Looking for a good SAS controller


May 22, 2021
Hi all, I was wondering if the smart folks here would be able to suggest a controller card for me.

I have a bunch of mechanical WD Green, Red, and Purple drives that I'd like to hook up to my Windows 10 machine. Eventually I'd like to be able to use it with one of the popular SAS expanders or a SAS enclosure, but initially I'd like to use it only for disks. I'm not going to be using all the disks at the same time - they're mostly archives: collections of files, music, movies, stuff like that. It would be nice if it supported SATA600, but I am not sure that is necessary given the types of drives I'm connecting. I'd like for it to have some external ports as well as internal - external for hooking up to an eventual expander or enclosure. My PC is currently sitting on its motherboard box on a shelf, everything's free-standing, so I'm not too fussed about how the wires are going to be run right now. And I'd like the adapter to work on pcie x1 and have compatibility with Windows 10 21H1. The more ports the better - 8 internal SATA ports would be used up right away, so I'd like to have a bit more. 16 or 24 if possible. I'd also like to be able to mount the drives from within a Linux VM (not sure if that makes any sort of difference). I'd like to spend around $200 at most, but hoping for something like $50-$100. What should I be looking out for?

To recap:

Usage: bunch of mechanical drives containing music and movies, using one drive at a time for the most part

Must have:
- SAS expander capability
- Compatibility with Windows 10 21H1
- works in pcie x1
- budget: up to ~$200

- better than 8 SATA ports if possible inexpensively
- SATA600 not exactly necessary but good
- External SAS ports if possible


Jul 31, 2009
So...you ask for quite a lot of easy to get stuff, and then it has to be PCIe x1. That's the big hitch. For the most options of the best stuff, you need x8 (even if it's a smaller open-ended PCIe slot that could fit the card). But at x1, I found you one option that fits everything:

Adaptec 6405E and here is an SAS expander to go with it. Don't forget to buy cables. Since your MB is unprotected on a shelf, you can get an SFF-8087 (internal) to SFF-8088 (external) cable if you need.

The SAS card linked is essentially your only option and has basic support for 4 drives. It is SAS2 (i.e. SATA600 supported), but the connection is PCIe 2.0, so theoretical max speed is 500MBps. You can also get one new for $250 (Narrator: it's not new.) If Windows 10 doesn't recognize it automatically (it should), drivers are available.

The expander is also one of your very few options without going over budget, and it isn't cheap to boot. It is also only SATA300, which you won't notice. The limitation with expanders is that most of them require PCIe slots for power (this one uses a regular 4 pin molex), or use proprietary power plugs that can only be found inside the designated servers they were designed for (as in the case of the good and cheap Dells). Despite the description it is 20 ports. Of the external ports, the top is an alternate input and the bottom is an output. Expanders can be daisy-chained for even more ports (128 drives is the 6405e's limit), but ultimately goes through that single link on the host card.

If, on the other hand, you can free up a PCIe x8 slot, 16-drive cards (internal and/or external ports) are readily available for less than this combo.