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Recommendation on which server to get


I am planning to get a server. Plan to use it for backups and Plex on Unraid. Found 3 models from TheServerStore and hoping someone could tell me which would be a better option.

They can be spec’d out the same and the only difference is between 2 motherboards.

The motherboards are: X9DRI-LN4F+ and MBD-X9DRD-7LN4F-JBOD.




Option 3 has a more appealing case with the 2x2.5" Bay for SSD caching.

I would appreciate it if you can help inform me of the RAID card differences and the motherboards, along with any other you may notice.



Option 1 has a backplane with pass-through connections rather than a SAS expander, hence the notes on requiring multiple controller cards to support all drive bays.

Option 2 has a SAS expander backplane and includes a RAID controller.

Option 3 has a SAS expander backplane and an onboard HBA for JBOD. I think this is your best option for Unraid out of the three.



Hype, thank you! Have you taken a look at the two different Mobos? Is the JBOD mobo still the best option?

Also of the RAID cards on Option 3 which would be best supported option? I don’t think the onboard can support all 14 bays, can it?

Took a look at the JBOD mobo:
2 SATA 3.0 ports (6Gb/s)
4 SATA 2.0 ports (3Gb/s)
8 SAS2 ports (6Gb/s)

This seems like enough. Could use a splitter from SAS2 to SATA and not really use the SATA3Gbps right?



As @carnogaunt said Option 3 has a SAS expander.

Meaning although there is only 1x SAS 8087 (4x SAS connections in one) connector going from the board to the backplane, the expander allows it to address more disks.
In the photos you can see there is also a cable running from the backplane to a PCI slot mounted SAS 8088 connector, this is for cascading to additional JBODs.
The downside to an expander does mean that your throughput (regardless of number of drives) is limited to a maximum of (in the case of this expander, board and setup) is 24Gb/s (3GB/s).

Option 3 is your best option if you are planning on using unRAID.

Also bear in mind SAS can support both SAS and SATA drives, whilst SATA can only support SATA.

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How can I be able to connect the 14 SATA drives the case can hold?



The rear 2.5" hotswap bays will connect to two of the onboard SATA ports with normal SATA cables.



The front of the server has drive caddies. You need to just install the drives into the caddies and then the caddies back into the server. The backplane will then carry the connectivity to the systems motherboard.

As @carnogaunt has pointed out, the same is true of the rear caddies, just bear in mind that whilst the front tweleve are 3.5", the rear two are 2.5" .

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