Seeking a SAS Expander

Discussion in 'RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters' started by lottathought, Jul 30, 2018.

  1. lottathought

    lottathought New Member

    Jul 30, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Longtime Lurker....
    Although I am a Newbie to SAS, I have been using a Home media server for a few years.

    I have been researching and think that I have a solid idea on most points...but there are a couple of things that I am foggy on. I am hoping that somebody can steer me in the correct direction.

    My system is a DIY box running Windows 10.
    I already know that I am going to be using the LSI 9211-8i card. Yes, it is in IT mode and it is upgraded to Rev. P20.
    I have been using Drivepool and plan to continue to use it.

    The first thing that I really need input on is a SAS expander card. As easy as the controller card was to select, the expander card seems to as hard.
    It can be molex or pcie powered. I have an old box and motherboard that can power the card should it need to be powered via pcie.
    I have hard drives in varying sizes up to 8TB. The expander card would need to be able to at least handle a drive of that size.
    It would need to be compatible with Windows 10, as well as being compatible with the LSI 9211-8i of course.
    I have read that many SAS expander cards require special equipment to flash the firmware. I would really like it if this were either something that did not require much in regards to firmware upgrades ...or were pretty simple and easy to do on my own.
    And of course inexpensive is a huge plus.
    To answer the question that know is being asked...yes...I do need to connect that many drives....LOL This will be taking over 2 Sans Digital towers that are starting to give issues..with the desire to be able to grow as time goes on. Having said that, I doubt that I will need the ability to connect least in the foreseeable future.

    And while I am thinking of it....would you suggest a path other than an expander even with a large number of disk connected ?

    My next question is this. I have been running Drivepool for a while.
    When I connect my drives to the new controller, will it see the data that is already on them and allow the pool to establish...or do I need to somehow try to get the data off and add a drive at a time?

    I really appreciate any input. I have been reading for a while....but these things just keep elluding me.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
  2. Mishka

    Mishka Member

    Apr 30, 2017
    Likes Received:
    In no particular order of your questions...Your system will just see the drive whether it is plugged directly into the 9211 or via the expander, in MegaRaid Storage Manager it will show its moved from slot 12 to 38 for example.

    Regarding your old box yea just shoving a HP SAS Expander for example into the PCI-E slot of the motherboard will give it power and let it connect the drives up but you could also just get one of the PCI-E extenders that mining rigs use and power it off 4pin molex and rig up the PSU to always be on (Connect Black to Green on the ATX24 pin) or get some proper way of having the power supply powered, this will use a teeny bit less power than the motherboard too.

    The HP SAS Expanders just pass through and do not have the 2TB limit, I have mine running with 8TB drives (Toshiba and WD) without any issues other than them being at SATA2 not SATA3 so not a big deal as the drives top out at 200MB/s anyway.

    Windows 10 wont see the SAS expander itself the LSI card does all the stuff.
    lottathought likes this.
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