[svlug] Multi drive PCI SATA card or 6 port SATA motherboard

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Mar 13 09:58:12 PST 2006

Quoting Marc MERLIN (marc_news at merlins.org):

> Interestingly enough, when reading on the subject, I ended up on Rick's page :)
> http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Hardware/sata.html

The scary thing is:  Although this page is one of the primary
information resources on the subject, I started it despite being
quite ignorant about it because there was at the time pretty much
nothing anywhere, and I figured a half-informed compendium was better
than nothing.  (I warn people in the footer that the page is hardly
fallible, but I hear it's been pretty useful for people, anyway.)

> Anyway, my problem is the following:
> I would like to plug 5 and later 10 SATA drives into a system that has PCI
> (not PCI-e), and no on board SATA support.

SATA is moving rapidly:  As you've probably found out, practically
all of the 6+ port cards are current generation and thus PCI-X or

> My last option would be to get a motherboard with 6 SATA connections, and a
> 4 port SATA card....

I've not yet seen a motherboard-integrated implementation with more than
4 ports.  They might exist, but I'm guessing they're at least rare.
Which is bloody annoying, since it'd be really useful on an inexpensive
Linux system using Linux-native software RAID.

> Or maybe I should just buy 3 of these:
> http://www.satasite.com/4-port-serial-ata-ii-raid.htm
> since Rick's page indicates that Silicon Image 3124 is supported.

Wow, good vendor to know about.

At bare minimum, I get the impression that Garzik's sata_sil driver is
pretty solid, by this late date.  There are a _lot_ of people using SiI
(and ICH5/ICH6) hardware with Linux, so you get the safety in numbers
factor going for you.  On the other hand, Ramona's advice of sticking to
3Ware has much to recommend it:  Among other things, it's one of your
few options for hot swap on ATA -- with the right hardware.

Rick Moen                 Support your local medical examiner:  Die strangely.
rick at linuxmafia.com

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