SAS2 expanders $60 (IBM, LSI chip, Intel alternative)

iamtelephone

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Annoyingly only cheap ones I can get in the UK are £30+ unless I want £10 from China, what benefits do they have over the HP SAS Expanders?
HP Expanders register 6Gb/s for SAS and 3Gb/s for SATA. IBM Expanders register 6Gb/s for both SAS and SATA.

Read @TheBloke's posts on page 1 & 2 of this thread.
 

BLinux

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hey guys... anyone know how to tell if these are counterfeit or not? I bought one to play with from this US seller:

NEW IBM 46M0997 ServeRAID Expansion Adapter 16-Port SAS Expander US seller | eBay

but, after purchasing it, it was a Chinese paypal account. I think this is a Chinese seller that has inventory in the US and ships from the US. It arrived quickly, but a few things make me suspicious:

1) The "printed" manufacture date label says 2012, but there's a sticker with Chinese on it that says inspected 2018.
2) It came in anti-static bag that was sealed with a thin rubber band - i know this sounds weird, but Chinese sellers love to use rubber bands for everything.
3) There are no IBM markings on the board, and no mention of IBM FRU: 46M0997
4) The PCB board has a "twist" in it. If you lay it flat on a table, and press on a corner, it 'rocks' because it doesn't sit flat due to twist
5) The PCI bracket was attached backwards.
6) The BP3 SFF-8087 port only recognizes 3 out of 4 SAS lanes.
7) There are 2 spots on the backside of the PCB where it looks like 2 SMD components were surgically cut out by a machine. Perfect square, with only top layer of PCB removed.
8) It was listed as "new".

In retrospect, a "new" listing should have fired warning signs for a part that is relatively old now. However, I'm not 100% certain... maybe IBM did sell these parts with some of the observations I've listed above? Anyone have input?
 

BLinux

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I returned the defective one, and re-ordered another one from another seller. This other one doesn't come with a PCI bracket though; does anyone know how to search for one on eBay? what key words work? I tried the obvious keywords and it didn't help...
 

wildpig1234

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I returned the defective one, and re-ordered another one from another seller. This other one doesn't come with a PCI bracket though; does anyone know how to search for one on eBay? what key words work? I tried the obvious keywords and it didn't help...
Question: why does the description say 16 port? i count 6 total SFF so that should give 24 total sas/sata out. shouldn't it?

blinux, so you ordered one and it came from that seller defective? :(. which other selller did you get it from second time? does these work with any computer or is it hardware locked?

btw, i just ebay search IBM 46M0997 and then rearrange the list in cheapest price first and a bunch of bracket listing came up... just for you...lol...
 

wildpig1234

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2 multilane ports go to the raid controler/hba :D
sorry i am new at this piece of hardware....lol 2 multilane ports? what are they for? do you have to connect to them? is this thing only workin on ibm stuffs or will work in any computer?
 

BLinux

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Question: why does the description say 16 port? i count 6 total SFF so that should give 24 total sas/sata out. shouldn't it?

blinux, so you ordered one and it came from that seller defective? :(. which other selller did you get it from second time? does these work with any computer or is it hardware locked?

btw, i just ebay search IBM 46M0997 and then rearrange the list in cheapest price first and a bunch of bracket listing came up... just for you...lol...
2 of the ports are inputs, from the HBA. however, I believe someone said it is possible to use one of them to another backplane instead of the HBA. using both ports for HBA should theoretically get you higher bandwidth between HBA and this SAS expander? so, you can go from 4x HBA SAS lanes -> 20x SAS lanes on backplanes. Or, you can 8x HBA SAS lanes -> 16x SAS lanes on backplanes.

the 1st one I got was defective... only 3 out of 4 SAS lanes worked on one of the SFF-8087 ports. it was also twisted, which I wasn't too happy about, but not sure if that had anything to do with the SAS lane not working. the 2nd one I got was from "IT-Mart".

I believe these work with most HBAs, they are supposedly based on LSI SAS2 expander chipset. The PCI-E connector is only to power the card/chip, so it does not show up as a PCI-E device. I was testing mine on my lab test rig which is a Supermicro X8 machine and it worked fine except for the bad SAS lane as mentioned.
 

wildpig1234

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2 of the ports are inputs, from the HBA. however, I believe someone said it is possible to use one of them to another backplane instead of the HBA. using both ports for HBA should theoretically get you higher bandwidth between HBA and this SAS expander? so, you can go from 4x HBA SAS lanes -> 20x SAS lanes on backplanes. Or, you can 8x HBA SAS lanes -> 16x SAS lanes on backplanes.

the 1st one I got was defective... only 3 out of 4 SAS lanes worked on one of the SFF-8087 ports. it was also twisted, which I wasn't too happy about, but not sure if that had anything to do with the SAS lane not working. the 2nd one I got was from "IT-Mart".

I believe these work with most HBAs, they are supposedly based on LSI SAS2 expander chipset. The PCI-E connector is only to power the card/chip, so it does not show up as a PCI-E device. I was testing mine on my lab test rig which is a Supermicro X8 machine and it worked fine except for the bad SAS lane as mentioned.
hmm so this thing by itself doesn't work to connect a bunch more hdd to a computer? guess i won't be getting any then,.
 

BLinux

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hmm so this thing by itself doesn't work to connect a bunch more hdd to a computer? guess i won't be getting any then,.
not by itself; you still need an HBA. it's a SAS2 expander, so it allows you to connect more HDDs without adding more HBAs. For example, a 2x port SFF-8087 HBA can connect 8 HDDs. With the addition of this expander, you could use the same HBA w/ this to connect 16 or 20 HDDs. Get 2 of these, and you can connection 20+20=40 HDDs with the same single HBA card. And at the $20 price these are found right now, it's cheaper than adding more HBAs, and especially a lot cheaper than 16x or 20x port HBAs.
 
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wildpig1234

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not by itself; you still need an HBA. it's a SAS2 expander, so it allows you to connect more HDDs without adding more HBAs. For example, a 2x port SFF-8087 HBA can connect 8 HDDs. With the addition of this expander, you could use the same HBA w/ this to connect 16 or 20 HDDs. Get 2 of these, and you can connection 20+20=40 HDDs with the same single HBA card. And at the $20 price these are found right now, it's cheaper than adding more HBAs, and especially a lot cheaper than 16x or 20x port HBAs.

I think i get it now...lol....well, i am not like running a big server or anything like that.... currently i only use 6/16 sata connectors with my adaptec 31605... so i guess i won't be needing this anytime soon.... i was hoping for raid sas sata card with 6gbit since adaptec 31605 is only 3gb but i am only connecting spinners at this point so it probably won't make any difference between 6gb and 3gb.
 

BLinux

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I think i get it now...lol....well, i am not like running a big server or anything like that.... currently i only use 6/16 sata connectors with my adaptec 31605... so i guess i won't be needing this anytime soon.... i was hoping for raid sas sata card with 6gbit since adaptec 31605 is only 3gb but i am only connecting spinners at this point so it probably won't make any difference between 6gb and 3gb.
the biggest practical difference is that 3Gbps (SAS1/SATA-II) only support up to 2TB HDDs. the 6Gbps technology is preferred by most using HDDs not because of the addition speed (you're right, not going to get close to 6Gbps), but because of the ability to work with much larger modern HDDs.
 

wildpig1234

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the biggest practical difference is that 3Gbps (SAS1/SATA-II) only support up to 2TB HDDs. the 6Gbps technology is preferred by most using HDDs not because of the addition speed (you're right, not going to get close to 6Gbps), but because of the ability to work with much larger modern HDDs.
hmm, my 31605 is working fine with several hdd bigger than 2tb. then again adaptec did have a firmware update for that: http://download.adaptec.com/pdfs/readme/relnotes_arc_fw-b17342_asm-18579.pdf
 

SIlviu

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Just received this expander with 510A firmware and its attached to a Dell H730 card, I want to update the firmware on it through windows if its possible, downloaded firmware from ibm site, extracted and executed install.bat from "image" folder and I get the following error

Flash:Failed rc=99h
Error:Flash Level Mismatch: Drive Ver:510A DBase Ver:634A!
 

kapone

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Back when I had these, I was able to flash them successfully when they were connected to a M1015...so yeah, that may be needed.
 

SIlviu

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Wanted to try sg_write_buffer for windows but sg_scan is not detecting the device or not properly

"sg_scan -s"
SCSI5:1,254,0 claimed=0 pdt=1fh dubious RAID DummyDevice 0001

"sg_write_buffer.exe --mode=dmc_offs_defer --bpw=4096 --in=dl-634a.rd2 SCSI5:1,254,0"
Write buffer: transport: The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error.
Write buffer failed: Input/output error
sg_write_buffer failed: Input/output error
 
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