How many M.2 drives is too many M.2 drives? That’s a question this Kickstarter project (opens in new tab) from Apex Storage (as noticed by Hackster (opens in new tab)) attempts to answer: the Storage Scaler crams 16 SATA M.2 drives onto one PCIe board.
The crowdfunding campaign has 25 days to go as we write, and has reached about a sixth of its goal. What you get for your money, with the usual crowdfunding caveats applied, is a PCIe board with space for 16 M.2 sticks. These SATA drives then talk to the host PC through four SFF-8643 SATA connectors, for a total of 16 6Gbps connections. Power comes from the x4 PCIe slot the card rests in, along with a six-pin feed from the PSU of the type often used to power graphics cards.
It requires an external SATA HBA or RAID card to work, as it has no built-in drive controller. In RAID mode, it offers up to 7,377 MB/s read and 5,712 MB/s write. In HBA mode it can be configured as software RAID, JBOD, or as individual drives through OS disk management.
Potential applications include high-res video editing, storage caching, and mining storage-based cryptocurrencies such as Chia. By using SATA rather than NVME drives, the hope is to keep costs down and increase returns.
Orders should begin shipping in October. Remember that crowdfunding a project is not a guarantee of receiving a finished product. Backing a crowdfunded project is akin to an investment, you believe in the project and want it to succeed. You are not purchasing a retail product.