JJ Johnson

Are there any good PCIe 4-port SATA controllers?

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I'm looking for a reliable, relatively inexpensive (say < $60) PCIe 4-port SATA controller for use under Windows Server 2008 R2. No RAID needed, just JBOD.

Generally speaking, how many PCIe lanes are needed for four 5400-7200 RPM SATA hard drives (no SSDs)?

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x1 PCIe 1.0 oscillates at 2.5G / 10 bits per byte = 250 MB/second (one direction) MAX HEADROOM

x1 PCIe 2.0 oscillates at 5.0G / 10 bits per byte = 500 MB/second (one direction) MAX HEADROOM

x1 PCIe 3.0 oscillates at 8.0G / ~8 bits per byte = ~1,000 MB/second (one direction) MAX HEADROOM

Try searching at Newegg for "x1 PCI-Express 2.0 SATA card" and
that query should produce quite a few selections with x1 edge connectors.

If you can find one with an x1 edge connector and 4 x SATA ports,
the upstream bandwidth is just barely enough, assuming
all 4 x HDDs average 100 MB/second.

If you're expecting higher performance from all 4 x HDDs,
and if they will be doing I/O concurrently, an x1 edge connector
is really cutting it too close, imho.

And, I predict you will find that most x1 edge connectors
come with only 2 x SATA ports (because of the limited upstream
bandwidth).

Here's an exception to that rule: it has an x1 edge connector with 4 x SATA ports:

http://newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816124064

These Highpoint Rocket 640 and Rocket 640L have x4 edge connectors for $70 at Newegg:

http://newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816115077

http://newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816115114

Hope this helps.

p.s. I'm a Newegg customer, so I'm very familiar with their website:
you could also search other on-line retailers with the same query.

Edited by MRFS

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Yeah, that one is a little too much $. I can find well-regarded 8 port controllers in the $100 range. This is for a small six-drive (plus boot drive) storage server.

Edited by JJ Johnson

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This Highpoint Rocket 640L is listed at Highpoint's website as Non-RAID,

but Newegg's catalog entry says "RAID Controller":

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816115114&Tpk=N82E16816115114

You didn't mention which PCIe slot(s) you have available

in your host motherboard.

NOTE: that 640L has an x4 edge connector, NOT x1;

and, even though an add-on card has an x4 edge connector,

your motherboard's BIOS logic may NOT assign x4 "logical" lanes

to the PCIe slot in which you installed an add-on card.

$70 seems to be closer to your budget, and

I suspect this price is reduced because

such x4 edge connectors are less popular

with End Users who have only x1 slots available.

NOTE WELL: sometimes these Highpoint controllers

conflict with on-board chipset logic e.g. ICH10R and such,

and this conflict results from a factory default of INT13 ENABLED

(Interrupt 13).

To circumvent that conflict, BEST WAY is to:

(0) step zero: download latest driver and bios update files

from Highpoint's website;

(1) install the Highpoint card withOUT any drives attached,

and point your OS to the latest driver that you downloaded above;

(2) you cannot flash the card's bios without first

installing the latest device driver;

(3) flash the latest bios, and DISABLE INT13 during that step;

(4) SHUTDOWN and attach storage devices

(5) now, with INT13 DISABLED, your motherboard's

integrated SATA ports should continue to operate normally.

That's the sequence we have used successfully

with several different Highpoint controllers.

And, this sequence is also recommended

whenever 2 x Highpoint controllers are

installed in the same motherboard:

both cannot operate with INT13 enabled

but both can operate with INT13 disabled on both,

or with INT13 disabled on one and

INT13 enabled on the other.

Edited by MRFS
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p.s. I just checked and we have the Highpoint RocketRAID model 2640x1, NOT the 640 or 640L:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816115094&Tpk=N82E16816115094

I see that some documentation claims that the 640L is "driverless"; nevertheless,

there should be a way to update the driver with Windows Device Manager

(if needed).

Alternatively, the latest driver may already be installed at the factory,

and this implies to me that INT13 can be disabled by flashing the bios

withOUT updating the driver.

I also checked our driver database here, and I can confirm that we

did download the latest driver and latest bios for the Highpoint Rocket model 640L

(NOT the same as RocketRAID 640L, which is more expensive).

http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA_new/series_r600-overview.htm

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I would suggest something with a Marvell 9230 chipset like the Syba card from Amazon it should be under your budget.

It's a Pci-e 2.0 2x card with a 4x edge connector.

the board won't let me link for some reason, so visit

www.amazon.com/

and search for the Syba Hyper Duo 4 port pcie card.

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