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I have SuperMicro server with a dead zero channel SAS raid card, that is the motherboard has two 36 pin multilane SAS connectors. What I can't figure out is: Can I just buy say an IBM ServeRAID 8X card and plug that in instead? The IBM card is half is less then half the price and it's just a temporary test and development server, so I would like to avoid spending to much.

Alternatively I could just buy a card that have the two multilane connectors on it, but it would be prettier and easier cable wise to just plug in another card.

In short, how does a zero channel SAS RAID card interface to the two multilane connectors on the motherboard?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Think of the zero channel RAID card as a hardware key/dongle or license, rather than a discrete I/O controller. I doubt they use heavy proprietary protocol, just a driver that offloads the RAID numbercrunching onto the CPU. Which doesn't matter much these days with RAID10.

Buying your own proper RAID card can give you better bang for your buck, and will give you more freedom. But don't forget you might want a matching (firmware too) cold spare for your RAID card. That's why I try to use the same RAID card in many servers; it dilutes the cost of keeping a cold spare.

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+1 Aldo, I don't know if this is the case for Simon, but sometimes it's just a plain SAS or SATA chipset and a offload card can be added to get various RAID channels. Adaptec has cards that do this (use other SAS/SATA channels for drive connections). –  Chris S Jan 20 '11 at 20:49
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