SAS Expander

rcm024

New Member
Feb 6, 2020
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2
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Hey guys,

I'm in the process of upgrading my server (mostly runs PLEX & additional related services). I just picked up an LSI 9211 8i HBA which is running the 8 drives I currently have perfectly. I have it all in a coolermaster trooper case and don't plan to replace it (so no backplane with built in sas expander). My freind is currently designing a mostly 3d printed 3x 5.25" to 5x 3.5" hot swap bay that I will use to have 15 front hot swap bays. I have found 2 different sas expanders that should work for what I need (15 drives), but wanted any advice/input the community may be able to offer. I am by no means set on these as my only options, but if recommending something else, keep in mind that I'm using all sata spinners in this and would prefer to keep the cost below $50. Here are the 2 I'm currently looking at:

Lenovo 03X3834 LSI 11407-1 SAS Expander Card 16 Port w/ Cables | eBay - This one has a few bonus points for me at the moment b/c it comes with the 2 cables to attach to my HBA

-or-

IBM 46M0997 16-Port 6GB SAS SATA ServeRAID Expansion Adapter Card 701160466551 | eBay

Thanks in advance

P.S. If there is interest in the 3d printed bays from others, I'm sure he won't mind me posting them when he's done. I believe he's designing it around the r710 drive sleds
 

Stereodude

Active Member
Feb 21, 2016
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USA
Several years ago the HP SAS expander cards were all the rage. They may still be, I haven't kept up on it over the last few years. I'm using them in my two systems.

487738-001 HP 24 Bay SAS PCI-E Expander Card 4877380012 | eBay

You can get them cheaper, but you don't want an early firmware revision if you don't have the means to update them. Updating the firmware is not exactly trivial depending on what hardware you have. You either need a HBA in IT mode + Linux or a compatible HP server.

Per the sticker on the card I suggested in that $19.99 listing those are v2.08.
 

rcm024

New Member
Feb 6, 2020
4
2
3
Several years ago the HP SAS expander cards were all the rage. They may still be, I haven't kept up on it over the last few years. I'm using them in my two systems.

487738-001 HP 24 Bay SAS PCI-E Expander Card 4877380012 | eBay

You can get them cheaper, but you don't want an early firmware revision if you don't have the means to update them. Updating the firmware is not exactly trivial depending on what hardware you have. You either need a HBA in IT mode + Linux or a compatible HP server.

Per the sticker on the card I suggested in that $19.99 listing those are v2.08.
Thanks for the response. I did see those when I was searching but thought they were limited to 3 Gbps SATA. Is that not the case with the updated firmware? I figured that would be a hardware limitation.

As for updating them, as mentioned, I have the lsi 9211-8i card (have yet to check firmware version and flash IT mode if necessary). I'm using unraid, but could just throw ubuntu or something on a flash drive to boot a regular version of linux if needed, so I think I'd be fine there?
 

Stereodude

Active Member
Feb 21, 2016
412
66
28
USA
Thanks for the response. I did see those when I was searching but thought they were limited to 3 Gbps SATA. Is that not the case with the updated firmware? I figured that would be a hardware limitation.
They are limited to 3Gbps SATA. However, there aren't any spinning SATA drives fast enough to exceed that on a sustained transfer so it's hardly a limitation.
 

Mithril

Active Member
Sep 13, 2019
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They are limited to 3Gbps SATA. However, there aren't any spinning SATA drives fast enough to exceed that on a sustained transfer so it's hardly a limitation.
What's the best option for something that does support 6GB Sata? I've got a handfull of older Sata SSDs that I'd like to use with an expander at some point. Ideally I'd be looking for 4+ downstream 8087 and 2 upstream 8088 or 8087 (I've got some PCI slot passthroughs so no skin off my back which one the card has since the goal is to turn an old 4U whitebox case into a DIY disk shelf of sorts.)
 

ari2asem

Active Member
Dec 26, 2018
704
125
43
The Netherlands, Groningen
first of all about powering sas expanders.

2 types of powering sas expander.
1. via pci-e slot
2. via 4pin molex power connector

hp, ibm, lenovo sas expansers are powered by pci-e slots


chenbro, intel and adaptec sas expanders are 4pin molex powered

my favourite is chenbro, because it has external sas ports, too

Chenbro - Products

Chenbro - Products


Intel® RAID Expander RES2SV240 Product Specifications

Switches/Expanders - Astek Corporation

A34812-ITX - Astek Corporation

this last one astek expander is my wet dream to get it for burgain price (100-200 euro). even i dont need it
 

Dave Corder

Active Member
Dec 21, 2015
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Mithril

Active Member
Sep 13, 2019
172
43
28
There's also a Dell SAS expander with external ports that supports 6 Gbps connections to SATA drives. You need to make a custom power connector for it, though. https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/dell-6tdvn-sas-expander.22973/

I'm using three of these in my setup and they're working great (with 9201-16e cards in IT mode).

My eBay search for the various part numbers: (0gyr5p,n4c2d, 010141900,5r10n, 6tdvn, 010141900) | eBay
Oh, that looks like it might be the ticket, thanks!
 

rcm024

New Member
Feb 6, 2020
4
2
3
For anyone wondering, I ended up going with the Lenovo card. Plugged it in and it worked with no hassle alongside my LSI 9211-8i IT mode HBA.