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Context:

I have a Dell SAS6/ir HBA card (pciex8), and several SATA drives. I have two SFF-8484 to 4x SATA cables, which fit correctly onto the HBA (but were purchased separately, new). The manual for the HBA is here. These are the exact cables I bought.

Problem:

I connect the HBA to my motherboard, and it initializes fine. I connect the SFF-8484 whips to the HBA and the drives. I can CTRL+C into the HBA's BIOS and inspect settings; everything looks good. However, it won't detect any of the drives I plug into it; the LSI/Dell BIOS shows no devices connected (even if I browse to Advanced -> PHY devices).

What I've Tried:

I've tried connecting the drives to the onboard SATA controller on the motherboard. They work fine (which means that the drives are good, and are getting power). The cable connections to the HBA and the individual drives are fine. I've tried both of my different SFF-8484 cables, and I've tried switching the headers each cable is connected to on the HBA. Still no luck. I've tried starting the HBA with multiple drives connected, and just one (known good). Nothing. I haven't tried updating the HBA's firmware, as I don't have a computer with a floppy drive/bootable OS and a PCIe-x8 slot at present, but if I need to do that, I can.

Question:

Why isn't my HBA detecting any drives?

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What kind of drives are you using (make/model)? And yes, I'd try a firmware upgrade next, especially if the drives are newer and/or >2TB each. –  techie007 Aug 7 '12 at 21:07
    
1) Do you have any computer with a floppy drive? It does not need to have a PCIe x8 slot. PCIe x16 will also work. As should PCIe x4 (according to support.dell.com/support/edocs/storage/RAID/SAS6iR/en/HTML/… ) -- 2) Googling also yields "The SAS 6/iR will not support drives larger than 2TB, nor will it support Virtual Disks larger than 2TB. ", which supports Zac's comment. –  Hennes Aug 7 '12 at 22:07
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It turned out to be my cables. I was originally using some as-cheap-as-can-be SFF-8484 to 4X SATA cables on eBay, just like these. Then I bought some nice Tripp-Lite cables with the same specifications, and now my HBA detects drives no problem. Moral of the story? It's usually cheap for a reason.

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Worth a shot for detecting your drives barring the drives are not larger than 2 TBs as noted in comments by techie007

Scanning for New Drives

Dell SAS RAID Storage Manager normally detects newly installed disk drives and displays icons for them in the Dell SAS RAID Storage Manager window. If for some reason Dell SAS RAID Storage Manager does not detect a new drive (or drives), you can use the Scan for Foreign Config command to find it. To do this, follow these steps:

1 Select a controller icon in the left panel of the Dell SAS RAID Storage Manager window.

2 Select Operations->Scan for Foreign Config. If Dell SAS RAID Storage Manager detects any new disk drives, it displays a list of them on the screen.

3 Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the disk detection.

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I don't have an OS on the computer yet; all I have is the BIOS utility. –  Zac B Aug 10 '12 at 20:34
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