What is the best SAS/SATA control card for hard drives to stream music?

My music is stored on a secondary hard drive. A few months after using ROON, my SATA (a Marvel chip type) control card failed. The new one, an LSI SAS 2008 Falcon is becoming erratic - sometimes doesn’t “see” the drive or crashes completely. I suspect a lot of streaming is putting a lot of demand on the card and maybe overheating it. Does anyone have experience or a good opinion on this problem?

Can you use a usb attached drive?

I could use an external drive or set up a dedicated server, but I was hoping the keep costs down. I’ve been using internal drives for years without much issue. The first controller card that went bad was a cheap one. The second was not (it was about $100). I’m waiting to hear from their tech support.

I doubt it, audio streaming is likely using less that 1% of the boards bandwidth.
I think you’ve just been unlucky

1 Like

It could be I’m unlucky. The LSI card can handle 8 hard drives. Music streaming should be a breeze. When it’s working, it works great. Very fast.

I clearly remember many years ago when Intel motherboard chipsets only had built-in support for SATA II, some motherboard manufacturers added SATA III support via an external non-Intel chip.

The result is that on those boards, the additional non-Intel SATA III always performed worse than the native Intel SATA II. Those who connected a SSD to the SATA III for higher bandwidth due to SATA II bandwidth being too limiting ended up getting worse performance.

I also remember that in the past Intel onboard HDD controller maintained a significant lead over AMD for more than a decade.

My recommendation is to stick with native Intel SATA on the motherboard, if that is sufficient for you needs.

Thank you for the thoughtful reply. The computer I use for my ROON Core is eight years old, but was a very good one at the time with an Intel i7 processor. The motherboard only has one SATA connector and that goes to my primary hard drive (an SSD). That drive is for the operating system and other applications. I use secondary drives for data storage and those need the controller card to have a way to connect. Right now this computer has five drives hooked up to it. 3 internal and 2 external (usb connected). It’s been working fine until this current problem. Something like this could always be a cable or connection issue. I pulled and reseated the card and it’s working now. But the problem is intermittent. If it happens again, I’ll replace the one month old cable.

There are a lot of controller cards out there. Some very expensive. The one I have is well regarded, but it’s possible it’s just a bad card.

I have no idea what is wrong with your setup, but here are some of my experiences.
I’ve used for long period of time a dirt cheap 4-Port sata controller in a low power fanless nas. The only issues I ever noted with the controller were the controller was not bootable and the throughput was significantly lower than on the sata ports from the chipset. No issues with music, video, or general data streamings.

This leads me to offer you some tips on troubleshooting some other points of failure. Have you tested how the drive performs if you boot a live usb of ubuntu, or some other operating system? You should check your system by disconnecting your system drive, putting your music disk to that motherboard sata port and doing some test with the live usb. From there you could see if there is a loss of performance (High latencies or just not reading the data). Frankly your pc is so old that the motherboard may start having issues, and if you have issues with live usb performance then these issues are likely to affect the performance of your data drive, your cpu or whatever else that may cause you issues.

Another issue are sata cables: have you tried another sata cable (preferrably good quality and new cable)? You should also note that the issue with cables may be at the end of the cable, namely the connectors not having a firm contact or something. Some unkucky dirt cheap Chinese sata cables may also be physically unreliable.

I have also several lsi controllers and there have been some know issues with old firmware versions. I don’t think you would be bitten by these, but you should be aware that there have been real problems that have been fixed in later firmware versions. Another thing with your both sata controllers is heat: are the sata controllers located in such a place that the air inside the case is free to flow? Your 2008 likely has a heatsink that becomes over time so hot you can burn your finger, and it does this very quickly if there is not enough airflow. You can imagine that this can also result in some performance issues.

If I were you I would start thinking about getting a new computer before the old one fails.

1 Like

Thanks for the reply. I’d certainly like a new computer, but that’s going to have wait another year. Meanwhile I have to keep this one going.
I think the issue is with heat. The card runs very hot. I’ve discovered that if I take the side panel off the computer case, it runs normally. Going to clean the insides and fan ports today.

If you have a spare slot next to it try adding a fan On a card

I didn’t know they made a fan like that. But I don’t have a free slot, much less the two the fan needs.

Still, I’ll look into some way to help cool the card.

I bought the same type of card and am seeing the same problem. The card is dropping one of the drives in an external SAS enclosure all the time and then reconnects. It happens whether music is streamed or not. I ordered a different type of SAS HBA and will report when setting it up.

Good to hear from someone with the same type of card. I’m curious to know if a different card fixes the problem.

My card worked well for about a month, then started to act up about a week ago. It didn’t boot correctly on Restart. Gave me the Windows Blue Screen with a “Driver Power State Failure” message. That could be a lot of things. The card is working right now, so it’s hard to fix something that’s not broken.

My card came from10Gtek, but it is the LSI SAS 2008 Falcon. It didn’t come with any installation instructions. I plugged it in and it worked. I don’t need to configure it for RAID duties. I don’t know if there’s anything more I’m supposed to do.

I had exactly the same card. Today, I plugged in a Microsemi Adaptec HBA 1000-8e. It is working perfectly. No more problems. I am relieved after several weeks of unsuccessful trouble shooting.

Glad to hear that you found a card that works. Mine is working right now, but it’s good to know of an alternative. Your card is quite a bit more expensive than mine and I thought mine was expensive, so I won’t make a change until I have to.

My card didn’t come with any instructions, so I assume it is meant to be plug and play without any configuration (it can be set for RAID status, but I don’t use it that way). Did your new card need to be configured for your computer?

No. It is just a HBA, so no raid. I use Windows Spaces.

OK, thanks. I hope the new drive works great.