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Adding SATA ports for 3 TB disks?

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September 3, 2011 5:22:11 PM

Hi folks. I have a homebuilt computer that I put together based in large part from recommendations on these forums, and it has been working really well for about 2 years now. I have 5 TB of always-on active storage, plus 4 TB that I use for backups, for a total of 5 HDDs and 1 optical drive in the system. This uses up all the on-board SATA ports of my Asus P6T SE.

So now I'd like to add more drives, in particular, a pair of 3 TB disks (one active, one as a backup). I have four more empty drive bays in total, so ideally, I'd like to find an expansion card that would have 4 SATA ports, and obviously, it has to support 3 TB disks. 6 Gb/s SATA would be nice, but is not a requirement. I am not planning to use RAID for these disks.

I've looked on Newegg and elsewhere, and not many SATA boards advertise that they can support 3 TB disks. I found that Highpoint's RocketRaid 640 claims to do what I want, but I've also read bad reviews about it, saying that it adds 30 seconds to the boot process, takes over the BIOS, and has to be configured via DOS (!!!).

Does anyone have any recommendations, either for or against? Other suggestions along these lines? Thanks in advance!
September 8, 2011 5:45:12 PM

bluescreen said:
Hi folks. I have a homebuilt computer that I put together based in large part from recommendations on these forums, and it has been working really well for about 2 years now. I have 5 TB of always-on active storage, plus 4 TB that I use for backups, for a total of 5 HDDs and 1 optical drive in the system. This uses up all the on-board SATA ports of my Asus P6T SE.

So now I'd like to add more drives, in particular, a pair of 3 TB disks (one active, one as a backup). I have four more empty drive bays in total, so ideally, I'd like to find an expansion card that would have 4 SATA ports, and obviously, it has to support 3 TB disks. 6 Gb/s SATA would be nice, but is not a requirement. I am not planning to use RAID for these disks.

I've looked on Newegg and elsewhere, and not many SATA boards advertise that they can support 3 TB disks. I found that Highpoint's RocketRaid 640 claims to do what I want, but I've also read bad reviews about it, saying that it adds 30 seconds to the boot process, takes over the BIOS, and has to be configured via DOS (!!!).

Does anyone have any recommendations, either for or against? Other suggestions along these lines? Thanks in advance!


Doesn't anyone even have an opinion on this question?
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a c 383 G Storage
September 8, 2011 6:20:37 PM

This isn't optimal, but...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and actually I think you can use any card as most support LBA48. I think it's the OS that makes the difference as noted by the specs of the card listed above:

*Note: HDD Controllers are capable to support all HDD sizes, but different OS may limited the HDD sizes that can be supported. For example, XP 32-bit supports only up to 2TB.

so I think a lot of these sata3 cards will work for you.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
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September 9, 2011 5:37:01 PM

Hawkeye22 said:
This isn't optimal, but...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and actually I think you can use any card as most support LBA48. I think it's the OS that makes the difference as noted by the specs of the card listed above:

*Note: HDD Controllers are capable to support all HDD sizes, but different OS may limited the HDD sizes that can be supported. For example, XP 32-bit supports only up to 2TB.

so I think a lot of these sata3 cards will work for you.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...


Are you sure about this? I thought this would be the case, but I ran across that controller card earlier and was scared away by the feedback that read in part:
Quote:
Pros: Worked right away on a Win 7 64 bit set up on a HTPC. [...]

Cons: [...] Did not see my 2 3TB HDD's. Tried both MBR and GPT along with auto, 512, and 4096, none of which worked. Tried installing the Vista 64 bit drivers to no avail. Had to get a 2 port card for my 2 3TB HDD's. The 2 3TB HDD's showed up as 2 2TB HDD's, missing around 750GB.

Other Thoughts: Not a bad card if you need to add internal SATA ports. Did not do any RAID configurations. Use is for adding HDD's to the HTPC. If you are going to use HDD's over 2TB, be very wary, it will not pick anything up over 2TB. Rosewill needs to come up with an updated driver for HDD's over 2TB.


This is exactly the kind of problem I would like to avoid.
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Best solution

a c 383 G Storage
September 9, 2011 6:14:08 PM

bluescreen said:
Are you sure about this? I thought this would be the case, but I ran across that controller card earlier and was scared away by the feedback that read in part:
Quote:
Pros: Worked right away on a Win 7 64 bit set up on a HTPC. [...]

Cons: [...] Did not see my 2 3TB HDD's. Tried both MBR and GPT along with auto, 512, and 4096, none of which worked. Tried installing the Vista 64 bit drivers to no avail. Had to get a 2 port card for my 2 3TB HDD's. The 2 3TB HDD's showed up as 2 2TB HDD's, missing around 750GB.

Other Thoughts: Not a bad card if you need to add internal SATA ports. Did not do any RAID configurations. Use is for adding HDD's to the HTPC. If you are going to use HDD's over 2TB, be very wary, it will not pick anything up over 2TB. Rosewill needs to come up with an updated driver for HDD's over 2TB.


This is exactly the kind of problem I would like to avoid.


Unfortunately I have no real world experience with these cards using drives over 2T, but from my understanding it should work.
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September 16, 2011 7:08:03 PM

Best answer selected by bluescreen.
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September 16, 2011 7:19:50 PM

Well, I went ahead and bought a pair of 3 TB drives and actually ended up buying that Rosewill RC-218 card you mentioned. It was inexpensive enough for my budget, it had the 4 ports I was looking for, and it seemed to have the best reviews on Newegg of any of the affordable 4-port SATA II cards. I plugged in the first drive and the card last night, and it was properly recognized as 3 TB (reported as something like 2.79 TB by Windows). After letting it format overnight, I started copying my data onto it early this morning, and I expect the copy to be done sometime this afternoon :) .

I was pleased to find that the Rosewill card did not seem to add much to my boot times. In fact, I was busy doing something else when it was booting and only caught that card's BIOS messages out of the corner of my eye before they disappeared.

Now I have to see if my motherboard's on-board SATA ports will also recognize 3 TB disks properly. One report I read indicates that it won't work right unless I upgrade Intel's RST software to a later version than what Asus posts on their website for my motherboard (P6T SE). Hopefully, I'll get that issue squared away this weekend.

Thanks for the help.
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