Can I install a SAS controller in my existing Windows 10 server build to connect more hard drives?

I’m currently running a Windows 10 server that used to be a gaming PC but I’ve since converted into a full-time media/backup server. It uses this motherboard and as you can imagine I quickly used up all the onboard SATA ports so a couple years ago I installed this controller to add some more ports. This has done the job for me until now with some minor inconveniences along the way, but I stuck with it because I planned to expand and address these issues eventually.

Now that I’m approaching capacity on the installed drives, I’m thinking about how I can add more drives to my build. Fortunately, I did move my build into a 4U rack some time ago so I do have empty slots for more hard drives (just not enough SATA ports!). I’m wondering if it’s possible for me to install the SAS controller described in the DAS expansion guide which would then allow me to:

  • add more drives
  • get rid of some SATA cables and use SAS connectors instead

The short answer is “probably”. I can’t say yes with 100% certainty because there’s a fun quirk in these SAS controllers that might cause the system to not boot, or if it does boot you might notice that one of the memory channels on your motherboard is disabled when the card is installed. It’s a weird issue with the SMBus. I’ve never experienced it personally but from what I’ve read, it appears that these cards send signals over the SMBus that some consumer boards misinterpret, which causes the previously mentioned errors. The good news is, if your board is affected by this, you can do a simple modification to the card to disable the SMBus signaling. For specific details, check out this article: Yannick's Tech Blog: Modding a Dell Perc 6 / Dell H310 / Dell H710 (other LSI 1078 or 9223-8i based) SAS Raidcontroller

One other quick note - even if you do add a SAS controller to your current build, don’t throw away all of your SATA cables yet. If you have any SATA SSDs in your system, you will want to keep those on the SATA ports in the system. The SAS controllers don’t pass the necessary TRIM commands to SSDs.

Ah I see, thanks for the heads up! I do have a SSD in this system but just one so I’ll be sure to keep that connected via SATA