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Thread: Advice regarding a PCI SATA controller

  1. #1
    aka .:iGi:. Calcutter DannyM's Avatar
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    Advice regarding a PCI SATA controller

    Hey folks,

    I've recently managed to get an oldish tower unit with an athlon 2600 and 25mb RAM, McMav from here has kindly sent me a motherboard. However, the board doesn't support SATA and most of the 939 boards only support SATA 150 (correct me if I am wrong).

    So, I need to find myself a good SATA PCI controller, but I'm not 100% sure what to be looking for and I have a few questions if some of you wouldn't mind answering.

    - Will using a PCI SATA controller effect the performance of the drives?
    - Does any motherboard support such devices so long as the drivers are installed? (I'm guessing yes)
    - If I used 2 SATA controllers, would I be able to run 1 RAID array using both controllers?

    Then the main help I need is finding a fair priced PCI SATA controller, however, this is where I think a problem will arise, I am wanting to run FreeNAS on the machine (http://freenas.org/freenas) so I think I'd have to be looking for something specific.

    Any help/advice would be appreciated.

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    Re: Advice regarding a PCI SATA controller

    I cant offer any advice, but will be watching thnis thread myself as I need pretty much the same advice.

    I have looked at PCI Sata cardss, but have no idea what I am looking at any more.

    Im from the era of the combined Serial/Parallel/IDE controller myself. lol....

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    Re: Advice regarding a PCI SATA controller

    I don't believe PCI bus has the bandwidth to allow the drives to run at full speed if there's anything else on the PCI bus? If it were PCIe that'd be a different matter

    I'd stick with the onboard SATA, most drives can be switched to not use any of the later features I believe?

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    Re: Advice regarding a PCI SATA controller

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Port-SATA-Co.../dp/B000S87GG0

    i have a card like that in a couple of pc's (dell3100's). it's SATA150, gives two ports, and is only £6 delivered

    there are a bunch of similar cards, and if you read the reviews they vary a lot, down to some people saying they couldn't get it working, so it's maybe a £6 gamble

    i bought one for the 3100 and got a second one for another dell 2400 (and old model that only had IDE, no SATA at all). i couldn't get it to work on the older dell, but i got a second 3100 and the card worked on that, so it wasn't the card

    i think PCI can't handle SATA300, so yes the card will slow down the theoretical transfer speed, but with an old machine you don't have any other option, you need pci-e for SATA300

    i'd suggest for £6 it's worth a try. you might need a bit of patience to get it to work. there are 3 SATA sockets, but only 2 can work at once, there are jumpers to change this, but it's not clear what to use. out of the box i think the external one (which is a normal sata socket on the outside of the card, not esata) and the one opposite it (ie. not the one on the side) work out the box. the PATA works along with both sata. i use this card to take advantage of old drives i have, instead of buying new bigger drives

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    Big, Mean and Ugly! circuitmonkey's Avatar
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    Re: Advice regarding a PCI SATA controller

    PCI is a shared bus, so if you already have a lot of things on there (including some built in devices; sound card, modem, etc.) performance might be limited.
    Although you won't get SATA 300 speeds, keep in mind that most HDDs don't get close to the theoretical limit of SATA 300 anyway. remember the old WD Raptor drives where still using SATA 150 and they where no slouches.
    For £6 for the devices Uni found you really can't complain. It looks like they use a VIA chip, which *should* work well under FreeNas. as for RAID, if FreeNas can see the individaul drivers, I see no reason it shouldn't be able to run a software based Raid array on them, just don't expect stellar performance.

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    Big, Mean and Ugly! circuitmonkey's Avatar
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    Re: Advice regarding a PCI SATA controller

    Just a thought, but if you don't mind spending a little bit of money have a look at this:
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Asus-...2-CPU-On-Board
    dual core
    Gb LAN
    2x SATA 300 ports
    and very low power.

    Should make a very nice NAS!
    and you get change for £60

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    ɯʎɔɐɹsɐʌʍ mycarsavw's Avatar
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    Re: Advice regarding a PCI SATA controller

    Cal, now you know why Mav's a n00b.

    What drives do you have to go in there already?

    If you've not yet bought any (unlikely I know), then it may be worth looking at IDE drives.

    Unless the read/write speeds of what you're doing is critical of course.
    |Kata: "Read title as 'fisting'. Not sure why I clicked. Relieved, really."|
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    aka .:iGi:. Calcutter DannyM's Avatar
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    Re: Advice regarding a PCI SATA controller

    I don't think Mav knew much about what I was looking to achieve.

    I currently have 2x500GB SATA drives, but was intending to use 4x500GB drives in a RAID5 array, but if it's going to become an issue then I guess getting a 939 mobo with proper SATA support would be on the books.

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    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Advice regarding a PCI SATA controller

    Quote Originally Posted by DannyM View Post
    Hey folks,

    I've recently managed to get an oldish tower unit with an athlon 2600 and 25mb RAM, McMav from here has kindly sent me a motherboard. However, the board doesn't support SATA and most of the 939 boards only support SATA 150 (correct me if I am wrong).
    Mine has SATA2, so I expect there are others with it as well, however you don't need it unless you have an SSD.

    - Will using a PCI SATA controller effect the performance of the drives?
    Not noticeably. PCI can only transfer about 128MB/s, which modern hard drives can reach in short bursts, however their sustained performance is nearer 90MB/s so they'd be fine.
    - Does any motherboard support such devices so long as the drivers are installed? (I'm guessing yes)
    Yes.
    - If I used 2 SATA controllers, would I be able to run 1 RAID array using both controllers?
    Nope, you'd need a RAID controller, which would incorporate SATA controllers.

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