFF-8088 connector, connect to Port #1 on the expander with an external SFF-8088 cable.

    [​IMG]

    Q: How many cables do I need to connect the HP SAS expander to my RAID or HBA card?
    A: You only need 1. However some newer SAS-2 based RAID and HBA cards support link aggregation with two SFF-8087 cables connected between the RAID/HBA and ports #8 and #9 on the expander, effectively doubling bandwidth.

    Q: How many harddisks can you attach to the HP SAS expander?
    A: Up to 32. I've stress tested various configurations including a RAID6 array with 32 x 1Tb drives and had no issues.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Q: Why do I need firmware 1.52 or higher on the HP SAS Expander?
    A: The most notable change in firmware 1.52 brought upgraded SAS/SATA speeds from 3Gbps/1.5Gbps to 6Gbps/3Gbps respectively. Most newer harddisks ship defaulted to 3Gbps, and for compatibility and performance reasons firmware 1.52 or higher is recommended.

    Q: How do I update the firmware on the HP SAS Expander?
    A: A flash update requires a newer HP branded RAID card- P212, P410, P411, or P712. If you have a green PCB card with lower than firmware v1.52, you can post in this thread and someone may be able to flash it for you.

    Q: Which RAID adapters, HBA cards and motherboards have been tested with the HP SAS Expander?
    A: In general if your card is SAS compliant and vendor specs state that it supports expanders, it *should* work, but there are some exceptions. In general if your card is SAS 2.0 compliant it should also support dual-linking (2 x SFF-8087 uplinks). The following devices were tested by me personally unless stated otherwise.

    RAID Adapters
    Areca ARC-1880 series: YES (dual linking supported)
    Areca ARC-1680 series: YES
    IBM M1015 (SAS2008): YES (SAS2008 based card, dual linking supported)
    3ware 9690SA Series: YES (verified by SeanG)
    Highpoint 4320 SAS: YES (verified by Dgephri)
    [B}LSI 9260-8i (SAS2108)[/B]: YES
    [B}LSI 9265-8i (SAS2208)[/B]: YES
    Adaptec 5085: No
    Adaptec 5805: No
    HP P212, P410, P410i, P411, P411i, P712: YES* (requires minimum of 256MB cache on RAID controller card)

    Non-RAID HBA cards
    LSI SAS 9211-4i, 9211-8i (SAS2008): YES (dual linking supported on 9211-8i model)
    LSI SAS3081E-R: YES
    Intel SASUC8I (cross-flashed to LSI 1068e firmware): YES
    Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8: YES
    SuperMicro AOC-USAS-L8i: YES (Confirmed by Tau)
    Areca ARC-1300-4X: YES (Not recommended due to mediocre performance and no SMART passthrough)
    Adaptec 1045 (1 x SFF-8088): No
    Adaptec 1405 (1 x SFF-8087): No

    Motherboards
    Supermicro X8SI6-F (SAS2008): YES (Dual Linking supported)
    Supermicro X8DTH-6/X8DTH-6F (SAS2008): YES (Dual Linking supported)
    Supermicro X8DT6/X8DT6-F (SAS2008): YES (Dual Linking supported)
    Supermicro X8DA6 (SAS2008): YES (Dual Linking supported)

    *Note: In theory any motherboard with the LSI SAS2008 chip should work.

    KNOWN ISSUES
    1) HP SAS Expander will only negotiate SATA-III harddisks at 3G (SATA300) even though it is capable of 6G (SATA600). It does however negotiate SAS disks at 6G.
    2) In combination with an Areca 1880 series controller, certain Western Digital harddisks (Velociraptor, etc) when configured in a raid volume will cause Areca boot-time firmware initialization to hang when connected to the HP SAS Expander. This is an issue Areca needs to resolve, but something to be aware of.

    * CHANGE LOG *

    9/8/2011: LSI 9260 and LSI 9265 RAID controllers added to HCL
    3/23/2011: Added KNOWN ISSUES section
    3/9/2011: IBM M1015 (SAS2008) added to HCL
    2/28/2011: New firmware 2.08
    10/23/2010: Confirmed several Supermicro motherboards with integrated LSI SAS2008 chip supported
    10/23/2010: Added motherboard section to HCL.
    10/15/2010: Confirmed dual-linking supported with LSI 9211-8i More info here.
    10/10/2010: Confirmed dual-linking supported with Areca 1880i. More info here.
    10/9/2010: Areca ARC-1880 series added to HCL
    10/8/2010: LSI SAS 9211-xx series added to HCL
    10/7/2010: Intel SASUC8I and LSI SAS3081E-R added to HCL
    10/6/2010: LSI SAS 9211-xx series added to HCL
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2011
    nthu9280 and rudyrednose like this.
  2. odditory

    odditory [H]ardness Supreme

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    -reserved-
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  3. BENN0

    BENN0 [H]Lite

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    I'll be documenting my findings with the HP Smart Array P410 array controller and the HP SAS expander in my topic here.
     
  4. cartman123

    cartman123 n00bie

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    As i am very interested in this card, i would like to ask:

    Which cost-effective SAS card should i buy in order to connect it to the HP SAS expander?
    My needs are:

    1)Connecting 24 Internal sata drives on a Norco 4020.
    2)No raid config, i just want the raw drives presented to me without me needing to create any 1-disk RAID-0 volumes(This i called "JBOD" mode, or IT mode i think)
    3)All SMART values should be readable by the OS
    4)Good linux compatibility
    5)Good bandwidth to each disk when they are used at the same time, as i will be using a Flexraid - unraid type solution.(about 24x100MBytes/sec should be enough)

    So I probably will need to connect the SAS expander to the SAS card using 2 cables.

    I see that the LSI SAS3442E-R is mentioned a lot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  5. BENN0

    BENN0 [H]Lite

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    What are people paying for this card and where can you find it?
    I'm not really convinced by the prices on eBay yet.
     
  6. alamone

    alamone Gawd

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    odditory, what drives are you using. I've had a lot of problems w/ drive detection using Seagate drives with SAS expanders (I have the Chenbro SAS expander based on the LSISAS chip). Samsung and WD I've had less problems with. I haven't tested any Hitachi drives.
     
  7. unhappy_mage

    unhappy_mage [H]ard|DCer of the Month - October 2005

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    I'm using an LSI SAS3442E-R connected to my HP SAS expander (via an SFF-8484 to SFF-8087 cable), and everything works fine. I have 6 Hitachi disks connected, and can get ~400 MB/s of traffic to them while using ZFS.
     
  8. odditory

    odditory [H]ardness Supreme

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    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  9. novadude

    novadude [H]ard|Gawd

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    Try connecting port 9c to the controller as well.
    Are all cables on 2C-7C are the same length?
     
  10. odditory

    odditory [H]ardness Supreme

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    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  11. novadude

    novadude [H]ard|Gawd

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    If you have a breakout cable you might try that to cut out the HP->Norco backplane connection, or update the expander's/5805's firmwares if it's not the most recent. Other than that you might have an incompatibility between the controller and expander, or maybe the HP expander is tied to HP systems somehow.
     
  12. odditory

    odditory [H]ardness Supreme

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    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  13. BENN0

    BENN0 [H]Lite

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    Is there any other way of seeing (in the OS) the card is installed?
    I bought a used card from eBay and some cheap SAS cables from China but the expander does not show up in the HP Smart Array Manager (I have a HP P410 card) and it also does not show any drives I attach to it (I tried my Seagate 2TB LP's and a WD drive).
    The HP firmware update CD also does not detect the expander card (it does detect the P410).
    I've tried connecting it to the P410 with one and two SAS cables.

    The only sign of life I get is 4 of the small led's turning green so at least it is taking power from the PCIe slot.
     
  14. unhappy_mage

    unhappy_mage [H]ard|DCer of the Month - October 2005

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    I think mine is reporting 1.00. Here's what I get from 'prtconf -v' for it:
    Code:
    ses, instance #5
        Hardware properties:
            name='inquiry-revision-id' type=string items=1
                value='1.00'
            name='inquiry-product-id' type=string items=1
                value='HP SAS EXP Card'
    You could try prtconf, lspci, or lshw.
     
  15. pjkenned

    pjkenned [H]ard|Gawd

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    I just ordered one. What the heck. If it works... that would be great port count. Will test with the various hardware I have (although odditory clearly has many more drives/adapters to play with).
     
  16. odditory

    odditory [H]ardness Supreme

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    who did you order from? i'm starting to think there's a guy on ebay selling junk cards based on feedback from BENN0 and my own findings. I ordered one off amazon for way too much which I'll likely return, just to have a known working card to be able to compare to. i should know tomorrow/wednesday if there's a certain ebay seller to be avoiding.
     
  17. pjkenned

    pjkenned [H]ard|Gawd

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    I did the ebay guy that is selling them for $200. I have probably 4-5 different cards to try it on.. We'll see what happens. If the three of us bought from the same person, and none of ours work, then we know something is fishy.
     
  18. alamone

    alamone Gawd

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    Are most people buying these off ebay? Are regular e-tailer channels or HP selling them directly? Is the Chenbro SAS expander still hard to find, which is why people are getting the HP instead? I special ordered mine from Provantage - it was rather hard to find in stock anywhere. I heard that they were coming out with the SAS 2.0 version which is why they might not be replenishing stock.
     
  19. SeanG

    SeanG n00bie

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    Just came across this thread from AVSForum. I have an HP SAS expander hooked up via the external port to one of the ports on a 3ware 9690SA-8E card. It sees my eight 2TB Hitachis just fine. I've copied large amounts of data back and forth to the array (RAID 5 for testing) with no problems.

    Now as expected, the performance isn't all that great since 3ware controllers aren't exactly top performers (although very reliable in the past 6 years of using them). I have an Areca ARC-1680ix-12 coming in soon to see what performance I can get out of it.

    Also, as a side note I did a little test trying to maximize the amount of drives I can hook up to this expander. I originally had the eight 2TB HDs hooked up to ports 0-7 with no problem. I was curious what would happen if used ports 8C and 9C. The 3ware controller still sees the drives listed under ports "PHY 255". I wonder if I can get 32 drives recoginized? Unfortunately I dont have enough drives to test with.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  20. BENN0

    BENN0 [H]Lite

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    The only other thing I can think of is that a (very) old firmware revision of the card does not support SATA300 drives. I think I read something along those lines somewhere but I'll have to see if I can find the release notes for the firmwares.
    If you have SATA150 drives or are able to jumper a drive into SATA150 mode maybe that is something to try.

    Edit: from the release notes here:

    "Support for 6GB SAS / 3GB SATA HDD" seems to be added as of firmware version 1.52 (released August 7th 2009).
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  21. BENN0

    BENN0 [H]Lite

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    For what it's worth, it seems that this (PM8005 SXP) PMC Sierra chip is being used on the HP SAS Expander card and their PM8011 SRC on the new Smart Array controllers like the P212, P410, and P411.
     
  22. wonslung

    wonslung n00bie

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    I was just pointed to this thread, sorry starting another thread when i should have used this one.


    Anyways, I'm wondering if anyone using this card has found a power adapter for it (or made one) which doesn't require using a motherboard. I've read elsewhere that this card only uses the pci-e slot for power and nothing else. If this is true it should be possible to use the card in norco 4020 or 4220 cases to create a big box o disks without a motherboard.

    This is what i'd like to do. Thanks for any info.
     
  23. SeanG

    SeanG n00bie

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    Although I haven't tried it, I suggested using a PICMG backplane to power the HP SAS expander card. Eventually, I'd like to do the same with 2 additional Norco cases (when will they come out with the 4224?). See this link for more info.
     
  24. wonslung

    wonslung n00bie

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    I found your reply just now where you linked this:

    http://www.orbitmicro.com/global/pe-2sd1-r10-p-9375.html

    that looks like it would work....but now i'm confused..what exactly is this designed for? It's powered by 20+4 ? crazy.

    Seems like a pretty good deal at 42 bucks....i'd be really interested in hearing from someone who's done this.

    Thanks again for the link
     
  25. unhappy_mage

    unhappy_mage [H]ard|DCer of the Month - October 2005

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    I got mine from "the-value-store", and it works fine. It was a little less than $100 shipped.
     
  26. SeanG

    SeanG n00bie

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    They're designed for PICMG computers on a card. Basically, these are entire motherboards (Core2Duo, Xeons, etc) on a card and you plug it into one of these backplanes that has the slot configuration you're looking for. If you look at the one I linked to above, there is one long slot. That's for the PICMG card. PICMG is the standard for these computers on a card. They're up to v1.3 now. The backplanes have the power connector for the entire setup.

    I have a few of these machines at work that is plugged into an 11 slot backplane for an industrial use inkjet printer that mass prints envelopes - a couple of thousands in a minute. The setup has all sorts of cards to make it work and this was the only way to build a machine with that many slots. They're very common for industrial use. Unfortunately, the ones I have are older with PCI/ISA backplanes.
     
  27. wonslung

    wonslung n00bie

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  28. odditory

    odditory [H]ardness Supreme

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    Finally I"m getting somewhere. After receiving my second non-working card from the ebay source, I sprung for a new retail unit off Amazon just to be able to rule out the card as the source of my problem and be able to do baseline testing. Will update the OP with photos but basically the newer cards have a green PCB and a large heatsink, the old cards have a yellow PCB and small heatsink. My yellow PCB cards both had firmware v0.20

    The green PCB had v1.52, and of course no surprise all 20 of my Hitachi 2Tb drives appeared right away, attached to the SFF8088 port on my Areca 1680.

    So for now I'd advise against buying any units with the older yellow PCB until we can do more testing, or can confirm if both cards have the same chip, or someone finds out if the older card can be flashed to newest firmware, if it requires an HP P410 for flashing, etc.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  29. BENN0

    BENN0 [H]Lite

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    I also have a yellow PCB Expander card. I cannot determine the firmware version on it however as it is simply not seen by my HP P410 RAID controller.
    Maybe I need to downgrade the array controller firmware (I'd rather not though) to be able to update the SAS Expander card.
    The HP site only mentions version 1.5.2 from august 2009 as oldest firmware version for the SAS Expander card.

    Edit: depending on how you interpret the release notes it seems you indeed need at least firmware 1.52 on the SAS Expander card and you need a firmware revision before 2.00 on the HP Smart Array controller to be able to update the SAS Expander from a version below 1.52 to 1.52 or later. Might give this a try tonight.

    Edit2: I've posted on the HP forum and also opened a service call with HP support. Let's see what that brings.

    Edit3: Well I downgraded my P410 controller to version 1.66 (it wouldn't let me install the oldest available version; 1.58(B), didn't try any other versions) and that didn't help with firmware updating or even recognising the yellow PCB SAS Expander card either. It is possible updating the firmware for the SAS Expander card is only supported in compatible HP systems (although I'm able to install and firmware upgrade all other Smart Array related tools on non HP hardware).
    HP support isn't being helpful either, claiming my P410 is out of warranty (didn't they only become available last summer?).
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  30. SeanG

    SeanG n00bie

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    My SAS card is also green with the large heatsink. I did not get it from eBay tho, but from the HP vendor we deal with at work. It was cheaper than the eBay prices from a few months ago, but not cheaper than the current ebay prices now.

    @Odditory, could you check to see if you're getting 1.5 or 3.0 Gbps to your drives via the expander? My 3ware controller is also hooked up via the SFF8088 connector but it says 1.5 Gbps. I did see your message on the Hitachi 2TB owners post about checking to see if the drive is set to 3Gbps. I will have to do that tonight but I suspect they are since my drives were manufactured after November.
     
  31. pjkenned

    pjkenned [H]ard|Gawd

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    Has anyone tried the green PCB expander with the Adaptec 5805? I'm debating whether to pick up a P410 today so I can get the controller situation finalized.
     
  32. odditory

    odditory [H]ardness Supreme

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    Updated post #1 with side-by-side comparison of both versions of card and some notes.

    @SeanG: I'm getting 3.0Gbps between the drives and the Areca 1680 card. That's with a 4-lane SFF-8088 to SFF-8088 connection. If I connect 2 x SFF-8087 to SFF-8087 cables between Areca 1680 and HP expander, the interlink runs at 6Gbps, but the drives are obviously still just 3Gbps. It just means the interlink is double the bandwidth by using both input ports on the expander card. I'll post benchmarks to show difference between 3Gbps and 6Gbps interlink speeds- its minimal.

    @pjkenned: I'm testing and benchmarking an assortment of cards in a bit, including the Adaptec 5805. I've read plenty of other reports about it working.
     
  33. giza

    giza n00bie

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    Hey odditory. I am following you around on the net. I saw your post on AVSForum and it is what made me build my server. I have a similar setup to what you have:

    Supermicro SC846TQ chassis
    10x2TB Hitachi HDDs
    areca 1680ix 24 port controller

    What I would like to do is take my old 11x1TB Seagate drives and add them to another chassis and connect via the SFF-8088 port from the areca controller. I know some of the parts that I need to make this happen:

    Supermicro SC846E1-R900B
    Supermicro Power Control Card CSE-PTJBOD-CB1
    Supermicro Cable-0166L SAS EL2/EL1 Cascading Cable
    Supermicro CBL-0167L - Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) internal cable - 2.3 ft (???)

    My question is if I went with the HP SAS card, I shouldn't need the CBL-0167L cable correct? Also, have you connected any Seagate drive to the HP SAS card? If so, did you experience any issues?

    Mainly what I would like to do is have two chassis: 1 with 2TB drive and the other with 1TB drives. The chassis with 2TB drive has the MB, controller, processors, etc. The other chassis only has the drives, power control card, and what ever else I need to connect it to the areca controller to recognize the HDDs. Please, please, please help me with the parts list. I would rather not have to return parts because of my STUPIDITY when doing something that I have not done before. Thx.:confused:

    NOTE: This is a link to my build log on AVS if you want to add any comments there regarding the necessary parts needed to accomplish what I am trying to accomplish: AVS Build Log
     
  34. novadude

    novadude [H]ard|Gawd

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    You've got 14 open drive sleds in your current case and you want to drop ~$1,500 on buying a second case to add 11 old 1tb drives?

    Just take the money you'd put towards buying all of that into more 2tb drives and sell off those 1tb drives to fund even more 2tb drives.
     
  35. alamone

    alamone Gawd

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    I'm assuming he's getting that 2nd case at a discount. If not, then yeah, I'd suggest the same thing - either selling the 1TBs, using them as JBODs (like big floppies), or getting a cheaper case (Norco).

    For what it's worth, the 1TB seagates I have do work with my Chenbro SAS expander. However, they are only detected properly on a cold startup of the SAS expander. If I try to hotswap them in, they aren't detected. The HP might behave differently but I'd be cautious before plunking down money.

    Moreover, there's a few different model numbers for the 1TBs. I have the older drives, so the newer drives might have broken (or fixed) SAS expander compatibility. I wouldn't really count on the latter because my 1.5TB and 2.0TB seagate drives don't play well with the SAS expander.
     
  36. giza

    giza n00bie

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    I would sell the 1TB HDDs, but the thing is to find a buyer; plus I have an areca 1230 controller that I would also have to sell. I am able to get the chassis at a discounted price. Maybe I will take your advice and see if I can find someone to buy the 1TB HDDs and just finish off the first chassis with 2TB Hitachi drives.
     
  37. pjkenned

    pjkenned [H]ard|Gawd

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    Any updates... maybe with 5805 compatibility (mine arrives on Monday so I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting)
     
  38. mikesm

    mikesm Limp Gawd

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    It works great with my 5085. No problems at all.

    BTW, I would like to move this to a system with a server motherboard in it, but it only has a x4 slot free. Does anyone know what pins the power is fed from the pci-e connector with? From the x1 side (close to the rear of the case where the i/o shield is), or the x8 side (closer to the front panel of the server)? I figure I could dremel off the x8 piece so it'd fit the x4 slot if no power was being fed from the extra pins.

    If this works, I could get into the hp sas expander modding business I guess... :)
     
  39. pjkenned

    pjkenned [H]ard|Gawd

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    Jan 8, 2010
    Great! I do have a 4 -> 8 riser which works with raid cards

    Another option is to dremel out the back of a x4 slot. Slightly scary, but people do it.
     
  40. mikesm

    mikesm Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    178
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Ah, you put the raid card in the x4 slot that way, and free up the x8 slot for the expander. I never thought about that.