I need a SAS Expander card but which specs x16 vs x8 and 12G vs 6Gb/s

By cemengin911 ·
Tags: Hardware
I found myself in need of a SAS expander card to accommodate my Z590 series motherboard that I am running an audio workstation with. Which only comes with 6 HDD Bays.

I am not going to RAID. I need 6 ports. So they are gonna be 12 total with my MOBO. They should support at least 8 TB drives, and they are all going to be needed at any given moment in my workflow.

But most of the cards I found Googling are either: x1, x2, x4, or Lanes are not mentioned at all.

And then there is 6Gb/s versus 12Gb/s cards... I've heard that the performance is %30 better with the latter.

I am perplexed about which specs I should chase. Which would be good enough? Obviously, I'd like a fast and reliable card.

So help on the subject and also maybe some specific card suggestions would be appreciated.
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All Answers

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Is storage space the goal?

by rproffitt Moderator In reply to I need a SAS Expander car ...

Just today I saw 14TB Toshiba drives at Newegg for $279 each. With 6 of those are you saying you need more?

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Preserve the Workflow is the goal...

by cemengin911 In reply to Is storage space the goal ...

Hi there,
I have 1x10TB 4x8TB 5x 6TB and 2xSSD 1TB. They are all DATA drives except SSDs. They are all going to be needed at any given moment in my workflow.

And hopefully one day, I will have the pleasure to put in use those M.2 slots on the MOBO...

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Let me give a nod to what a video production company uses.

by rproffitt Moderator In reply to Preserve the Workflow is ...

Ever hear of Linus TechTips? They put their stuff up on a storage server. It's a rack with a lot of big drives. He's made a lot of videos about it.

But you might not be there yet as these 14TB drives look to be cheap and easy to do compared to finding that SAS Expander and then getting it all to work. I won't get into a story about that here. But the person who tried it lost months working on it.

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by cemengin911 In reply to Let me give a nod to what ...

I just need the best option I can come up with. I am thinking I can benefit from a 12Gb/s card. Would that mean automatically this card will be x16? Or hat's something I should separately aim for?

Also, any card suggestions towards what I like to achieve?

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I don't see why to bother with 12Gb/s.

by rproffitt Moderator In reply to SAS or SATA III

Please correct me here but SATA 3 is 6Gb/s so 12 would be nice but if you do a little more research a spinning rust drive (HDD) has never been known to come close to saturating the SATA 3 or PCIe channel.

-> Reference https://superuser.com/questions/1246822/how-does-sata-speed-correlate-with-actual-transferspeed and others.

My advice is to get the 14TB drives as it appears you want more storage space. Once you get past that size, look to a storage server like Linux TechTips and others do.

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I am definitely not correcting you...

by cemengin911 In reply to I don't see why to bother ...

12GB/s gives %30 better performance than 6Gb/s.

Yes I only have x2 SSDs now. But, in time I hope to populate more SSDs in the future.

14Tb drive has its downsides for me. First I have to deal with a much larger work time to deal with cloning the whole thing to another 14TB drive and when there is a problem again; I have to deal with a 14TB drive...
I have a 10TB drive and correction: 6x 8TB drives and 4x 6TB drives.
All with twin brother/sister clones... Except for the 10 TB drive! I have no clone for that... So I have a bunch of 2TB drives that I eventually copied the important data from it.

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Definitely time for a storage server.

by rproffitt Moderator In reply to I am definitely not corre ...

Over at Linus Techtips they mostly run the 2.5 Gigabit network so NAS and such work for video production.

https://www.cablematters.com/blog/Networking/beyond-gigabit-2-5-gigabit-ethernet-and-10-gigabit-ethernet is a good read.

If you want that SAS, go for it. I've seen production folk mess around with small drives and as such, my advice above.

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I wonder how to utilize Network to my advantage...

by cemengin911 In reply to Definitely time for a sto ...

Thank you that was a good read. I learned a bit more.
So I can ask some questions that won't sound very dull and stupid.

The MOBO has 2,5GB Ethernet x2. It also has Thunderbolt 3.

Is that mean, I can get an enclosure unit of some kind and stuck some drives in it, and then connect them through the Ethernet?

Which would totally make a SAS expansion card escapable?

If I am not out of my mind yet, then I, sure am now:
Would PCIe 4 compete with 10GB Ethernet?
Or vise versa...

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I didn't tell all.

by rproffitt Moderator In reply to I wonder how to utilize N ...

I see your other discussions on Tom's and other places where they cover areas that well, I will avoid duplication here.

As to the questions, since Linus Techtips does 4K video work and then puts assets on their storage server, my answer is yes.

At 10GB Ethernet even they don't do that. Partly why is the write speed of even an Enterprise scale 15K SAS drive is well, not as fast as SSD (reading https://linustechtips.com/topic/803382-15k-sas-speeds/ for example.) And as such this is not a problematic speed/capacity issue for PCIe 3 or 4. I'm sure someone has tried/tested write speeds on 10 GB but here my advice is to migrate to the 14TB drives before a SAS expander and when you blow past 14TB drives, it's time for a storage server.

Always your choice in the end but keeping a storage server out of a sound production area has big benefits.

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I hear ya...

by cemengin911 In reply to I didn't tell all.

I hear you. But it is very scary. Anything bigger than even 8 TB is scary. If an HDD fails on me dealing with a 14 TB failure is a disaster. Also, buying them is very excogitative. I would wanna buy a good one, probably anything in the Pro level...

I just found out through in one of those other forums ( some of them really suck by the way) that there are SSD SAS drives the are huge... Like 15 TB huge. And SSD... And SAS!
Like this one. Which first I though it must be a typo!
Seagate Nytro 3031 XS15360TE70004 15.36 TB Solid State Drive - SAS

Not that I will be buying any soon! :) I also hear you about keeping the server mentality out of the music production. Which you suggestively mentioned in the first place. But I realize that youı are not for it. Yet, since then I made a research through some friends and found out that lots of Music Houses are using such servers. But of course, they kinda have to go that way, so that many rooms can benefit from that same sound source...

But at the end of the day, I realize that for now, I should just get some x8 6Gb/s non-raid card and seize the future later...

As always, it was a great experience, thank you...

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