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SOLVED SuperMicro Backplane Connection Question

Western Digital Drives - The Preferred Drives of FreeNAS and TrueNAS CORE
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GPSpiderMKII

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Hey all,

I've been researching for a bit, but I think I might need to phone a friend on this one. I'm completely at a loss on how to connect my SuperMicro backplane to my motherboard. For background, the details on my build are below:

Chassis: SuperMicro SC846-R1K28B
Motherboard: SuperMicro X10DRi-T
Backplane: BPN-SAS3-846EL1 (link is to manual from SuperMicro's website)

I don't have any Host Bus Adapters and everything is internal to the same chassis. The backplane says that it is already connecting everything via a SAS extender, but I don't believe I need any hardware controllers since I think I recall FreeNAS preferring the HDDs in a JBOD setup so they can create the RAID pools.

I've attached a picture to what (I believe) is the SAS connector on the backplane below:



I have some SATA 3 drives in the chassis bay currently. They spin up because the board is powered, but since I'm missing the data cables they aren't recognized obviously. I'm wondering what cable do I need to connect the backplane to the motherboard and if I'll need some additional hardware to hook it up (such as a HBA?)? Any help would be greatly appreciated, I feel like the more I look at the cables/types the more I'm confusing myself. If you need any other information to help solve this, let me know. Thanks so much.
 

Chris Moore

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The connector on your SAS backplane needs a SAS HBA to connect to. I looked at the documentatino for the system board and it has some additional SATA ports built in but no SAS controller.
This means that you will need both a SAS controller, known as an HBA (Host Bus Adapter) and the correct cables. I will point out something that will work for you:
This is the cable you need (two of them) to connect to the two connectors on the right in your photo:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Amphenol-M...-SAS-HD-Data-Cable-76-cm-30-Inch/162410498242

This is the card you need and you will need to ensure it is flashed with the IT mode firmware:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-LSI-SA...BA-PCI-E-3-0-SAS-RAID-Controller/311845863335

If you will give a detailed list of the hardware you are trying to put together, there are people on this forum that will sanity check it for you.

PS. here are some links to additional reading that might help you understand the technology.

Detailed newcomers' guide to crossflashing LSI 9211 HBA and variants
https://forums.freenas.org/index.ph...o-crossflashing-lsi-9211-hba-and-variants.54/

Don't be afraid to be SAS-sy
https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?resources/dont-be-afraid-to-be-sas-sy.48/
 

danb35

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This is the cable you need (two of them) to connect to the two connectors on the right in your photo:
Are two needed? With the SAS2 backplanes, only a single cable is needed.
 

Chris Moore

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Are two needed? With the SAS2 backplanes, only a single cable is needed.
No, you can get along with one, but I would use both for maximum bandwidth. The other two connectors would allow a link to another expander if you wanted to cascade to another JBOD chassis. If you are not using SAS3 drives, the speed of the drives will never be enough to be an issue if you did just use one cable. Even with SAS3 drives, you probably wouldn't bottleneck on a single cable.

Edit - unless you do end up using the second set of ports to connect another enclosure. The more drives you have connected, the more bandwidth you need.
 
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danb35

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No, you can get along with one, but I would use both for maximum bandwidth.
Fair enough--and most likely whatever HBA he ends up with is going to have two ports anyway.
 

GPSpiderMKII

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Does anyone know if there's a major difference between an LSI 9311-8i vs an LSI 9300-8i?

I know @Chris Moore suggested the 9311-8i from the eBay link in his first post in this thread, but was wondering if the following would work just as well:

LSI 9300-8i (Newegg link)

Thanks!
 

Chris Moore

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Look at Broadcom's website it looks like one may be the OEM model number and the other is what is available to consumers? Does anyone know if this assumption is true?
That is pretty typical for the model numbers. The OEM card could be a surplus item that was never used or a used item but it is half the cost of a new card. It is like buying a new car as opposed to buying a used car. You can get a perfectly good used item, but if you buy new it might make you feel safer. It also depends on if you are buying it for home or for work. When I buy items for systems at work I have no choice but to buy new.
 

GPSpiderMKII

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That is pretty typical for the model numbers. The OEM card could be a surplus item that was never used or a used item but it is half the cost of a new card. It is like buying a new car as opposed to buying a used car. You can get a perfectly good used item, but if you buy new it might make you feel safer. It also depends on if you are buying it for home or for work. When I buy items for systems at work I have no choice but to buy new.
Once again, thanks for the sanity check here. Even though the "new item" may be a bit more money, I feel a bit better knowing it's coming from a reputable merchant in the event something bad were to happen.

I'm suspecting that the reflashing the 9300 is effectively the same as the 9211 flashing guide you posted above. I guess wish me luck!
 

BigDave

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The backplane manual is found here.

Since the picture you posted has the EL1 designation, the twin ports will provide failover only when connected to both ports of the HBA models you are looking at. There will be no increase in bandwidth when using two cables. Sorry.
 
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