Recommended controllers for Unraid

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Hey guys,

so I'm in a bit of a pickle. So far, I've been using a Star Tech USB enclosure with 2 drives and an ITX board inside a fairly small case.
I decided to switch to the CS381 (12 hot swappable drives), but I'll need 1 nvme slot and 2 additional SATA ports for 2 internal HDDs that I use as a backup for my really important data (like the Unraid Apps, VMs, etc). The 12 drives will contain movies, games (NAS for steam), etc. 


I haven't bought a motherboard bought, but I'm limited to DDR5 (already got a kit for free) and mATX. I was looking at Intel for the 13100 - I already have an Arc A380 that will occupy the x16 top slot. I have not bought a board yet, as I'm trying to max out the drives and not spend hundreds for no reason.


After reading through most of this thread, I think I have figured out what my options are. Please correct me, if I'm wrong.

  • a board with x16 slot and x16 slot running at x4 3.0, then get a 16 lane PCIE 3 SAS card in IT mode (16 ports will have bandwidth limits)
  • get a board with x16 slot and 2x (reachable!) PCIe 3.0 x1 slots, fill both of those with ASM1166 cards (12 ports total, no bandwidth limit?)
  • get a board with 3 m.2 slots and occupy 2, using m.2 to 5 SATA ASMedia adapters (14 ports total, no bandwidth limit)


The internal ports would be used for my backup drives. Those drives would be mounted internally and not be part of my 12 hot swap drives. 


Am I understanding this correctly? Will the x16 SAS card even work in an x16 slot, if it's only operating at x4 speed? I don't know if all lanes need to be connected electrically. The only controller I can find is the 9300-16i (not 9305-16i), so I'm not sure it would even work. They already come flashed in IT mode and cost around 200€. Not exactly looking forward to it, but I think it might be a better choice than mixing different ASM1166 cards.

Edited by Schaka
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Looking ahead with ZFS...


Is there anyway to split up sata ports? It's such a waste having 6Gbps (750MB/s) on each of the 6x motherboard ports.

I think my fastest drive is up to 260MB/s. If only you could recoup the bandwidth you'd have 490MB/s left over x6 so 2940MB/s which would easily have run the LSI card decently for 8x cards.


Annoyingly because of the way my motherboard divies up the PCIe lanes the LSI card is running on gen3 x1 so around 984MB/s.

I could swap it into the graphics card slot.. or would a sas expander work in the graphics card slot? gen4 x16. I'm not completely sure how the sas expanders work?


Other option for future could be a decent USB3.2 x2 DAS. 

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Does anyone have any experience with multiple ASM1166's in the same machine
Do they work fine together?
I presume so but you never know
and didnt really check before ordering more cards


I picked one up a couple of months ago (PCE6SAT-A01 4x Physical 2x Electrical)
to compliment my LSI 9207 4i4e


It has been solid


I am rebuilding the server atm with a Meshify 2 in the server layout with 19 Drives


I have never been happy with the heat output of the LSI card so took the case upgrade
as an opertunity to move the drives in the sas enclosure into the case and ditch the LSI Controller

I ordered two more ASM1166's from aliexpress


PCE6SAT-A01 (4x Physical 2x Electrical)
PCE6SAT-A02 (1x)


They will be setup as follows


Z390 Aorus Master + 9900K


M2M Intel Optane 1600X 118GB (4x)
M2A Intel Optane 800P 118GB (2x)
M2P Intel Optane 800P 118GB (2x)


PCH 1x Slot 1 ASM1166 PCE6SAT-A02 (1x)
CPU 16x Slot Micron 3400 512GB OS Drive (4x)
PCH 1x Slot 2 Realtek 8125B (1x)
CPU 8x Slot ASM1166 PCE6SAT-A01 (2x)
PCH 1x Slot 3 Realtek 8125B (1x)
PCH 4x Slot ASM1166 PCE6SAT-A01 (2x)


So the end result will be
18 Ports from ASM 1166's
4 Ports on the motherboard (2 of the 6 are lost due to PCH limitations using NVME Drives)

so 22 Sata Ports + 4 Nvme Drives for 11 3.5" Drives + 8 2.5" drives



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On 2/25/2023 at 12:08 AM, Sectoid said:

Hello folks, I've been lurking in this thread for a couple months and now I finally bought an ASM1166. The first thing I did after plugging it in was to check for the firmware update. However, the existing firmware version was "220419-0000-00". This seemed above the version from the update, so I kept it as is, but I'm not sure. Does anyone know how to determine if this is indeed a newer version or not?


Another thing that happened was that, while I searched google to try and find something about these versions, I left the firmware update application open there, though not updating or anything. At some point, my PC just froze. It doesn't do that, it runs rock solid. So I'm somewhat confident that the adapter caused it because I also couldn't find anything relevant in windows events.


Anyway I didn't test it with the unraid setup yet, so any help with the decision about doing the firmware update or not is welcome!

Yes the firmware is newer 19th April 2022

does anyone know how to dump a copy for other's


I have two cards coming from aliexpress hopefully atleast one of them will have a newer firmware than the current one

  • Like 1
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My cards came just now


ASM1166 PCE6SAT-A02 (1x) Firmware 201105-001f-02

ASM1166 PCE6SAT-A01 (4x) Firmware 221118-003E-00

ASM1166 PCE6SAT-A01 (4x) Orig card was 200529-00D-02 flashed with Silverstone ECS06 Firmware


We need to dump the November 2022 firmware

oh btw 221118-003E-00 doesnt have the removable flag on the ports

the other two firmwares do



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I have ordered a CH341A i will dump the firmware and post a copy once i have flashed my other two cards



I will dump the card with the known firmware first

then find the exact bytes i have to trim the bin down to to match the crc32

then do the same with the latest firmware

Edited by Shonk
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I'm looking to buy my first PCIE to SATA card. Port count, power and price are important factors, which makes the 6 Port ASM1166 card my best bet. I've noticed there's two variants: 'PCE6SAT-A01' and 'PCE6SAT-A02' - what's the difference between them? They appear identical, my guess is simply the firmware?

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  • 1 month later...

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