Cheap SATA Expansion Card?

I am looking for a CHEAP sata card with LOTS of PORTS.
more importantly, these are my only requirements, I don't need RAID, I don't need it to be fast, I don't need to boot off it.

I just want one card that will let me plug 8 or more drives into it, and let me see them as individual drives in windows. interested in any PCI, PCIX or PCI express card that can do this.

the trick seems to be that I want alot of drives in one card, there seems to be lots of cheap 4 port cards out there, but if you wan't anymore your apparently in the enterprise high end RAID market and need processors and ram on your card...

So far the only thing ive been able to find is the SuperMicro AOC-SAT2-MV8 for $130AUD (so i guess $70 - $100 USD is around what i'm looking for)

I need lots of ports, cause I wanna get as many drives into one computer as i can (recycling old drives, so they are relatively small.) to use as basically a big backup computer.
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  1. Here's a product I found that best suits your needs: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815158090 It features 2 external and 4 internal SATA ports.

    Though according to New Egg reviews, it's not exactly a great solution.
  2. Take into note each HDD you connect, will add up to 30W of spin-up power consumption. So with 20 drives it will be using 600W when booting for the disks themselves; thus you would need a 800W+ power supply.

    If you want that many disks then look at some PCI-express products. For example this non-RAID 8-port SATA PCIe x4 controller:



    http://www.supermicro.com/products/accessories/addon/AOC-SASLP-MV8.cfm
  3. So let me restate your question. You have a bunch of old SATA drives (20, 40, 60, 80 GB) that are still working, and you want to come up with a solution that will let you put a bunch of them in an old computer that you are not using for anything else, and that will cost less than buying a new 1 or 2 TB drive.

    If that is your constraint, I don't think it's going to happen. I'm pretty sure that either 1 expensive SATA card that will support 8 drives or 2 cheap SATA cards that will support 4 each are going to cost more than a cheap 1 or 2 TB drive.

    And there's still the problem that you will probably have to buy a new power supply to power all those drives.
  4. Prescott_666 said:
    So let me restate your question. You have a bunch of old SATA drives (20, 40, 60, 80 GB) that are still working, and you want to come up with a solution that will let you put a bunch of them in an old computer that you are not using for anything else, and that will cost less than buying a new 1 or 2 TB drive.

    If that is your constraint, I don't think it's going to happen. I'm pretty sure that either 1 expensive SATA card that will support 8 drives or 2 cheap SATA cards that will support 4 each are going to cost more than a cheap 1 or 2 TB drive.

    And there's still the problem that you will probably have to buy a new power supply to power all those drives.
    ^+1 Most cards with that many connectors are usually FOR RAID so you will pay extra for them. Even if you were to buy the cheapest SATA controller with only 2 ports (so you would need 3-4), they cost 25$, it would cost you 75-100$ and won't be able to RAID across them. When a single 1TB HDD is 90$, it's a tough sell to go the other way.

    However, if you have that many old HDDs, would you happen to also own enough old parts to build yourself a home-made NAS? If so, Linux support software RAID that would do what you want, you just need a machine with that many on-board SATA connectors. Still, I would choose the 1TB HDD option.
  5. Thanks for the help guys.

    thanks for the links.

    you make good points about just getting a big drive to replace multiple smaller drives for less than the cost of the controller. guess I just don' like throwing things out :), for reference the drives in question are 2x300gb, 1x400, 3x500 and 2x750.

    And yes, I am building pretty much a home-made NAS (won't be online all the time, just when i need to do backups), and am making it out of old PC parts, currently have a spare 500W powersupply and there are no other expansion cards or other types of drives in it, and just using single core cpu, so I'm optimistic on the power front(I also have another spare 430W PSU and believe it is possible to use 2 PSUs in one computer? don't really care if its a hack job).
    I am a programmer and I'm currently interested in making my own custom software raid like system, in any case, i'm not interested in hardware raid for this project.

    while the immediate need for lots of SATA ports is to accomidate lots of smaller drives, I would also be interested in the future with trying to just get as much capacity in the computer as possible. this accomidates a whole family of heavy users, and somthing in the vicinity of 10 to 20TB would be ideal. (then add some redundancy to that).

    The other issue with a massive amount of drives is places to put them, currently got 12 bays for hard drives in this cheap mini tower (coolermaster 3x5.25" to 4x3.5" FTW), I may try to mod it to fit as many drives as I can in it (don't really care if I break anything, as everything is recycled).

    The whole idea behind this project is just to create an alternative to archiving everything to DVDs, benefits being; it uses less space around the house, mainly its just cause its alot easier to read, write and update.
  6. Sell/give away any drives that are below 500GB. Keep a ~80GB one for the OS.
    1-1.5TB drives are so cheap in $/GB these days, more economical and reliable than running lots of 3yr+ drives.

    I find it shocking that people would cram more than 3 drives into a NAS without some form of redundancy. e.g. running Windows Home Server. Unless they have a full offline backup of data they deem as important.
    The statistical chance of zero drive failure in a >4 drives NAS after 2yrs of running is rare.

    This is where RAID comes into play. I trust only three method of RAID redundancy; RAID1 or 10, RAID from true hardware controller and soft RAID from Linux/BSD.
    So you want to prep. a NAS capable of handling 10TB+? For cost efficiency this means RAID with parity. If you go Windows then there's only one reliable choice and that's a nice expensive hardware RAID controller supporting RAID 5 or 6. The other alternative (more suitable for home-use) is running a distro of Linux/BSD like FreeNAS which can use any SATA ports and bundle the drives into a RAID 5 array (or RAID-Z if using ZFS from FreeNAS).
    For 5-6 drives (<10TB) I'd recommend the later mentioned free solution like FreeNAS. That's taking into account SATA ports provided by most motherboard and PSU needed for simultaneous spinup.

    The >8 drives solution needed for more than 10TB and is where a hardware RAID controller is more suitable. A detailed careful planning is needed for such NAS.
    Take mine for example:
    -A mid-tower with 6xHDD sliding cage and a 5xHDD hotswapping 3x5.25" bay
    -ASUS P5K-E WiFi (leftover)
    -Q6600 (cheap, otherwise would've gone with AMD)
    -Matrox 2D gfx card
    -2x HVR-2200 dual DVB-T tuners (still waiting for dual DVB-S2 tuners)
    -Dell PERC 5/i + BBU (selling like hot pancakes on eBay)
    -Currently 4x1TB, this will eventually be expanded with 1.5-2TB drives filling up 8 on the PERC, two in RAID1 by ICH9R and one for OS.
    -Corsair CX400 (the PERC does staggered spinup for 8 drives, idling with some drives spun down is ~108W and >84% efficient running 24/7. Full load will be <220W)
    -Windows Server 2008 R2

    ^there is a lot of advantages to using a hardware RAID controller if filling the tower up with >8 drives. A must if using Windows.
    Designed not to drop below 82% power efficiency at any circumstance, no silly jiga-watt PSU crazyness here.
  7. thanks for that, currently using and asus amd socket 939 workstation board, 1 pci express 16x slot (runs at 8x) 2x64 bit PCIX (share a 8x pci express internal link) 2 onboard gigabit net(each have a 1xpci express link) onboard VGA video, so currently i'm not using ANY of the expansion slots. this board was left over, as was the processor and 1gb of ram (may look at getting ECC ram as the mobo supports it)

    the thing is, this will be pretty much an offline backup machine, it will only be turned on every week or so to do back ups and retrieve data we want instant access to (like a TV series we wanna watch again). this will never be a 24/7 machine, we have a 24/7 machine, but it must use the least amount of power as possible and be as quite as possible, as such, it only has one HDD in it.

    that Dell PERC 5/i looks cool, am i right in saying that it has two sas connectors that you plug sas to 4x sata cables into? therefor supporting 8 sata drives per card?

    another question I have is: how do you know what sized drives different cards support? do these cards only support certain capacities? it never seems to be a problem with onboard sata, but ive heard things about some cards not supporting the WD 2TB drive, or the seagate 1.5TB ect.
  8. Running all those drives on 2 power supply with an old inificiant cpu and 4 sata cards to make a makeshift nas.... and how much money do you plan on shoveling out every month on electricity powering frankenNAS. Think about it, it's going to eat $100s of dollars and put out as much heat as a space heater. Get a Asus ac1200 router and a 4tb usb3 drive, or a proper NAS.
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