I am planning to install Nexenta (or NexentaStor, I've not decided yet) to build a ZFS NAS out from the following machine:

  • MB: Intel DG45FC
  • Disks: 4x 2TB WD caviar green
  • RAM: 2x 2GB of non-ECC Kingston (I can't afford ECC)
  • System disk: 2x 500GB 2.5'' WD to host a mirrored pool for the system and maybe another mirrored pool for high-priority data

Problem: The MB has only 5 SATA (4 internals + 1 eSATA) ports, whereas I need 4 + 2 SATA ports. I foresee two options:

1) Attach the system disks on the MB controller and buy a 2-port PCI-e x1 SATA card. Issue: Does anyone know the throughput of the ICH10R with Solaris ZFS in RAID5 mode?

2) Buy a 4-ports PCI-e x1 SATA card. Because I am not sure the ICH10R in AHCI mode is very fast, I am also thinking of buying a supported card with decent speed. Issue: I can't find a PCI-e x1 card that is supported and has 4 ports. This comprehensive list http://blog.zorinaq.com/?e=10 doesn't seem to have any that are compatible with my settings.

What do you recommend?

migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 16 '11 at 8:04

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ICH10R should be fast enough for 4x2 TB WD green and I would recommend to connect the 4x2TB disks to the motherboard and the system disks to an add-on SATA controller.

Another issue to consider is to use data disks optimized for RAID operation instead of WD green (such as WD RAID edition).


You don't necessarily need to get an add-in PCIe x1 controller as your ICH10R supports port multipliers and thus isn't limited to just 1 device per sata channel. Buy something like an Addonics AD5SAPM 5x1 Port Multiplier which sits in a empty PCI bay and will let up to five devices share a single SATA channel. Performance of these devices will be capped at single channel SATA2 max speed (300MB/sec) but that's still better than what you'd get in aggregate with any PCIe x1 device (250MB/sec).

Be aware that the Caviar 2TB Caviar Green disks have 4K sectors, but lie and report 512byte sectors to the OS. At pool creation time make sure to specify ashift=12 so that ZFS can align everything to 4K boundaries otherwise your performance will be terrible.

  • Thats great !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! +1 For large data storage with out the need for maximum performance like my home NAS server.. MINT! bloody amazing bro! Thanks – Piotr Kula Sep 4 '12 at 12:14

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