which adapter for additional SATA ports?

x509

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I have a system built around an ASUS P79 Pro motherboard. Full specs in my sig below.

The board includes 6 Intel-based SATA ports and 2 Marvell-based SATA ports. All my Intel-based SATA ports are in use, but I need to add 2 or 3 more hard drives or eSATA ports to my system. I have heard so many bad things about Marvell SATA controllers that I'm willing to spend some reasonable money to get a third-party adapter for more ports.

Question is: which adapter? I don't need onboard hardware RAID at this moment. I'm OK to buy used off eBay, but I would like to get a board from a vendor who does a great job of driver support.

Thanks in advance.

x509
 

Jim G

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M1015 or 9201-8i/other equivalent in IT mode - 8 ports total, no RAID, very fast, compatible with just about everything under the sun. Not terribly expensive and is just plug-and-play.
 

devil22

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In my experience the Marvell controller on my board (P9X79 WS) is fine, I've used it since I got this board when it first came out (was it 2011?), what I've gathered is that the advanced RAID, etc. management features are not as good as intel, and then of course some have the usual hardware problems because after all anything on a mobo can fail. I was also looking for SATA expansion, because I have used all mine, the highpoint cards on newegg caught my attention, good thorough reviews and such. Like this one, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816115114 - never bought one, but imo you'd want at least PCI-e x4 to have some bandwidth to play with, maybe x8 if you want to RAID SSDs one day.
 

drescherjm

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M1015 or 9201-8i/other equivalent in IT mode - 8 ports total, no RAID, very fast, compatible with just about everything under the sun. Not terribly expensive and is just plug-and-play.

This is also my recommendation. Look for refirbshed LSI 92XX SAS cards on eBay (usually these are pulls from server sales). These are much better than anything from Highpoint.

Here is a site that will explain the LSI SAS cards:
http://www.servethehome.com/lsi-sas-2008-raid-controller-hba-information/
 
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kirbyrj

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I agree...I grabbed a used 9211-8i flashed it to IT mode and it picks up drives no problem. Good for SATA3 and no issues with large HDD sizes.
 

hrana

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M1015 or 9201-8i/other equivalent in IT mode - 8 ports total, no RAID, very fast, compatible with just about everything under the sun. Not terribly expensive and is just plug-and-play.

I, too, support this course of action. Just follow one of the tutorials online to get it flashed to IT mode. Make sure it has the correct bracket for your case. Pick up the cables from Monoprice.
 

x509

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This is also my recommendation. Look for refirbshed LSI 92XX SAS cards on eBay (usually these are pulls from server sales). These are much better than anything from Highpoint.

Here is a site that will explain the LSI SAS cards:
http://www.servethehome.com/lsi-sas-2008-raid-controller-hba-information/

I am the OP, and I'm pretty tech savvy, having built lots of machines since 1989, including a bunch with SCSI back in the day. :) However, I'm not an enterprise IT guy (even though I worked at Sun Microsystems), and I don't want to have to deal with SAS/SATA issues.

Also, the prices on some of these LSI cards are more than what I want to spend, to be honest. It's not just me, it's also my "chief financial officer." :D The Highpoint board mentioned in another post is probably what I will end up with.
 

Jim G

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I am the OP, and I'm pretty tech savvy, having built lots of machines since 1989, including a bunch with SCSI back in the day. :) However, I'm not an enterprise IT guy (even though I worked at Sun Microsystems), and I don't want to have to deal with SAS/SATA issues.

Also, the prices on some of these LSI cards are more than what I want to spend, to be honest. It's not just me, it's also my "chief financial officer." :D The Highpoint board mentioned in another post is probably what I will end up with.

What SAS/SATA issues? These cards are used in so many home setups it's not funny with no issues. Can't refute the budget issue, though!

...I will say, though, that anything I have ever used which cost less than the $100-odd a M1015 does has been significantly worse, either in terms of performance, reliability, driver/OS support or various other areas (have used Highpoint before, won't again). I can't imagine that they would be any better than your existing Marvell ports.
 

x509

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What SAS/SATA issues? These cards are used in so many home setups it's not funny with no issues.

I guess it's not clear to me how SATA and SAS can work from the same card. Back in my SCSI days, I had to pay very careful attention to things like termination, different kinds of SCSI connectors, SCSI IDs,etc. What I like about SATA is that none of those items are issues. I don't miss the days of serial port and parallel port addresses and IRQs either.

Can't refute the budget issue, though!

Always a concern, cost vs. benefit. In this case, the "benefit" would be to add some eSATA ports, which I would use very intermittently.

...I will say, though, that anything I have ever used which cost less than the $100-odd a M1015 does has been significantly worse, either in terms of performance, reliability, driver/OS support or various other areas (have used Highpoint before, won't again). I can't imagine that they would be any better than your existing Marvell ports.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by the above. Are you saying that the "price of admission" for good SATA performance is $100+? If so, please see what I wrote just above.
 

kirbyrj

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The cards mentioned (LSI 2008 variants) don't need any special configuration to work with SATA. They just work. If you flash the card to IT mode, the motherboard will pick it up as another controller in your system and you don't even have to configure anything. Just install the driver and you're good to go.

I'll be the first to admit I know nothing about SCSI, but I got one of these running with 8 SATA drives in about a half hour (most of that figuring out how to flash it in an EFI shell).

The reason people keep suggesting these cards is because it seems to be one of the only worthwhile upgrades to the Marvell controller onboard. A lot of the cheaper controllers have Marvell chips on them anyway.
 

kirbyrj

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You can get LSI cards for $88 on eBay. They are easily the best cards. The stability, performance, and reliability of them is greater than the other brands like HighPoint, SuperMicro, Marvel, Silicon Image.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/LSI-Interna...sk_Controllers_RAID_Cards&hash=item3a8f2b29fa

It even comes with IT mode already so there is no flashing to worry about.

that one is a low profile bracket...just want to make sure you get one with right bracket or else you're shelling out extra bucks.
 

jordan12

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that one is a low profile bracket...just want to make sure you get one with right bracket or else you're shelling out extra bucks.


So helping out the OPO with this question, but if you to go buy a card right now for what he needs, which specific card would you get?
 

kirbyrj

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So helping out the OPO with this question, but if you to go buy a card right now for what he needs, which specific card would you get?

Same card...just make sure you get one with the regular profile bracket if going in a regular desktop. Usually sellers will sell both versions.
 

jordan12

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Same card...just make sure you get one with the regular profile bracket if going in a regular desktop. Usually sellers will sell both versions.


And you mentioned IT mode. How does this support it without flashing? Is there a switch for it or something like that?
 

drescherjm

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There is software to flash the 2 firmware files. This can be done in linux or dos. I am not sure about windows I have done all of my lsi sas flashing under linux.
 

kirbyrj

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There is software to flash the 2 firmware files. This can be done in linux or dos. I am not sure about windows I have done all of my lsi sas flashing under linux.

I've only flashed under the EFI shell and it wasn't too hard to figure it out as long as your motherboard has an EFI shell built in (9211, not the 9201...similar cards).
 

drescherjm

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Just noting that this card is
1) PCI, not PCIe :(
2) SATA I interfaces, both internal and external :(

You are wrong on both.

That card is PCIe not PCI.

And it is not SATA I. It supports 8 internal SAS / SATA III ports.
 

esiuda

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I had the exact same motherboard, and had no problems with the Marvel SATA ports.

Just remember that you can NOT boot from them, and they did not support optical. But they worked great otherwise.
 

kirbyrj

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I had the exact same motherboard, and had no problems with the Marvel SATA ports.

Just remember that you can NOT boot from them, and they did not support optical. But they worked great otherwise.

I don't know how either one of those things is possible as long as you have the right driver installed, you should be able to do whatever you want with the ports. Booting is a simple matter of pointing to the marvell controller in bios as your boot device. It's just a 91XX chip. You can buy them for $20 as PCIe x1 add-on boards from Newegg (I have one for SATA/IDE).
 

Kelvarr

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I picked up a couple of Dell PERC H310, and then flashed them to a LSI 9211-8 IT. Got them for $38 each on ebay.

One tip though when flashing...make sure you do it on a machine that has a BIOS, instead of a machine that has EFI/UEFI. I couldn't even get started until I did that.
 

PHASER8

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I second the M1015, cross flash for IT mode.

In terms of SAS/SATA, just buy a fan-out cable and you're pretty much good to go. SAS might be Serial Attached SCSI, but it doesn't come with all the difficulties of traditional SCSI including terminators and such. Make sure to buy the right cable, in your case you'll be looking for a forward breakout cable.

Just don't mix SAS/SATA on the same back-plane if going for a SAN approach.
 
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