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PCI(e) Sata Expansion Card For FreeNAS


i need to add more HDDs to my NAS but i do not have any SATA ports left.
So i need a PCI expansion card for 1 or more SATA ports.

I don’t have much knowledge or experience with such cards.
So what can i use?

I was thinking one of those two:

Are those good options? If not why? And what would be good options and why?
Thanks for the help! :slight_smile:

Get a Dell PERC H310, flash the firmware to HBA mode, and get a couple SAS SFF-8087 to quad SATA cables.

I’ve done this on a couple cards and it works great. It’s a pretty cheap solution. Hardest part is the flashing process. I’ve got a couple links if you’re interested.

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thanks. yes, i’m interested in the links. at least just for education purposes.

What is the difference to the cards i suggested?
Do the suggestions not work? Or why is the Dell one better?

My NAS is FreeNAS with ZFS.

The cards you posted may work. You’d need to do some research to verify they are compatible with FreeNAS. It’s just that they are “cheap,” or poor quality. Reliability may be an issue. The Dell PERC is a rebranded high quality LSI card.

I think I used one or both of these links for the flashing process:

I assume you are in Germany, so here’s an example of the cable needed:

The cards are usually found on ebay for around $40US. Like this:

On the other hand, the Syba card you posted may well work just fine if all you need is a couple more SATA connections. Up to you.

ah i see. thank you so much for the info!
I think with one of the dells on eBay both solutions are probably the same price.
So choosing the more reliable one is probably the better choice ^^.

Thanks again!

No problem. Hope it works out for you.

Also, just a heads up. Those cards are sort of intended to be in a server chassis with very high airflow. I’d recommend getting a 40mm fan to stick on that heatsink. They do get very hot.

thanks, will do

Hi again,

i have sort of a stupid question, because i do not want to kill the card^^. And do not want to buy a 2pin fan if i need a 3pin for the mainboard.
The 2pin on the top left of the dell h310 (see pic), is that a 2pin-fan-header?
I could not find it in the manual.

I just plugged a normal 40mm 3 pin fan into a fan header on the motherboard. Or directly into the power supply.

Re the OP, the cards are probably using one of the Marvel SATA/RAID chipsets. There are many versions of these standard designs around, some are just SATA HBAs, which would be better for ZFS, while others have a RAID BIOS, which isn’t so good for ZFS. I don’t know if they are supported by FreeNAS, but I expect so.

If you look around amazon, ebay, aliexpress, etc you will see a lot of cards that looks like this, and some of them will have useful information like chipset, PCIe confgiuration, etc but don’t trust the sellers to really know what they are selling.

I’ve been looking for one myself since the Marvel chips SATA ports support port multiplier and sometimes I need to connect to enclosures which use port multiplier.

I haven’t found a good card with the combination of bandwidth, chip and ports I like.

Some of the cards are PCIe 1.0 x1, some are PCIe 2.0 x1, some are PCIe 2.0 x2, so between 2.5Gb/s and 10Gb/s bandwidth, which can have a big impact on your performance depending on ports/ssd/hdd combination you are using.

Some of the cards are only PCIe 2.0 x2, but are in a PCIe x4 card, which I prefer to avoid since I might want the x4 slot for something else, and might have another x2 slot elsewhere.

As stated above flashed LSI clone cards are good, I have a couple. If you can find one with IT firmware that you don’t have to flash then that is great, and maybe worth paying a little more. Flashing doesn’t always work out so well, so you can end up with a brick. So far, I have 4 out 5 successes.

Thank you for the info!

I actually wound up doing exactly what you said. I found an already flashed one for a little bit higher price. Now, escpecially when you say it works only 4/5 times, i’m happy that i decided to go that route :smiley:

I hate to revive this old thread unnecessarily, but I wanted to ask where you found your already flashed card. I have been looking around and cannot seem to find one.

On ebay and if you’re in germany ebay-kleinanzeigen.
I have got one locally and one’s from china. China is a good bit cheaper in this case but you’d have to wait a few weeks to get it.
On ebay, search for “lsi card it mode”, or directly for a specific dell or sth model that says " it mode".
Sometimes they write " freenas ready hba" or something.

Edit: welcome to the forums :slight_smile: