RAID Expansion - Multiple PCIe Raid controllers on one Mobo?


[H]ard DCOTM March 2022
Apr 30, 2006
I currently have an openfiler setup with multiple RAID arrays on a Areca 1231ML 12 port card. These are all in a lga775 setup on a Norco -4220. My question is: Can I add an additional PCIe 8x Raid card (LSI 9260-8i), on the same mobo (The 2x PCIe 16x will be occupied by 2 diff RAID Controllers), to add 8 more drives?
If so, can I divert video to a cheap PCI gpu, since both PCIe lanes will be occupied by 2 diff controllers?

Btw, OS is in a separate IDE drive, outside of raid controllers...
Supporting multiple RAID cards should be fine, although you may run out of option rom (but as you are not booting from RAID, you can turn off option rom for each card if your bios supports this). As for using PCI instead of PCIe for video, I think it would depend on your mobo's bios. You might find it easier to change the mobo for one with on-board video.

For about the same money as a 9260-8i you could get a supermicro server motherboard with on board LSI SAS and basic (i.e. ok for a server) video. You wouldn't have the same features (cache, SSD options like FastPath & CacheCade, maybe expander support) but you would still be able to get 8 more drives.
Hypothetically, if you have a RAID controller that you configure drives attached to it in any RAID array, then disable the onboard option ROM, will the card still function as a it did if the option ROM was enabled?
The problem is, I can't find any lga775 mobo, with at least 2x PCIe 16x (2 * 8x) with onboard video that can support regular ddr2 (non-ECC)... If there is, I'd be happy to get that mobo :D
If you have an old PCI card hanging about i'd try fitting it and seeing what happens. It should work but IIRC some bioses screw things up.
BTW I would see if you can make the second RAID card an Areca as well. The main benefit of this is that your raidsets would work on either card in case you need to move things around. Also I seem to recal from the manual saying you can span raidsets across cards as well.
Also I seem to recal from the manual saying you can span raidsets across cards as well.
You cannot do that with Areca cards.

To answer the original question however, you can pretty much have as many drive controllers as you want. I've had multiple Areca cards in one system along with a mix of LSI and Areca. Also, for the price of the linked board, you should consider upgrading to 1156 and selling your processor and memory (which I presume you have). Would be far more cost effective.
I once had an Adaptec 5805 w/ 8x 15k rpm 2.5" SAS droves, an Adaptec 3085 w/ 6 15K RPM 3.5" SAS drives, and a 31605 w/ 12x 1.5TB SATA drives for tiered storage in my main rig so it shouldn't be an issue.

I would also say getting a Supermicro (F) board with built in SAS would be a good idea especially if you are using OpenFiler sw RAID. You could sell the Areca too and buy a HP SAS expander to go along with the onboard SAS too.
I appreciate all the comments posted in this thread :) I've decided to go with the mobo suggestion that was posted above, since it would be the most cost-effective solution given the situation I have.

As with sw raid on Openfiler, I've thought about that before my initial setup, and decided to go hw, although more expensive!, since it somewhat offers more performance and reliability .
Also I seem to recal from the manual saying you can span raidsets across cards as well.

Like BlueFox said, you cannot. However in a scenario where you had really fast disks, you could aggregate two cards by setting up a hybrid RAID50 or RAID60 by way of creating a RAID5/6 array on each card, then combining (striping) them with software RAID0 in the host O/S. Law of diminishing returns kicks in though because the more disks you add to an array, the more inefficiency is created -- it doesn't scale linearly.

There are very few scenarios that benefit from hybrid software/hardware arrays that aggregate multiple RAID cards however, because newer SAS RAID cards keeping upping the bar in IOPS capability of the RoC. As spinning disks and SSD's have gotten faster, so have RoC's. LSI's SAS2208 based cards are right around the corner with a claimed 400,000 IOPS and dualcore PPC - lock up your women & children.
Last edited: