I have a major issue with the build of a machine I am trying to get up and running. My goal is to create a file server that will service the needs of my software development, personal media storage and streaming/media server needs, as well as provide a strong platform for backing up all this data in a routine, cron-job oriented German efficiency sort of way.

The issue is a simple one - all my drives are SATA drives and my motherboard controller only contains 4 ports. Solving the issue has proven to be an unmitigated nightmare. I would like advice on the purchase of the following:

4 Port internal SATA / 2 Port external eSATA PCI SATA Controller Card that has the following features and/or advantages:

  1. It must function. If I plug it in and attach drives, I expect my system to still make it to the Operating System login screen.

  2. It must function on CentOS, and I mean it must function WELL and with MINIMAL hassle. If hassle is unavoidable, there shall be CLEAR CUT and EASY TO FOLLOW instructions on how to install drivers and other supporting software.

  3. I do not need nor want fakeRAID - I will be setting up any RAID configurations from within the operating system.

Now, if I am able to find such a mythical device, I would be eternally grateful to whomever would be able to point me in the right direction, a direction which I assume will be paved with yellow bricks. I am prepared to pay a considerable sum of money (as SATA controller cards go) and so paying anywhere between 60 to 120 dollars will not be an issue whatsoever.

Does such a magical device exist? The following link shows an "example" of the type of thing I am looking for, however, I have no way of verifying that once I plug this baby in that my system will still continue to function once I've attached the drives, or that once I've made it to the OS, I will be able to install whatever drivers or software programs I need to make it work with relative ease. It doesn't have to be dog-shit simple, but it cannot involve kernels or brain surgery.


So does anyone have a suggestion regarding the subject I am asking about? PCI SATA Controller Cards? It would help if you've had experience with the component before - that is after all why I am asking here - for those who have had experience that I do not have. Bear in mind that this is for a home setup and that I do not have a company credit card. I have a budget with a 'relative' upper limit of about $150.00.

closed as not constructive by Chopper3 Nov 18 '11 at 10:23

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Is there anyone here interested in answering my question rather than offering a totally and completely different alternative that I've repeatedly expressed a disinterest in? – user30130 Nov 18 '11 at 9:49
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    Matt - you clearly either haven't read or understood the FAQ or seen what this Q&A site is about. Firstly we don't do shopping questions - if I'd spotted this earlier I'd have closed it then for this one reason, shopping questions tend to cause arguments and any valid answers go 'out of date' much more quickly than other types of questions because of market/product changes. Secondly this site is for PRO sysadmins, who take their jobs very seriously - and as such in general TomTom is right, SATA and SATA disks are a consumer protocol/products as rarely belong in pro IT. – Chopper3 Nov 18 '11 at 10:23
  • I find your delineations to be absurd, baseless, and condescending. 'pro IT' and 'taking their jobs very seriously' as your right - I don't take what I am doing seriously and I am sure the 'professionals' at my office who actually use SATA technology surely must be delusional - if the question solicited 'debate and arguments' its because of people like you and the 'laced' and thoughtless comments you leave behind. I'll make sure never to make use of your 'professional' site - its been made clear I don't fit the category. – user30130 Nov 18 '11 at 10:52
  • Oh and I can clearly see how a question like mine doesn't fit your arbitrary criterion but a question with over 2K views like 'how to recruit a linux guru' well by golly that's just pure gold isn't it? That certainly wouldn't fit any of the reasons you'd shut this thread down now would it? Oh wait ... well lets not let facts get in the way of what you deem 'this or that'. – user30130 Nov 18 '11 at 11:04
  • That "how to recruit a linux guru" was asked May 15 2009, more than two years ago and has got 1,735 views since then. The question would nowadays be closed. – tombull89 Nov 18 '11 at 11:45

You don't find it because it makes no sense to produce it. This is professional hardware and no one uses SATA anymore. SAS is the game - especially because you can plug any SATA card into a SAS controller. They are downard compatible. Adaptec for example makes only a "unified sata/sas controller".

As such, go to LSI and look for a SAS HBA (Host Bus Adapter).

  • Seriously? Stick to your motherboard. 400 USD is not even bleeding edge. It is low cost. If you dont like that, maybe wait 10 years? Get larger discs? Go for a used component? Fake raid low end consumer cards are also cheaper, but then why do you ask on a professional admin website? Use that thing and plug in 20+ drives and the price does not matter... SuperMicro has nice cases for up to 88 (!) hard discs, all running through one SAS HBA. or get a used / outdated one (SAS, the new standard is SAS2, double speed being 4xSATA3). – TomTom Nov 18 '11 at 7:52
  • Well, where we went wrong is that it is not unusuial for a server board to only support few dsics because.... people needing lots of discs in the pro space use SAN orcontrollers (in this price range) or get special board versions with on board SAS. Most of MY servers only support 4 SATA on board and quite a number of them have a 1000 USD Raid controller. For yor budget I suggest Ebay. – TomTom Nov 18 '11 at 9:14
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    This is a question for a HOME setup. Well, there's your problem. From the FaQ: Server Fault is for system administrators and desktop support professionals, people who manage or maintain computers in a professional capacity. If your question is [not about] running servers at home for personal use and Networking outside the professional workplace then your in the right place. Home networking questions would be more welcome on SuperUser, although trying to find a PCI SATA RAID card without the RAID is going to be...interesting. – tombull89 Nov 18 '11 at 10:28