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SAS based Motherboard

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June 26, 2013 5:06:23 PM

I am working on a prject to build my own NAS using FreeNAS. The case I have chosen has several hot swappable drive bays up front with a SATA/SAS backplane. The actual connectors that go to the motherboard howerver are SAS connectors, for some reason the only way I can find to use a SAS connector is though a SAS RAID controller, which is a waste of meoney since I will not be doing hardware RAID, I will use the FreeNAS software RAID. I need 6 SAS ports, is there either a motherboard or non-RAID SAS controller card I can get? Or maybe a hybrid cable that will connect as SAS to the backplane then have a SATA connector on the other end for a SATA based motherboard.

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a c 168 V Motherboard
June 26, 2013 5:12:31 PM

SAS and SATA connectors are electrically identical and physically compatible.

The only difference is that SAS has the power and data connectors joined together via a plastic bridge whereas SATA has them separate. Most SATA drives have a gap between the power and data connectors which allows a SAS connector to be attached. The converse is true as well in that an SAS drive can be connected via separate power and data cables.

In most cases, this allows SAS and SATA drives to be used interchangeably.

Many server chipsets and hardware raid controllers support both SATA and SAS over the same ports. Consumer chipsets support only SATA.
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a c 168 V Motherboard
June 26, 2013 7:13:19 PM

br0keg33k said:
Pinhedd said:
SAS and SATA connectors are electrically identical and physically compatible.

The only difference is that SAS has the power and data connectors joined together via a plastic bridge whereas SATA has them separate. Most SATA drives have a gap between the power and data connectors which allows a SAS connector to be attached. The converse is true as well in that an SAS drive can be connected via separate power and data cables.

In most cases, this allows SAS and SATA drives to be used interchangeably.

Many server chipsets and hardware raid controllers support both SATA and SAS over the same ports. Consumer chipsets support only SATA.


The connectors may be very similar but what about the cables to connect the backplane to the motherboard? Can a SAS cable connect to the SATA connector on a basic sever grade motherboard?


Yes, the cable connectors are identical. Most hardware raid controllers and server chipsets use the same physical ports to drive SAS and SATA.
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