What do I need if I want to plug in multiple SATA drives to an existing system?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Alan, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Hi All,

    I have a situation where I would like to plug in a number of SATA
    drives (I have quite a few available - 80GB to 250GB) to create a
    larger storage array (1.0 to 1.5TB and expandable by replacing the
    80GB drives with old 500GB drives as and when they get cycled out).

    This won't be storing anything mission critical, so I don't
    necessarily *need* RAID5 (and I guess I could run FreeNAS on the
    system to do a software RAID anyway if desireable).

    I have looked as NAS boxes, but they seem quite expensive to just
    house the drives.

    So, I think I just need something like a 6-port (12-port??) multi-way
    connector that plugs into the existing SATA data and power sockets on
    the motherboard.

    Issues:

    1) I don't know what this would be called to search for it online
    (PriceSpy say)

    2) Maybe I don't understand why I need a big expensive box, rather
    than a 'splitter cable' of some sort (power maybe the issue)?

    3) Is there a better way still?


    Can anyone advise?

    Thanks,

    Alan.

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    Alan, Mar 2, 2009
    #1
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  2. Alan

    J Brockley Guest

    I'm not sure having multiple small drives is all that beneficial as the cost
    of supporting them all probably out weights the saving of buying a single
    big drive new. Its easy enough to get Mbrd which support 4 drives in raid or
    even add in cards to do the same but I suspect getting beyond this is seen
    as getting serious and probably priced accordingly.

    The " big expensive box" are usually a cutdown PC running Linux and I guess
    because they are not common as muck priced accordingly. I was going to do
    something similar with smaller drivers as you but in the end a DLink NAS box
    won out and its by far a better setup.
    Its on all the time but very low power when idle and its available to
    everything on the network from PC's to media players. Also does bit torrent
    so no need to leave PC on the handle that task.
     
    J Brockley, Mar 2, 2009
    #2
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  3. Alan

    simonnz10 Guest

    You might also have a few difficulties from a logistical and
    performance perspective in using various drives. Your best bet is IMO,
    to buy a new higher capacity drive.
     
    simonnz10, Mar 2, 2009
    #3
  4. Alan

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Hi Alan,

    AFAIK you can't use a 'splitter' on SATA, you need one port per drive. Hence
    your answer probably lies in PCI or PCIe card/s.

    Cheers,
     
    ~misfit~, Mar 2, 2009
    #4
  5. Alan

    Richard Guest


    Port multiplier is what you mean, but they are normally used in an esata
    case not internal to a computer,

    Would be cheaper and faster to just use multiple cheap 4 port sata PCI
    or PCIe cards
     
    Richard, Mar 2, 2009
    #5
  6. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Hi,

    I have all the drives here already, so no cost for them.

    Does that change the economics?

    What 'box' did you go for? I plan to look at all the alternatives and
    just put them side by side price-wise, so whatever I can get that box
    for (PriceSpy price will do for comparison) is what I would use.

    Thanks,

    Alan.

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    Alan, Mar 2, 2009
    #6
  7. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Hi Simon,

    Performance won't be an issue - this is for storage only, and I won't
    be needing to access things rapidly.

    What do you mean by 'logistical difficulties'?

    Thanks,

    Alan.

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    Alan, Mar 2, 2009
    #7
  8. PCI cards do not transfer data fast enough for SATA drives. PCIe is
    the way to go.
     
    Stephen Worthington, Mar 2, 2009
    #8
  9. Alan

    eyes Guest

    RAID will be a problem on mixed sized drives. Your RAID size will be
    equivalent to the smallest drive.

    And upgrading a RAID is difficult. You cannot replace a disk with a
    bigger one and expect it to expand automatically. With some work you may
    be able to do it, but it is usually easier to create a new RAID and copy
    the data over.

    By the time you factor in power requirements and reliability of multiple
    older drives, etc. It may just be better to buy a bigger drive instead.
     
    eyes, Mar 2, 2009
    #9
  10. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Hi Shaun,

    I searched PCI + SATA on PriceSpy but I seemed to get power supplies:

    PCIe + SATA gave me systems / motherboards.

    Would you be able to 'lead me by the nose' and link an example of what
    you mean?

    Thanks in advance,

    Alan.

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    The views expressed are my own, not those of my employer or others.
    My unmunged email is: (valid for 30 days
    min). The following is a probably unique, meaningless string you can
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    Alan, Mar 2, 2009
    #10
  11. Another option might be to put the drives in external USB enclosures. Except
    you can only do USB RAID in Linux, not in Dimdows.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 2, 2009
    #11
  12. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Hi Richard,

    After Shaun (Misfit)'s post just above, I searched PCI + SATA on
    PriceSpy but I seemed to get power supplies:

    PCIe + SATA gave me systems / motherboards.

    I note also Stephen's post below saying that PCIe is the way to go.

    Would you be able to 'lead me by the nose' and link an example of what
    you mean?

    Thanks in advance,

    Alan.

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    Alan, Mar 2, 2009
    #12
  13. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Hi Eyes,

    I understand.

    I figured I would use, say, two 80GB drives mirrored, and four 250GB
    in RAID5 giving a total of 80+750 = 830GB initially.

    If / when I replace one of the 80GB drives with, say, a 500GB, that
    mirror would still be 80GB. When I replace the second, I can then
    rebuild as 500GB.

    All the disks are 'second hand' and would only be sitting on a shelf
    or thrown out, so no cost to them for me.
    Indeed - not an issue, but good point to remember.
    Power is not an issue (for me) since it will be located in a building
    where the power and other services are shared. Any additional usage
    won't even notice in the overall sense, so I can consider that to be a
    zero marginal cost for me too.

    The only 'bits' that will be an actual cost for me is linking up the
    drives, or buying a single 8-port switch if I use multiple old
    machines with, say, two SATA disks in each and run FreeNAS on them.

    Given that, what do you think would be my best bet?

    Thanks,

    Alan.

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    The views expressed are my own, not those of my employer or others.
    My unmunged email is: (valid for 30 days
    min). The following is a probably unique, meaningless string you can
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    Alan, Mar 2, 2009
    #13
  14. Alan

    oneofus Guest

    http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=359940
     
    oneofus, Mar 2, 2009
    #14
  15. Alan

    oneofus Guest

    Or these guys have stock if you are in Welly

    http://www.pbwellington.co.nz/p.aspx?4479
     
    oneofus, Mar 2, 2009
    #15
  16. Alan

    Richard Guest

    Seems fine to me - get a good 35-40 megabytes/sec sustained onto and off
    any disk connected to the PCI card in the file server - and thats via
    the lan too.

    Plus, you post appeared right under the OP saying that performance was
    not an issue.
     
    Richard, Mar 2, 2009
    #16
  17. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Auckland - but thanks for the find!

    Alan.

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    My unmunged email is: (valid for 30 days
    min). The following is a probably unique, meaningless string you can
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    Alan, Mar 2, 2009
    #17
  18. Alan

    Richard Guest

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.4660
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.4706
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.4680


    The PCI one is sata-1 but thats enough for storing music/movies/adult
    entertainment on. I had no problems with the 4 port I got going into the
    slot, but some reviewers on DX had problems

    or pay more on trademe

    http://www.trademe.co.nz/Computers/Components/Other-PCI-cards/auction-205015604.htm

    No point going for sata2 if its not having your OS on it as the speeds
    on sustained reads and writes like copying large files on and off is
    less then the 150 of sata1
     
    Richard, Mar 2, 2009
    #18
  19. Alan

    Alan Guest

    I don't think FreeNAS is based on Windows or Linux, nor does it
    require them - I understand it is completely stand-alone and uses some
    type of FreeBSD.

    USB enclosures appears to be quite an expensive way to go. I'd have
    to buy one for each drive, and that would add $80 to $100 for each
    drive.

    Compared to just putting them into old PCs it looks more expensive,
    but maybe I am missing something?

    Thanks,

    Alan.

    --

    The views expressed are my own, not those of my employer or others.
    My unmunged email is: (valid for 30 days
    min). The following is a probably unique, meaningless string you can
    use to find my posts in search engines: ewygchvboocno43vb674b6nq46tvb
     
    Alan, Mar 2, 2009
    #19
  20. Alan

    SteveM Guest

    Buy this: http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=204761306
    6 port PCI-X SATA RAID controller. Will run in a standard pci slot.
    Since you say that performance is not an issue, this will be adaquate.
    (In fact they run pretty well in a PCI slot, I have 2 of them)
    This controller will support more than 1 array at a time so you can
    do your RAID 1 set and RAID 5 set.

    Get a big PC case that can hold up to 6 drives comfortably....

    SteveM
     
    SteveM, Mar 2, 2009
    #20
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