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XtremeMaC

Sata Port multiplier, which one to get

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Hi there,

I am trying to find out which port multiplier I need to be getting.

I have 5 sata hard disks that I no longer want in my computer case. I am building an hard disk rack to collect them. (i do not want to buy a rack thank you)

For this rack I want to have a controller that all my hdd will be connected via sata and will have esata as output which then will be connectable to my or other pc's.

now my motherboard is Asus P7P55-LX, which has Intel® 5 Series/3400 Series SATA AHCI Controller. I wasn't able to find if this controller allows port multipliers.

Now addonics have some port multipliers but they are all confusing. I do not wish to raid my drives. they'll be in jbod config. I do not wish to boot from these drives. I do not wish to connect any optical drives.

Can someone help me on buying the right card please. basically I want the external enclosure consisting of 5 sata hdd's to be connected to my computer via esata. i do not have usb3 nor like usb for multiple read/write operations.. that is why i am keen on sata..

also i do not have esata on my motherboard but instead have a cable that one side is sata and other side is esata. will that properly work with port multipliers..

ow and i am on win 7 64 bit..

one card that i found was addonics ad5hpmrxa-e. i'm not 100% sure if this is fully compatible. there are many confusing parts...and many look-alikes with different controllers..

post-8053-0-31095200-1306631746_thumb.jp

thank you so much for any response..

Edited by XtremeMaC

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I would not do such thing as the port multiplier will divide the sata bandwith by 5 and you'll get speed like usb2 or less. As for compatibility, i can't tell but adding a raid capable controller behind another isn't a good idea with end user parts.

Also e-sata is only sata with a allowed max length longer (2m max).

Here's what i would do:

- buy sas/sata controller with the right number of ports. The best would be a sas controller with two external connectors of you course if you still have a free pci express x8 (Lsi and Promise provide some).

- or buy an enclosure (but you ruled that out).

- or buy an usb 3 hub ( but you ruled that out too) and an usb 3 controller. And then connect each drive to the usb3 hub using a sata to usb 3 connectors.

The last one might be really complex and prone to problems.

Anyway the setup you're trying will be complex and will be prone to errors and loss of data and that's why i would buy an enclosure as it is their job and you might expect that they did a decent one and you can decide on a good one after reading some review.

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hi allen thanks for the reply

buying a enclosure is not any different than the setup i am trying to build. enclosure is, if you search for it, an aluminium block with the same card i have attached on the previous post. so it isn't making any difference.. i still need a port multiplier capable controller or so if i am told right..

okay so let me ask another question since you've mentioned. is having a usb 3 hub+usb3 controller any faster than having a sata hub+sata controller? aren't they doing the same exact diving of bandwidth if at all.

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buying a enclosure is not any different than the setup i am trying to build. enclosure is, if you search for it, an aluminium block with the same card i have attached on the previous post. so it isn't making any difference..

No most of the enclosure doing raid come with more but there are also entry level enclosure that are only what you said. But perhaps that's too expensive.

i still need a port multiplier capable controller or so if i am told right..

The port multiplier is using only one sata channel to transfert data from the array so it limited to 3Gb/s for all the drives where a real raid controller would use 5 channels for the same array and the total available bandwidth would be 5x3Gb/s. The real world speed you'll get without a real raid controller is most likely only 30MB/s at most where a raid controller would be a lot faster about 90MB/s with recent drives.

okay so let me ask another question since you've mentioned. is having a usb 3 hub+usb3 controller any faster than having a sata hub+sata controller? aren't they doing the same exact diving of bandwidth if at all.

Yes but usb3 bandwidth is 4.8Gb/s so it's faster than sata. Also using usb would provide more flexibility but wouldn't allow jbod array (unless doing it with the OS).

Also remember that using jbod (software or hardware) is really dangerous for the data as there are no fault tolerance.

Edited by allen2

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usb3 might be a good choice but the thing is the drives are not external. so I have to use the sata first to connect my drives. then i can choose between esata or usb3.

I've found this card, http://www.cooldrive...pc4posipom.html do you think this one plus http://www.addonics....r/AD5HPMSXA.asp would do the trick?

u're right about the jbod but I do not need nor want to raid my individual drives.. so i'll have to live with having no fault tolerance i guess.

and also lets put the enclosures back in the game.

at the end what should i be getting. i am really hopeless here please help.

What I am tring to accomplish:

post-8053-0-70623600-1306677313_thumb.pn

thanks

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I have to echo allen2's comments: it seems like a really poor choice.

You're willing to spend $100+ on a card that's not even guaranteed to work and which in the end will most likely cost you more than a proper "esata enclosure" and take up a lot of time to put together. And in the end you'll be using JBOD which is quite unsafe -- I use RAID0 for my "OS drive" as I couldn't care if that data went missing, but for data? NO way!

For the price of the first port multiplier you listed, you could get this.

-5 bays with hot-swap trays, and it uses a nice backplane instead of a mess of cables

-it has proper cooling (airflow/ventilation)

-there is an adequate PSU included

-the case is already built and looks nice

-it has the necessary highpoint PCI-e controller card

-it has a power switch and 7 status LEDs

-it works for sure and all of the hardware supported by the vendors

I don't think you could come up with anything significantly nicer, or anything cheaper that isn't totally ghetto. I wonder why you just said no to enclosures right from the start...

Half decent USB3 drives enclosures, with a USB 3 hub, and a USB 3 controller for your PC wouldn't be any cheaper either, and you'd still have 5 cases and a whole bunch of wires laying around...

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For the price of the first port multiplier you listed, you could get this.

@ CoffeFiend, it is a great find and is the best option for the money there.

An example of great enclosure : http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/1752/qnap_ts_509_pro_turbo_5_drive_nas_server/index.html.

As you can see it's a nas, so it will also allow you do more things than you really need actually but the length limit will be about 100 meter instead of 2 meter. Also it will be more suitable if you have more than one computer that need to access it.

Of course a DIY nas would be almost pretty much as expensive but you could improve some feature here and there (increasing total number of drives, improving performance...). One the best raid controller out there cost about 450$ new but 300$ for a used one. In raid 0 with this controller you can get 300MB/s easily with at least 4 recent drives.

Then back to our subject, from what i read about the port multiplier it should work with silicon image card so it should work but you MB only have one pci express > x4, the second is limited to x4. That's the catch with those MB.

But to choose correctly, you should look at the problem differently:

- Why are you removing those drives from pc case ?

- How much do you want to spend ?

- Why a JBOD array ?

- How many computers must access the data stored on the array ?

- what is size of the drives (array of more 2TB are supported by the controller but if you want partitions of more than 2TB, you'll need GPT partitions and NTFS for win 7)?

- Do you have an old computer that might be used as DIY NAS ?

- Do your computers will need to access data stored on the array the same time ?

- Are you willing to spend time to make a DIY NAS ?

Sorry i should have asked those before.

Edited by allen2

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An example of great enclosure : http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/1752/qnap_ts_509_pro_turbo_5_drive_nas_server/index.html.

As you can see it's a nas, so it will also allow you do more things than you really need actually but the length limit will be about 100 meter instead of 2 meter. Also it will be more suitable if you have more than one computer that need to access it.

That's one of the least bad "prosumer" NAS out there. But that review is a bit optimistic, and doesn't say much in terms of how they tested it. If you were using this in JBOD or RAID5 (with 5 really good drives) and were writing files bigger than it can cache in its 1GB of RAM, you can see the speed dropping to 35MB/s or so, which a far cry from tweaktown's 80-90MB/s results (they must have only been reading/writing small sizes that fit in its RAM cache). Even these guys have it benched at 35MB/s writes and 50MB/s reads (in RAID5). Like any consumer/prosumer NAS, ease of use (networking) is perhaps the main advantage, along with ease of setup. However, speed isn't...

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well I did not explain myself in detail thinking there is a straight answer for such a solution but anyways, despite of what u might been thinking I am actually trying to make a very simple solution to put my drives elsewhere for personal use..

The 6 hdd's are my archive drives which have my backup games, my movies, tv series, etc.. so I do not access them that frequently. I've been saying 5 drives since the controller I found supported 5 (was going to buy 2 of them). but in fact i've 6 drives.

well I said I want to remove them from my case, but in fact they are out of my case in seperate enclosures. 3 of them usb2 only enclosure, 3 of them usb3 enclosures (obviously they're connected to usb 2 in my case)(I had bought them thinking I might move to usb3 eventually)

I wanted them out of pc case for, thermal reasons, not using them all at the same time so I want to power them off and I don't like windows' powering off, it tries to turn them back all the time. and for mobility reasons..

so anyways now I have 6 enclosures that are taking up so much space, so many usb cables, too many power adapters and cords. If I was to eject one of them it'd keep running on its own power so I've to reach the back of the case to power it down. I didn't have much time to consider these problems before I bought these, but now I want a proper solution. Also I have never found multiple read/write from a usb 2 external disk to be very reliable. over the years I've lost many files when trying to write a file and read a file simultaneously.. so this is one reason why I want to get rid of usb. second is obviously speed.

as I've mentioned since these are archive hdd's i do not really need raid afaik. I want them to be seperate drives..

one other reason to want to combine all these hdd into a single place is for ease of access and mobility. I can just take all my drives to my friends or hook it up to the tv or something..(I'd need usb or network for that..network would be nice actually for my future plans)

I do have other computers at hand.

I am able to make my own case.

most often only my computer will be accessing these drives..

I do need to access seperate drives at the same time.

I am willing to spend time on making my own, that's actually why I said I don't want an enclosure unless there is exacly what I am looking for, for a reasonable price.. this actually happened when I designed my own computer case. luckyly i found a very similar computer case at a shop towards the end of my design phase..

3 drives are 2tb, other 3 is 1.5tb.

I can spend the money as long as it'll give me what I want..

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Okay then you're ready for a DIY nas.

Then you should find which spare motherboard you can use:

- you need 1GB of memory.

- a pci express x4 or a pci slot.

- Integrated graphics would be ok.

If you want to move an enclosure, you should be extra careful or go with raid. With the drives you own, you can still do raid 50 (you'll get a good speed) and your array will be 7TB (raw and only 6.5TB under an OS).

Then you need to find a light and small case that can support your spare motherboard.

As for the raid card, you should find a 8 ports controller ; this way you'll be able to expand the array when you need it. I already pointed out in my previous post the controller i consider as one the best out there.

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