Need advice on EU HBA and NIC pricing

I’m looking to build a new am4 based server with the following components:

mobo - whatever I can get cheap with x8x8x4 or better slots — Probably, hopefully a b550 taichi
32gb ecc ram - found a pretty good deal already
HBA - have no idea what I should pay for this
NIC - Not sure what to get or what to pay
gtx 1060
pile of spinning rust

What i need help with is choosing the right HBA and NIC and what i should be paying for them.

I have been using server the homes guides as a reference:

But all the prices, when searching on ebay with item location set to EU, seem pretty high.

I would like a 16i HBA and the cheapest one I can find is 290e (LSI 9300-16i) Looking at 8i’s the cheapest ones, that servethehome recommends, are about half the price, maybe even a bit less. Does this sound about right for pricing?

As for NIC’s i have found a somewhat local guy (same country) that would sell me a 10GbE (Intel IBM X540-T2) for about 100e. I think that that is a pretty good deal, but how well would it run with only 4 lanes? I am also considering getting 1GbE cards for the power savings (if some one happens to know how much that is that would be sweet) and for the lesser lane requirements.

At present I don’t need 10GbE or 16 sata connectors, but I’m confident I will grown in to these over time.

My intent is to use this setup with Proxmox and play around with a variety of VM’s

What should a HBA like a lsi 9305 and a 10GbE NIC cost in europe?

If you don’t mind waiting it’s a bit lower cost ordering from China, and I’m 99% sure lots of those EU based ones are reselling Chinese HBAs for higher prices. Same pics and all.

I’m sure you’ve seen the STH deal thread on the 9300-16i, that should be a fair price. Just gotta chat with the seller for shipping.

If you can live with SAS expanders, a 9207-8i can be had for pretty cheap too.

Set alerts for X550-T2 (and other OEM cards using the X550-AT2 chipset) on ebay, you might be able to get one for around ~100USD before shipping if you can wait.

Older SFP+ NICs like the ConnectX 2 and 3 cards can be had for cheap too if you can get by with SFP+, though I should also point out those cards are no longer supported in ESXi 7 (CX-2) and 8 (CX-3) respectively.

Yeaaaah, tbh all of this is kind of a #!?£ shoot, esp for a first time buyer.

My understanding is that counterfeit HBA and NIC’s are prevalent. As such i would prefer not ordering from china, as that is likely the source. However, ordering from within the EU is no guarantee what so ever that i will get a genuine article and worst case scenario im getting sold the same damn stuff that i could just have ordered from china myself.

Now i dont really mind getting a knockoff board, so long as it works as intended. The problem is, if a fake HBA were to contain some form of malware, i am quite confident that i lack the skills to either detect it let alone determine it before putting it in to use :frowning:

Thank you for your help :slight_smile:

My concern there is getting slapped with VAT when entering the EU. Though, now that you mention it, even with additional VAT that would still be cheaper then what I would be paying for right now.

Is there anything wrong with SAS expanders? I only came across this technology recently and it seems kinda too good to be true. I understand that the number of SAS lanes you provide to the expander will be a bottleneck. But that is not likely to be an issue with my JBOD spinning rust.
What i dont know is how is the compatibility of these things. Do they just plug and play with proxmox?

Oookay! Good to know that that is a good deal for the x550! I got a guy here that will sell one to me for about 100e so i should probably take him up on that. The cards are old IBM ones, so they are probably real?

Im hoping to use rj45’s :sweat_smile:
Speaking of, x550’s are backward compatible with 1gig and 2.5, right? I dont really need 10gig, but since the price looks to be about the same here i might as well get the 10gig right?! :laughing:

Thank you for your help :slight_smile:

1 Gig, sure,
2.5 Gig … wouldn’t count on it … probably on the X550 …

1 Like

The X550 supports both 2.5GbE and 5GbE

The X540 you mentioned a few posts ago, only supports 1GbE or 10GbE, no in-between.

It’s it’s a legit server pull then it’s probably legit. But of course look around and do your own due diligence.

SAS Expanders are exactly like what you said. The Intel SAS expanders can be powered using molex afaik.

Other SAS Expanders can only be powered over the PCIe slots, though they won’t take any PCIe lanes, so you can just get one of those PCIe risers and supply power that way.

I paid 898.97 CHF + swiss import toll on Mouser for a new Microchip HBA Ultra 1200-32i.
That’s the newest generation HBA (mine I guess was so new it still had a JTAG header soldered on), it supports SATA, SAS 6,12,24 Gb/s, PCIe 4 NVMe. It has 4 slimsas 8i connectors.

Some times it helps to search on a country specific auction site different from ebay, where things are sometimes cheaper.
I got a pretty sweet deal on a mellanox connect-x 4 card including transceivers early this year on some local auction site

Thanks MadMatt and Mach3.2!

This makes me wonder if I should just get 1GbE NIC’s since idk what I would use 10GbE for anyway, additionally I would have to get a new switch and something to provide wifi and I anticipate that that kinda hardware for 10 gig is not cheap.
Initially I figured that I might as well get 10 gig since I am likely to get it in the future anyway, but the more I think about it the less sense it seems to make since I cant come up with any benefits beyond future proofing. For my use case I don’t anticipate moving large files over my LAN and even with all the streaming etc stuff I might do, I am the only one using my network and I don’t know how I would saturate even a 1 gig link.
That having been said, virtualization is a drug and I’m hooked. Have any of you been in a similar situation where you are more or less at the beginning of your DIY server journey and regretted not jumping more directly in to better networking gear? I anticipate I will end up running lots of small services like home assistant and some host your own wikis etc. The most taxing thing I can see myself doing in the near future is backing up my other computers to the server, however, that is going to be bottlenecked by my spinning rust! Though I am also planning on getting a 2tb sdd to cache my JBOD…

Thanks for the info vis a vis SAS expanders Mach3.2 :smiley:

Wow! That sounds like some awesome hardware your playing around with there! I look forward to the day im rolling such sweet rigs :smiley:

I have been looking at local sites, but have not had much luck :frowning: