Buying a motherboard for a Media server. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-27-2013, 01:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm going to build a new media server and it's going to be running Windows Home Premium x64 and I've decided to use Flexraid with it. I was looking for non server motherboards with as many SATA ports as possible. Since I'm only going to use this as a media server I don't care about graphics so built-in graphics is fine. AMD motherboards with the A85 chipset like this (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130663) seem to have the most SATA ports (8). The Intel chipsets only support 6 SATA ports so Intel motherboards with 8 ports have to use Marvell SATA controllers to add the extra ports. I've seen lots of reports on how problematic Marvell SATA controllers are and have had a problem with them myself. If there's a Intel chipset motherboard that has 8 or more ports that doesn't use a Marvell SATA controller I'd like to know.

I've been reading in various threads on AVS about using the IBM m1015 SATA card to add 8 extra ports to your computer.. While I don't want to spend the money for this initially, I do want to leave the possibility of buying 1 or 2 of them open for the future. These cards require x8 PCIe slots so the motherboard should have at least one, preferably two x8 compatible slots. I have three 3TB hard drives (2 already with data on them and one empty) and three 2TB hard drives (2 already with data on them and one empty) which I would be using.
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-27-2013, 02:03 AM
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Extra SATA controller needs not be Marvell. Rather ASMedia (ASM1061) is more popular in Intel chipset motherboards nowadays (ASRock, ASUS, MSI; GIGABYTE uses Marvell) and pretty stable. For example,

For 1 HBA: ASRock B75M R2.0 or B75 Pro3-M
For 2 HBA: ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M

If you want spend more money, there are tons of expensive mb.
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-27-2013, 04:35 AM
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-27-2013, 04:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I didn't realize that there were Intel motherboards with 8 SATA ports that DIDN'T use Marvell SATA controllers. I do want a full ATX motherboard not a MicroATX one as I like the extra slots. My present media server uses a 2.6 Ghz Pentium 4 and ECS 848p-A7 motherboard with 5 PCI slots plus one AGP slot and all of the slots are full. The case I'm intending to reuse (Cooler Master CM Stacker) can accept Extended ATX motherboards so there's no problem with space. And as far as saving money I'm all for that. I don't care about CPU brand. I just looked at AMD because of the 8 (non Marvell) SATA ports.
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-27-2013, 04:56 AM
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I'd be more inclined to look for motherboards with multiple PCI-e slots that are x4 or greater. This would allow you to install SATA controllers if you decide to expand the storage at some later date. Ideally you would probably want a board with 6-8 SATA ports and 2-3 PCI-e x16 slots. There aren't too many boards with x4 or x8 PCI-e slots. They seem to be mostly x1 or x16.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-27-2013, 06:06 AM
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Some of Intel chipset ATX mb with 8 SATA (3/6Gbps) ports are:

ASRock Z77 Pro4 (a single PCIe 2.0/3.0 x16)
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 (dual PCIe 2.0/3.0 x8)
ASRock Z77 Extreme6 (dual PCIe 2.0/3.0 x8)
MSI Z77A-GD65 (dual PCIe 2.0/3.0 x8, Intel Gb LAN)
ASUS P8Z77-V (dual PCIe 2.0/3.0 x8, Intel Gb LAN)
ASUS P8Z77-V PRO (dual PCIe 2.0/3.0 x8, Intel Gb LAN)

I emphasized PCIe 2.0 x8 because the latest 8-port SATA 6Gbps host bus adapters such as

- Supermicro AOC-SAS2LP-MV8 (Marvell chip smile.gif, but rock stable in my server 24/7 for a year)
- IBM ServeRAID M1015
- LSI SAS 9211-8i

require PCIe 2.0 x8 slot.

If you don't do CPU intensive tasks such as transcoding, Celeron G1610 dual core IVB processor, ~$45, is enough.
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