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RIAD/SAS controller card and backplane drive cage vs SATA to SATA only drive setup?

  • Intel
  • NAS / RAID
  • Storage
  • Servers
  • SATA
  • Controller
  • SAS
Last response: in Storage
January 8, 2014 10:05:34 AM

I just acquired an Intel SC5299DP Server chassis with and intel S5000XVN/XSL mainboard. I have both the standard 6-bay drive cage and the 6-bay Intel AXX6DRV3GEXP expander backplane hot-swap cage to choose from.

I plan to use 6gbs SATA drives with either cage setup but I am unsure of which setup would be best performance wise. I plan to run FreeNAS so I do not need hardware raid.

The main motherboard has 6 SATA connections (3gbs only). The expander backplane requires a raid/sas controller card to communicate with the mobo and per the FreeNAS forum, they recommend the IBM M1015 Raid/SAS card which supports 6gbs drives. I relize that since the backplane only supports 3gbs I would not be able to take advantage of the 6gbs raid card speeds. However, I did read that the SATA ports on the main board rarely perform to the 3gbs speeds which makes me reconsider using the backplane cage and a raid card vs the standard cage with sata to sata connections to the main board.

Question 1> Is there a performance boost between sata to sata connections with the mainboard vs raid card to backplane SAS connections? I realize that in either setup I will be limited to 3gbs support.

Question 2> Would using a raid/sas controller card (IBM M1015) with minisas to SATA hard drives connections, both supporting 6gbs transfer speeds be the most optimal setup?

Question 3> Since this is only going to be a home NAS server, is there any reason to worry about 3 vs 6 gbs transfer speeds?

More about : riad sas controller card backplane drive cage sata sata drive setup

Best solution

a b å Intel
a c 942 G Storage
January 8, 2014 4:10:51 PM

1: No
2: I assume yo'll be flashing to IT mode firmware so Yes, imo, this is the best option.
3: nope, the limiting factor is your lan speed.
January 8, 2014 7:51:41 PM

popatim said:
1: No
2: I assume yo'll be flashing to IT mode firmware so Yes, imo, this is the best option.
3: nope, the limiting factor is your lan speed.

Thank you popatim.

Since it sounds like it won't be a performance advantage and will just add another layer of complexity I have decided not to use the expander backplane. However, your answer to my 3rd question makes me still unclear on using a RAID/SAS controller (flashed to IT mode) vs just connecting directly to the motherboard SATA ports which are only 3gbs. The IBM M1015 card I'm looking at is rated at 6gbs speeds. The motherboard does have 2 Intel gigabit Nics.

Question 1> Will the PCI-Express card in my older motherboard (Intel Serverboard S5000XVN/XSL with 2 processors) still be able to reach 6gbs speeds? I am a noob to hardware so I'm still not sure if I'm limited by the chipsets on the motherboard.

Question 2> With the 2 gigabit NICs on the motherboard, is there a way to combine them for more through put?