How many hard drives can I fit in my new build? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 07:08 AM - Thread Starter
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I am really new to this, and I am plotting out my hardware. Assassin’s hardware advice guide is terrific. I know this question is pretty basic for some, so sorry in advance. I am trying to figure out how many hard drives I can install now and in the future to store my movies on. I will be going with a Sandy Bridge build and either go with the i3-2120 or the G630. I am thinking about the Intel BOXDH67BLB3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813121506, because it seems like a pretty solid board for a good price, but open to other choices, if it opens up my growth possibilities, as far as hard drive connections.

I will have a SSD Drive for Windows 7 as well as a blu-ray drive to rip my movies. Do these two parts take up the same slots/connections as an internal hard drive would? If so, how many hard drives could I add in addition to the SSD and the blu-ray? Am I looking at the number of SATAII connections or SATAIII connections or eSATA conections, or can all of these be used for hard drives.

Also, I see that 7200RPM drives are not recommended, since they run cooler and quieter and not needed for media. Is it bad to go with a 7200RPM drive if I find one at a good price, or should I just stick to 5900RPM drives? Since I am potentially worried about hard drive space, I might want to maximize each slot/connection and go with 2 x 3TB drives, vs 3 x 2TB drives, but won’t do that if heat might become an issue. It appears that a lot of the 3TB drives are 7200RPM

Thanks in advance!
Greg
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post #2 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 07:32 AM
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Without adding cards, it looks like you can go with 5 drives in your system. The bluray drive and the SSD will both use a SATA port. Both SATAII and SATAIII can be used for hard drives.

I use the WD green drives (3TB) and have been happy with them. That said, I don't think it would be a problem to use a 7200RPM drive if you get a good price, though someone else can probably comment on whether heat would be an issue.
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post #3 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 07:53 AM
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Don't forget about the case. Very few htpc cases will fit 5 hard drives. Or do you plan to just use a tower.
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post #4 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 09:02 AM
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That's a nice solid motherboard.  Good choice.

 

Depending on the case, you can probably find a place to put the SSD using Velcro tape that won't take up a hard drive mounting location.

 

The blu ray drive will take up a 5.25" external drive spot.  Whatever case you choose will also come with some number of 3.5" internal hard drive slots.  In some new cases these are also made to hold 2.5" drives such as an SSD without an adapter.  And you can get adapters that will fit two 2.5" drives into a single 3.5" mounting location.  And some SSDs (Intel, most Mushkin, some Plextor, etc.) come with the 2.5-->3.5 adapters.  And you can also get adapters to put 3.5" drives into spare 5.25 inch mounting locations.

 

How many drives you can fit depends more on the case than the motherboard.  You can always add additional SATA ports with a cheap expansion card.

 

And, while if you're buying drives, Green drives use less power and are usually cheaper, I certainly wouldn't worry about using 7200rpm drives.  Personally, if the price isn't exhorbitant, I'd definitely choose fewer 3TB drives over more 2TB ones.

 

Oh, and the only thing that matters at all regarding SATA II vs III is the SSD, and even that doesn't really make much difference.  There is zero performance gain in connecting a hard drive (even a supposedly SATA III hard drive)  into a SATA III connector rather than a SATA II.  And even the increase in an SSD from II to III is truly negligable.

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post #5 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 09:05 AM
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Be aware that if you are going to add a DVD/Bluray drive you can only have 4 hard drives with that motherboard.


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post #6 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Great...thanks.
Yes, I am just going with a tower...probably this Antec http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042

I am also going with this Intel SSD drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167120

With that case and motherboard, and one of the two Intel CPU's I listed...should I be ok as far as heat, or would I need additional fans/coolers?

Sorry for being dense (I will get this figured out soon enough), but Assassin, if I use one of the slots for the bluray drive, then I will have 4 left over for hard drives. And Zon2020, with that SSD drive and case, can I be creative with where I put the SSD drive, so I can use 4 hard drives.

I am leaning towards fewer 3 TB drives, than more 2 TB drives

Thanks again!
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post #7 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 09:10 AM
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With both an optical drive and SSD, only three hard drives with that motherboard.

 

Although if you really need more than 9TB of storage, it seems a dedicated server would be in order.

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post #8 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redskin View Post

Great...thanks. So basically 5 total, 2 of which will be used for the SSD and bluray drive, so 3 left over for hard drives. Do I have that right?
Yes, I am just going with a tower...probably this Antec http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042
With that case and motherboard, and one of the two Intel CPU's I listed...should I be ok as far as heat, or would I need additional fans/coolers?
Thanks again!
Greg

Go with a bigger motherboard with more SATA connections. That's the exact case that I use in my server.

I have some motherboards listed in my hardware guide and I list how many SATA connections are on each option.


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post #9 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redskin View Post

Great...thanks. So basically 5 total, 2 of which will be used for the SSD and bluray drive, so 3 left over for hard drives. Do I have that right?

Yes, I am just going with a tower...probably this Antec http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042

With that case and motherboard, and one of the two Intel CPU's I listed...should I be ok as far as heat, or would I need additional fans/coolers?

Thanks again!
Greg

 

That's a nice case, although be aware the front USB ports are 2.0 not 3.0.  There's a replacement Antec 302 case with USB 3.0 front panel ports.  Or you might consider this case.  I chose it instead recently for a build and am very happy with it -- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139011  (Corsair Carbide 300R).  It's really easy to build in, and really easy to cool, and has USB 3.0.

 

Also, if you get a case with USB 3.0 front panel ports, be aware the DH67BL does not have an internal USB 3.0 header (it does have rear USB 3.0 ports).  You can easily cure that with a Silverstone EC01 adapter, but that is an additional expense, and at that point you'd probably be just as well off buying a DH77EB motherboard instead.

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post #10 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 10:19 AM
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Separate the two. Build a dedicated HTPC that will sit nicely with the rest of AV gear, and build a dedicated server that can be tucked away in a cool basement, and you don't have to worry about the noise. The more hard drives you have the more heat and more noise you will generate.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #11 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Separate the two. Build a dedicated HTPC that will sit nicely with the rest of AV gear, and build a dedicated server that can be tucked away in a cool basement, and you don't have to worry about the noise. The more hard drives you have the more heat and more noise you will generate.
Definitely the best method but usually not practical for someone just getting into htpcs.
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post #12 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help guys. I think 9 TB will be more than enough for a while. I actually only probably will need 3 TB to start with, I just want room to expand with my obsessive compulsive personality to have it all smile.gif

Assassin, I may look at some of your other motherboard recommendations and see if one is within my budget.

As far as memory goes, with this build, can I choose any DDR3 1333 RAM? I am local to a MicroCenter, and they seem to have some solidly reviewed "house brand" memory.

I think as far as a dedicated server, I might go down that path in the future, but just don't have the funds for that now. I have around $700-750.

Here is what I am thinking....thoughts?

Operating System: Window 7
CPU: i3-2120 or the G630. I can get the 2120 for $99 and the G630 for $50 at MicroCenter. I am not sure if the i3 is worth it for me, since I will not be doing 3D, and will almost exclusively be using my HTPC for ripping and playback of blu-rays and music.
Motherboard : Intel BOXDH67BLB3 I may look at others with more SATA connections, but I think 9 TB of data will hold me over for a while.
Memory : DDR3 1333 RAM I will probably go with the MicroCenter 8GB, since it is priced right, or might go with one of the GSkills, Assassin recommends.
SSD: Intel 330 Series Maple Crest 60GB Seems like a good price at $60 shipped
Case: Antec Three Hundred
Bluray Drive : Pioneer BDR-207DBKS. Assassin seems to like it, and I have a $75 Amazon credit, which I can use for it.
HDD: I am debating between this Seagate 3TB for $150 + shipping http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148844 or this WD 3 TB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136874, which is $165 + shipping. I am debating if it is better to pay $15 more for the Green, non 7200rpm HDD.
PSU: Antec Greenwatts 380 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371033
Wireless: This is my last undecided part. Does it really matter what I go with here? The Rosewill B/G/N Assassin recommends is out of stock, but they do have the B/G one for a good price. I could also pick one up at MicroCenter...any advice here?

How does all of this look? Am I missing something?

Thanks
Greg
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post #13 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Separate the two. Build a dedicated HTPC that will sit nicely with the rest of AV gear, and build a dedicated server that can be tucked away in a cool basement, and you don't have to worry about the noise. The more hard drives you have the more heat and more noise you will generate.

OP can setup the tower and get it all running and then use that for his server and build a htpc in the future. It will take some time to fill up 3-4 X 3TB drives, by the time he actually uses that much HDD space and watches all that stuff, the prices for components will be cheaper (and/or) better.

I don't know why people are so nuts over a little bit of noise. When my PC is on, I'm usually using it to watch something, the volume from my speakers is so much louder than a piddly pc fan. Of course if also used for PVR then I can see the need to make things more quiet since the pc will be on all the time so it might bother someone trying to do a quiet activity in that room.

Noise and heat with tower cases is usually pretty minimal, components are much more spread out, and they usually have more fans/larger fans which allow more air movement with less noise.

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post #14 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 12:09 PM
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Everybody above said 5, but you can actually get 6 if you get an eSata to Sata cable and loop back the eSata port into the case. And as others have pointed out, that's 6 drives including the DVD/Blu-Ray, SSD, and HDD's. As far as the motherboard is concerned the eSata port is just another Sata port it can access, it doesn't matter if it's hooked up to an external drive, a dock, or an internal drive. I did the loop-back in one of my systems because I had multiple DVD Burners and Harddrives at the time (I was doing a *LOT* of burning at the time).

If you do this you should hook it to the DVD/Blu-Ray drive because of the risk of accidentally unplugging the external cable. If you unplug a DVD/Blu-Ray drive's sata cable it'll just be disconnected from the system, no harm no foul (unless you're in the middle of burning, of course). However, if you accidentally unplug a Harddrive's Sata cable while it's writing information it can cause all sorts of problems.

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post #15 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 12:11 PM
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If you are just ripping the bluray, the cpu doesn't matter much as your bluray drive will bottleneck the system. If you are encoding/compressing, then the i3 would be better (heck an i5 would be even better due to 4 cores). But you could always set it up to just run through the night or during the day when you're at work.

I would just get the cheaper drive and not worry about the RPMs. 15 bucks is still 15 bucks.

Do you need a bluray writing drive? If not a bluray drive is significantly cheaper.

I would go a little bigger with the PSU (500 Watts) since you're building in a tower and have much more room for more HDDs than the usual HTPC case. If you fill out the whole thing with drives and add on SATA controllers for more drives in the future, the extra juice would be nice. (or get the smaller PSU and if you someday build a server with that case, you can use the smaller PSU in a HTPC case).

If you don't need the bluray writer, I would get just a regular bluray drive and use the extra money for the i3 if you plan on encoding your rips to make the file size smaller.

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post #16 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 12:13 PM
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If you're going to Micro Center anyhow, they have the Antec 302 for only $52.95.  For the extra $3, I'd get the new model.

 

You can get the well-regarded Corsair Builder Series CX430 V2 power supply for only $20 after rebate and promo code at Newegg (read about it here -  http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story&reid=239 )  That would be my choice.

 

For wireless, I suggest the refurbished Linksys/Cisco AE1000 300Mbps 802.11n Dual-Band Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter w/Extension Cablefor only $12.69 at Amazon.  They include both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz; they are dual antenna 300mbs; they're fast; they connect right up; they work great.  I've been using two of these refurbished ones for over a year on a couple of systems and they've worked great. For a dual antenna, dual band wireless adapater, this is a total steal.

 

Personally, I think SDRAM is pretty much fungible these days and I've used the generic Micro Center ram; but that said, you don't save more than about $5 over name brand and I usually buy Mushkin or G. Skill.

 

And I certainly wouldn't pay more for a green drive.  One of the advantages is supposed to be that it's cheaper. 

 

I have both a DH67BL and a Intel 330 SSD, and both are solid choices.

 

Oh, and as to CPU, no the i3 probably isn't "worth it" but if it was me, at Micro Center prices, I'd probably spring for it anyhow. smile.gif

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post #17 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyen78 View Post

I would go a little bigger with the PSU (500 Watts) since you're building in a tower and have much more room for more HDDs than the usual HTPC case. If you fill out the whole thing with drives and add on SATA controllers for more drives in the future, the extra juice would be nice. (or get the smaller PSU and if you someday build a server with that case, you can use the smaller PSU in a HTPC case).
 

 He could jam 10 drives in there and still not need 400w with the rest of his system.

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post #18 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 01:39 PM
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 He could jam 10 drives in there and still not need 400w with the rest of his system.
+1
You can conservatively estimate 8w per 3.5" HDD and have power to spare.
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post #19 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

 He could jam 10 drives in there and still not need 400w with the rest of his system.
+1
You can conservatively estimate 8w per 3.5" HDD and have power to spare.

 Well, you need to consider spin up power, but even that will be 15-20w/drive.  So even with 10 drives, it would briefly draw at most 200 watts for the drives at start up, but the reality is that the rest of his system won't use 100w total.  So a 500W psu would still be way too big, and during idle and most usage would be below its 25% efficiency floor.

 

Even a 400w is larger than needed.  The problem is that there are very few good choices of less than 400w.  Unfortunately power supply companies (and the customer mindset) haven't caught up with the reality of how much the power demands of cpus, motherboards, hard disks, and even graphics cards (when they're used at all) have plummetted in the past few years.  They keep cranking out 750 and 1000 and 1200w psus when what we need are some 80+ gold 300w power supplies.

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post #20 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow...thanks for all of your help guys. I am well on my way.

I don't need a Bluray writer, so I might look into a standard bluray drive to save some cash. Any recommendations? I don't need the software to play blurays, if I am only using it to use MakeMKV to rip my blurays..correct?

It looks like my PSU will be fine, but I might look at the updated Antec 302.

Zon, thanks for the wireless adapter recommendation. I think I will pick that one up.

Also, unless anybody knows of a reason to go with a more expensive Green hard drive over the slightly cheaper 7200rpm Seagate, I will probably go with the Seagate 7200rpm.
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post #21 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 03:09 PM
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You are really splitting hairs. Both PSUs will be fine.


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post #22 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
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OK...I am sold smile.gif That was a terrific and detailed answer. I appreciate the time you took to put that together for me. I will look at your suggestions, starting with the Corsair.
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post #23 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 03:15 PM
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I will tell you that I haven't personally used the Corsair.  I have used the FSP Aurum, the PCP&Cooling SIlencer III, and a larger Seasonic S12II.

 

But JonnyGuru.com is one of the best places for power supply reviews.  I'd suggest reading their review of the CX430V2.  I doubt you'll find anything comparable for the $20 that Newegg is currently charging.

 

Neither Corsair nor Antec actually make any power supplies.  They're all made by someone else for them.

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post #24 of 30 Old 08-14-2012, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks

What do you think about this Western Digital Green 3TB drive. It just got cheaper. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136893
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post #25 of 30 Old 08-15-2012, 05:47 AM
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Quote:
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Thanks
What do you think about this Western Digital Green 3TB drive. It just got cheaper. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136893

Lol. It's also out of stock! smile.gif

Seriously though, as others have already pointed out in this same thread - don't worry about Green drive vs. 7200rpm. Both will be more than adequate for storage purposes, since you're using an SSD for the OS. Get what you can find at a better deal. Recently it's been the seagate 3TB 7200rpms that have been consistently ~$150.
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post #26 of 30 Old 08-15-2012, 09:32 PM
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The Gigabyte G1 Sniper 3 board supports 10 drives has dual lans HDMI, Display Port, DVI-D and D-SUB video ports and 4 way SLI. About 289 dollars. for me the support for 10 drives makes up for the 200 dollars extra for the board.

http://www.bjorn3d.com/2012/07/gigabyte-sniper-3-motherboard/
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post #27 of 30 Old 08-15-2012, 11:23 PM
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The Gigabyte G1 Sniper 3 board supports 10 drives has dual lans HDMI, Display Port, DVI-D and D-SUB video ports and 4 way SLI. About 289 dollars. for me the support for 10 drives makes up for the 200 dollars extra for the board.

http://www.bjorn3d.com/2012/07/gigabyte-sniper-3-motherboard/
??

But you could add 4 sata ports for what? 40 bucks? Pocket the $160.

I agree it's a great board but definitely not worth the premium for a few extra sata ports.
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post #28 of 30 Old 08-16-2012, 12:55 AM
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MB with 8 ports are probably $250. Many 8 port boards has 4x 6Gb ports. High end P67/Z68 boards are being discounted now that 77 boards are out. I picked up an 8 port DZ68BC for $150. $50 4 port cards are mostly 3Gb. 4x 6Gb cards are still pretty expensive.
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post #29 of 30 Old 08-16-2012, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by dksc318 View Post

MB with 8 ports are probably $250. Many 8 port boards has 4x 6Gb ports. High end P67/Z68 boards are being discounted now that 77 boards are out. I picked up an 8 port DZ68BC for $150. $50 4 port cards are mostly 3Gb. 4x 6Gb cards are still pretty expensive.

That's not true. I have a few 8 port boards listed in my guides. Cheapest is $65 I believe.


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post #30 of 30 Old 08-16-2012, 06:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksc318 View Post

MB with 8 ports are probably $250. Many 8 port boards has 4x 6Gb ports. High end P67/Z68 boards are being discounted now that 77 boards are out. I picked up an 8 port DZ68BC for $150. $50 4 port cards are mostly 3Gb. 4x 6Gb cards are still pretty expensive.

 Why do you care whether they're SATA 3Gbs or 6Gbs for hard disks?  Are you planning on using more than 2 SSDs?

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