Ways to install more SATA devices than there are SATA ports

Is there anyway to use a divider to increase the number of SATA devices beyond the number of available SATA ports on the motherboard? Is there anyway to do this if your motherboard happens to have SAS ports? Can you use USB or some other technology to make more SATA ports? What are the speed issues with all of these methods?

For some background, I'm currently building a scientific workhorse machine based on the dual Xeon Nehalem cores. I was planning to use the supermicro X8DAi motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813182186), because i'm currently not planning on using any SAS drives. However, I realized I will have 6 SATA devices on the system (DVD burner and 5 HDs), which limits the future upgradability of the system. Maybe it would be better to go with the SAS motherboard (for the extra $100, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813182185)...and remove one of the hard drives from my current build, since it would be much easier to add on a HD later instead of a new motherboard.

What do you think?


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More about ways install sata devices sata ports
  1. No SATA (nor SAS) can be "split" the way PATA/SCSI used to allow.

    Depending on the HD's use, you have some options:
    Get a PCI/PCI-e SATA controller
    Get an external USB HD
    Get a NAS
    Get a PATA CD/DVD drive, who needs 150/300Mbps for those anyway ...
  2. A quick check at Newegg shows you can buy a 1x PCI Express 2port SATA II controller for $15. Hard to beat for that price..
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