Question: What's the card for 16 internal SATA 3tb?

PRIMEZ

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Jun 9, 2013
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It seems to me that most of the popular raid cards you discussed is 8i. Can anyone give me a quick answer please?
 

Terry Kennedy

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It seems to me that most of the popular raid cards you discussed is 8i. Can anyone give me a quick answer please?
If you want just a HBA (no on-board RAID), the 9201-16i is probably the best solution. Note that the external (-16e) version is often available used for a lot less money - some people are buying those and using a SAS bulkhead connector and cables to get the ports back into the chassis.

Personally, I like the neatness of custom internal cables on a -16i card:

 

PRIMEZ

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Jun 9, 2013
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If you want just a HBA (no on-board RAID), the 9201-16i is probably the best solution. Note that the external (-16e) version is often available used for a lot less money - some people are buying those and using a SAS bulkhead connector and cables to get the ports back into the chassis.

Personally, I like the neatness of custom internal cables on a -16i card:

Like it your way. But eBay give me $60 for 16e $350 for 16i. :-(
 

ttabbal

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Mar 10, 2016
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Sometimes you don't have space for them, but 2 8i cards is usually much cheaper than even a 16e + cables/adapters. Sucks, but 8i's are so plentiful that they are dirt cheap.
 

Sleyk

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Mar 25, 2016
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True dat on the 8i/8e cards Ttabbal. The 9201 16i's are ridiculously expensive. Its just like Terry Kennedy said, some people buy the 16e and 8088 to 8087 adapters and route those bad boys back inside the case. I was contemplating this me-self, but seemed too messy. Although, with alittle work, this could be a neat and cheaper solution.

Another card I actually recommend, which goes for about $100 cheaper than the 9201 16i is the Marvell/Syba PEX40097 for about $200. Amazon has them pretty much all the time.

The card has 4 Marvell 9215 controllers onboard. Each controller supports 4 drives for a max of 16. The Marvell 9215 is a good little "2nd gen" controller and can do 3TB+ drives. The card also works in a x4 pcie 2.0 slot which I absolutely love. That means, if you only got a x4, and no x8 slots, you are still good with this card. Less bandwidth no doubt, but the card is quite useful and a $100 bucks cheaper. I found this one awhile ago when I set out to find a cheaper 16 port 2nd gen hba than the 9201 16i. Just something to consider.

See here my friends:

Amazon.com: IO Crest 16 Port SAS PCIe 2.0 x 4 Controller Card Components SI-PEX40097: Computers & Accessories
 
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Terry Kennedy

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The 9201 16i's are ridiculously expensive.
A lot depends on the percentage of the total system cost. If you're using 16 * 8TB SAS drives like I do, the controller cost is such a small part of the system cost that it doesn't matter (to me, at least). On the other hand, if you're using drives like the 450GB for $15 drives in the great deals forum, then the controller costs more than a set of 16 drives.
Its just like Terry Kennedy said, some people buy the 16e and 8088 to 8087 adapters and route those bad boys back inside the case. I was contemplating this me-self, but seemed too messy. Although, with alittle work, this could be a neat and cheaper solution.
Another possibility is to use a expander backplane (assuming SAS controller / expander / drives). If you aren't using SSDs there should be plenty of bandwidth on eash SAS port. And if you have a chassis that holds more than 16 drives, you're probably going to use an expander anyway. I don't use SATA drives on SAS expanders (I do use SATA drives directly cabled to the controller when necessary). I've had too many problems with SATA drives and SAS expanders - even if the issues are fixed in some newer hardware, I've been burned too many times before to be willing to try it again. The issue is that everything works fine most of the time, but when a drive acts up, the expander just goes "resets for everybody!" and all of the drives drop offline.
Another card I actually recommend, which goes for about $100 cheaper than the 9201 16i is the Marvell/Syba PEX40097 for about $200. Amazon has them pretty much all the time.
A couple of things to note:
  • Despite the Amazon description, this is a SATA controller, not SAS. SAS controllers will talk to SATA drives, but SATA controllers don't know what to do with SAS drives.
  • This is four 4-port controller chips behind a PCIe expander. That isn't necessarily bad (the LSI SAS 9300-16i has a pair of 8-port controller chips behind an expander). The combination of the expander and 4 PCIe lanes may limit throughput depending on the motherboard (for example, one with PCIe v1).
  • The LSI controllers have excellent driver/utility support on many operating systems. Aside from some problems with the P20 firmware (which have been fixed), the LSI firmware / drivers have been rock solid. I don't have any experience with the Marvell controllers, so I can't comment on their firmware / driver reliability.
 

Sleyk

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Mar 25, 2016
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Yeah, Marvell controllers used to be quite horrible, but they have improved greatly. I use a couple of the pcie x 1 versions of the 16 port card in my htpc.

You're right about the SAS expander issue though Terry. Should only use them if thats the setup your going for. I personally like to have all my drives connected to a port each on their own. As for the Marvell card, as long as the op (Primez) is using sata drives, the Marvell card should be ok though. Notwithstanding the price......still cheaper than $350, but you still gotta cough up $200 bucks, and all for alot less bandwidth. I do love the card though. My brother got one for his server.

If I had to vote, I would be going with the 9201 16e and buying this bad boy to route the ports back inside my case:

Mini SAS SFF-8088 to SFF-8087 Adapter 4 port Quad port, w/standard PCI L bracket

Now,

lsi 9201 16e = $50 (Seller will take $50 best offer. Thanks to Nthu9280's awesome info)

LSI Quad Port 6Gb/s PCI-E SAS Host Bus Adapter SAS9201-16e (7340)

+ quad port sff 8088 to 8087 adapter = $100

Mini SAS SFF-8088 to SFF-8087 Adapter 4 port Quad port, w/standard PCI L bracket

+ four sff 8088 cables = $38 (if you search around, may find it cheaper. I like the short length though)

Molex SFF-8088 0.5M 19 Inch Mini SAS External Cable 407344-001 408765-001

Total = $188 bucks. Cheaper than the Marvell card, and still getting great bandwidth on the x8 slot. Also, Lsi's excellent OS support.

9201-16e it is!

Wait, that is, if you got a x8 slot, and a spare pci bracket area available to mount the quad port adapter in your case/chassis....
 

pgh5278

Active Member
Oct 25, 2012
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Yeah, Marvell controllers used to be quite horrible, but they have improved greatly. I use a couple of the pcie x 1 versions of the 16 port card in my htpc.

You're right about the SAS expander issue though Terry. Should only use them if thats the setup your going for. I personally like to have all my drives connected to a port each on their own. As for the Marvell card, as long as the op (Primez) is using sata drives, the Marvell card should be ok though. Notwithstanding the price......still cheaper than $350, but you still gotta cough up $200 bucks, and all for alot less bandwidth. I do love the card though. My brother got one for his server.

If I had to vote, I would be going with the 9201 16e and buying this bad boy to route the ports back inside my case:

Mini SAS SFF-8088 to SFF-8087 Adapter 4 port Quad port, w/standard PCI L bracket

Now,

lsi 9201 16e = $50 (Seller will take $50 best offer. Thanks to Nthu9280's awesome info)

LSI Quad Port 6Gb/s PCI-E SAS Host Bus Adapter SAS9201-16e (7340)

+ quad port sff 8088 to 8087 adapter = $100

Mini SAS SFF-8088 to SFF-8087 Adapter 4 port Quad port, w/standard PCI L bracket

+ four sff 8088 cables = $38 (if you search around, may find it cheaper. I like the short length though)

Molex SFF-8088 0.5M 19 Inch Mini SAS External Cable 407344-001 408765-001

Total = $188 bucks. Cheaper than the Marvell card, and still getting great bandwidth on the x8 slot. Also, Lsi's excellent OS support.

9201-16e it is!

Wait, that is, if you got a x8 slot, and a spare pci bracket area available to mount the quad port adapter in your case/chassis....
A simpler method maybe to use 4 @ sff 8087 to sff 8088 cables , very common and cheap, this was just a very quick search to get these 2., ( 1m @$15) and ( 2m @$32) available, please excuse me, if my agricultural engineering is too primitive, just using KIS
Mini SAS 26P to Mini SAS 36P SFF-8088 to SFF-8087-1 Meter

78" External SAS (SFF-8088) M to Internal Mini SAS (SFF-8087) M Cable, SAS-AE78C
 

ttabbal

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Mar 10, 2016
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I also found some SFF-8088 -> 4x SATA/SAS breakout cables on ebay. If you don't mind just having the cables loop back into the box and you aren't using an expander backplane.
 

Sleyk

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Mar 25, 2016
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Stamford, CT
Yeah, I like the cables you guys posted, as it goes straight to the box and to the drives, but it would look so messy no?

....functionality vs appearance....

Can definitely work if you need it done quick and dirty.

If you are just going for a quick cheap solution, then yes, the 16e card with a few of those bad boys can work. If you need a solution in a hurry, then yeah I would be going for that too.

But ultimately, you wanna make your setup look nice right? But i know, i know, depends on the buyer. Some people care about that, some don't. I must say though, any solution like this should give the same result though. Was just going for the clean look, but hey, for $188 bucks, you can get 2 lsi 9201 16e cards and the cables you guys just posted. No need for aesthetics there. The 2nd card is well preferred over the appearance of the back of the chassis.

Here, functionality certainly wins!