SAS Backplane for DIY Workstation

Oddworld

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Jan 16, 2018
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Is there a recommended SAS2 (or SAS3) backplane for DIY workstation builds?

  • 4 drives preferred. 8 would be awesome (if that's possible)
  • 3.5" drives preferred. If not, then 2.5 would be interesting
  • Installed within regular ATX or large ATX case
  • ATX or CEB motherboard cases, like the Asus X99-E WS and Asus X99-WS/IPMI
  • Likely to use an M1015 in IT mode (port SFF-8087)
  • Powered by traditional, consumer ATX power supplies

Thanks for your time
 

TLN

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Feb 26, 2016
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I'm afraid you'll have to buy some case and mod into your own. You can get Intel or HP LFF cages on ebay for example. There's CS381 case with two SAS-HD and two power connectors for 8 drives total. Makes a clean build, but case cost arm and a leg.
 

Oddworld

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Jan 16, 2018
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I'm not opposed to Frankenstein. Do the LFF cages use regular ATX power connectors? One issue I've found in the past is that those cages used HP proprietary pinouts. Any links you can share?
 

TLN

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I know for sure that cage in CS381 is perfect for frankenstein: takes two cables (power + MiniSAS-HD) per four drives. Way to got for a clean(and cool build). Cages in my TS700 server for example take four SATA cables and I believe two power connectors per four drives.
I was looking at some HP or Intel LFF cages. I'll try to find link on ebay.
 

itronin

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Nov 24, 2018
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IMO Good non-case mod options:

SFF
Supermicro CSE-M28SACB-OEM typically anywhere from $150-$300 (I know wide price range), example... Fits 2 x 5.25" HH gives you 8 x 2.5"
You'd need SFF-8087 to SFF-8643 cables x2 need good airflow behind it...

LFF
Supermicro CSE-M35T-1B typically anywhere from $100-$200 (another wide price range), example, Fits 3x 5.25" HH gives you 5 x 3.5""
You'd need SFF-8087 to SATA forward breakout, has fan. Current STH thread you may find interesting.

IMO stay away from the cheap rosewill 3 x 5.25" cages. they have a known problem with one of the slots (drive tray and cable impingement).
Lots of other LFF and SFF usual suspects iStar, Athena power, Icy Dock etc. etc. etc.
 

itronin

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Nov 24, 2018
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Yes and per the SM spec-sheet

M28SACB

Capacity8x 2.5" Hot-swap SAS3/SATA3 HDD trays

M35T

Capacity 5x 3.5" Host Receptacle Connector, Hot-swap SAS/SATA HDD

for the LFF SATA on the cage refers to the connector style, you can run SAS over that cable NP.
Its like a mini supermicro TQ backplane. Gives you some flexibility too.
say you have 6x5.25" bays so put in 2 LFF cages. Take 2 SFF-8087 to SATA forward breakout cables from your M1015 to the bays. Then take two sata(3) ports from your motherboard. Not all ports would be SAS, just the 8 from the M1015 but 10 drive bays active total...
 

itronin

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Nov 24, 2018
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I haven't seen but maybe?

so the difference is the backplane is providing the power and data paths into the plug/receiver (SFF-8482) for the sas drives. The SATA connector is just carrying the data path with the backplane has wired into the data portinon of the SFF-8482.

I could link in an SFF-8087 to SFF-8482 - hopefully that does not add confusion here but that is how you would use SAS drives without some sort of cage. This is an example of a mfg's cable. there are many mfg's of this type of cable.

the backplane in these types of cages are usually passive backplanes. power and data come in separately and the backplane "wires" that into each drive's connector.

Downside is a lot of these cages don't provide SGPIO/SES control for the backplane. you may be tempted to buy "cheap" SFF-8087 to SATA forward breakout cables. read reviews, ask opinions on cable mfg's.

I suspect most MFG's are using simple SATA connectors on the cages because it provides the most flexibility in a single product. works with SATA direct from a motherboard, have SAS, use a breakout cable. I have seen a few cages that say they are ONLY SATA and it is very possible they are.

Are you looking for a cage for hotswap or because you want to use SAS drives? You can have SAS drives without a cage (see above breakout cable link as an example - not necessarily the one just an example I found quickly).
 
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Oddworld

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Jan 16, 2018
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Yeah. Just wanting to use SAS drives. I can use a forward breakout cable direct to drive? What about power?
 

RedX1

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Aug 11, 2017
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Is there a recommended SAS2 (or SAS3) backplane for DIY workstation builds?

  • 4 drives preferred. 8 would be awesome (if that's possible)
  • 3.5" drives preferred. If not, then 2.5 would be interesting
  • Installed within regular ATX or large ATX case
  • ATX or CEB motherboard cases, like the Asus X99-E WS and Asus X99-WS/IPMI
  • Likely to use an M1015 in IT mode (port SFF-8087)
  • Powered by traditional, consumer ATX power supplies


Thanks for your time

Hi


I did something like you are proposing with a Fractal Design Mode S case and a Supermicro Motherboard.

Here are some pictures.


IMG_2515 C.JPGIMG_2517 C.JPG

This used a HP Gen 6 Drive Cage and Backplane, similar to this, but with a SFF 8484 Connector - one generation older.
HP 466509-001 ML150 G6 ML330 G6 ML110 G7 4 x LFF Drive Cage + Backplane + Cable | eBay

You can sometimes find these drive cages cheaply, but it may be more economic to just buy a Server or Workstation case and get the power adaptors for your choice of motherboard.

After doing this I found that using an already configured chassis gave a better solution.

Here is an ASUS Z10PA-D8 in a Supermicro CSE-743/745 8 Drive LFF hot-swap case. You can sometimes find these for very low prices. You may need to mod the fans if you are looking for silent operation.


IMG_2520[1] C.JPG



I hope this helps.





Take Care





RedX1