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Billaferd September 13, 2013 05:11 PM

Starting Media Server Build
Hello all,

I have been looking to build media server for a while now but am really struggling with some details mostly pertaining to the RAID subsystem. First a brief overview of what I want to accomplish.

I want a general NAS setup but with a very large disk array. I currently have several 2 TB external drives with all of my media such as blue ray's, hd dvd's, cd's and images. I want to build a RAID 6 Array that can handle the current media and also be expandable for the future. I have figured out that a good start will be 6 4TB drives, that should give me a good amount of room for expansion for the mean time. Also, I want to use it as a PXE boot server to update my HTPC's that I currently have and it will handle transcoding duties for all of my devices. I plan on running Ubuntu server and PlexServer on the rig for the OS and the system drives will be mirrored 120GB SSD's.

My question is about RAID controllers specifically. The mother board that I am looking at is a Supermicro H8DCL-6F. The motherboard sports an LSI SAS2008 controller, and it says that it will handle up to 8 drives but can expand out to 240. My question is how is the expansion to 240 drives achieved and will more then 8 drives need to be split into a new volume? I would like to eventually have 24 drives in the array and all under one volume, is this feasible?

If anyone has any input or good tutorials on RAID hardware please share. I am familiar with the concept of RAID itself, but have never considered how it works on a larger level. I was hoping to start buying parts piece by piece next week but I really want to get this issue sorted out first.

Perineum September 14, 2013 07:21 PM

I believe that after 8 drives you need to use SAS expanders....

JD September 14, 2013 08:05 PM

You might want to checkout the FreeNAS forums as well. Builds similar to yours are quite common over there.

You probably want something like this: Norco Technologies, Inc. that includes the SAS Expander, though that motherboard doesn't seem to use a miniSAS connector type, only SATA ports. You could find eSATA port multipliers instead.

You're probably better off buying a proper RAID controller with an external miniSAS connector. The one that's included with a $400 motherboard surely isn't going to be great. A "good" RAID card typically costs twice that.

Master_Shake_ September 14, 2013 08:47 PM

Supermicro Superchassis 846E1-R710B 4U Rack Server Chassis Black 710W Rpsu 24X3.5INCH Hs HDD Bays

one sas cable to control 24 drives

i used this


i would need an 8 port car to get 24 drives and there is no expansion without more of them.

or you could use this

Intel Controller Card RES2CV360 2U/4U 36Port 6GB SAS Expander R2200/P4000M/P4000L Retail

but the supermicro way is the best.

Perineum September 14, 2013 08:56 PM

I've got 8 drives in a RAID6 with an Adaptec 31605 card. My norco case holds 16 HS bays and the card supports 16, so no expanders. No issues so far.

Master_Shake_ September 14, 2013 09:08 PM


Originally Posted by Perineum (Post 729421)
I've got 8 drives in a RAID6 with an Adaptec 31605 card. My norco case holds 16 HS bays and the card supports 16, so no expanders. No issues so far.

i use a norco 4020 with 12 seagate 2tb drives with an lsi 9260-4i and that 24 port expander...i tell you when researching that build there was very little info on the expander. then i found out that its an lsi chip. that made it an easy choice.

Billaferd September 15, 2013 10:47 AM

Thanks all,

I'll learn more about raid expanders and see what I come up with. I'll be sure to post about my experience when parts start coming in. I'm pretty excited about this build as it will fill a long standing thorn in my side from multiple hdd failures in the past.

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