The Big WHS Update: Prepping the Old System and New Parts


Just as an update. I installed the second Adaptec 31605 today, filling all 16 ports with 8x WD Greens, 6x Hitachi 2TB, and 2x Hitachi 1TB drives. There is an additional 1.5TB Seagate 7200.11 being used as an OS drive. That’s 27.5TiB raw capacity.

Here’s a view of all the drives currently in The Big WHS. Note, I may have killed yet another WD Green. A single SMART error so I’m making quadruple sure that something isn’t wrong.

17 Drives, 27.5TiB Raw installed for testing

Tomorrow I will start creating the arrays and just start copying as much as I can to see if I can break things. The WHS Virtual Machine seems to be very stable in Hyper-V.

Along other fronts, the old WHS is down to a single Adaptec 31605 with 10x 1.5TB and 2x 1.0TB Seagate 7200.11’s. Available space is getting pretty low on there:

Old WHS 6.65TB/7.07TB
Old WHS 6.65TB/7.07TB

That 400GB is enough for 3 weeks… so if the new WHS doesn’t prove stable, then I’ll have to add drives to the old WHS.

Finally, on the hardware front, a few developments:

  1. I spontaneously purchased another Antec TruePower Quattro 1,000w power supply as it was on sale for $129.99, and works great in the old WHS.
  2. I ordered a Intel Pro/1000 PT Quad port NIC. With the virtualization, and my distrust of the Realtek GigE ports on the Asus P6T7 WS Supercomputer, I decided this had to happen at some point.
  3. I ordered a HP SAS Expander. HP Part Number: 468406-B21 This device allows one to connect 24 internal and 4 external ports to a single 4 port SFF-8087 connector. If it works, I will probably purchase a second and run all of the arrays off of the Adaptec 5805 instead of dual Adaptec 31605’s. Total port expansion would be from 40 ports over three cards (16, 16, and 8 ) to 56 from one card (8->28, 8->28). If it doesn’t work, it is a $200 experiment. The major advantage to keeping everything on one card is that hotspares can be shared between the two 8x 1.5TB Raid 6 arrays. At the current WD Green failure rate I almost want to keep two 1.5TB hotspares.
  4. The Perc 5i’s did not work well on the Asus board (I did not pinmod them this time). At times they threw d4 errors upon boot and other times they would allow the machine to boot but would not work in Windows Server 2008 R2. Just to verify that the cards worked I installed them on an old Q6600/ nVidia 680i motherboard system and everything worked perfectly well.
  5. I bought a second Hitachi 1TB retail drive. I have been very happy with them thus far and decided to add another drive. Odds are I will either use two raid 1 arrays or a raid 6 array with the four 1TB drives. I have also been contemplating using some of the 1.5TB drives.

That’s all for now!


  1. Damn, what do you store on that machine? Video surveillance? give me a hint lol. The WHS sounds great, lets see some pics too haha. Amazing stuff, keep it coming

  2. I keep backups of everything on there. I take a lot of Canon .RAW and very rarely throw images away (every so often a poorly exposed shot + photoshop comes out cool). Managing many systems also means I keep ISO’s of operating systems, program disks, and etc just so I can always find backups. Finally, HD camcorders & video burn through space like crazy. The WHS also serves all my iTunes/ Amazon/ digital copy music and video. I don’t like expanding capacity so I do add months worth of storage at a time.

    I’ll take some pictures once I start the non-burn-in build. I ordered an HP SAS Expander card that will arrive Monday. That will probably influence the 2x Adaptec 31605 or 1x Adaptec 5805 + 2x HP SAS Expander decision. If I go for the expanders, it will change my physical layout of drives, but it is another burn in cycle.

  3. Heh, well a big part of it is that I’ve been somewhat of a digital packrat for 10+ years. I do consulting for a living (purposefully ambiguous). One thing to note though that this is like having a huge garage. The fact you have a large amount of space somehow means you require more space. For example I have tons of VM’s stored just in the event that on one day I want to try something in a configuration on Ubuntu, another configuration on OpenSolaris, and the next on Redhat. I also keep tons of backups. To be clear, I don’t have 40TB of stuff by any means. One third of the storage is basically unusable for parity drives/ hot swap drives. Further, I’m not going to be using all of the space immediately. I just wanted to build something that I wouldn’t need to upgrade for a long time. Plus, it is somewhat of a hobby :-)

  4. cool, sorry for the interrogation haha, I’m just curious. I totally understand the need for space, same thing with me

  5. I know its an older post, but wanted to say its a great project and I love following it. I’m sure you’re busy, but if you know or had the time, have you gotten the HP SAS expanders to work with the perc 5i/6i? I’m hoping to do something similar (on a much smaller scale) and something like 11-13 2tb drives sounds great. Thanks for any insight and keep us updated with the project!

  6. I still haven’t gotten the HP SAS Expanders to work with the Dell PERC 5/i and I have tried both the LSI and Dell firmware. For 11-13 2TB drives, you may just want a lower cost card like an Adaptec 31605 which is about $325 these days and has 16 ports. I have not tried the HP SAS Expander with the PERC 6 cards, but I have yet to hear of anyone getting those to work together.

    Good luck with your build!

  7. Thanks for the confirmation. I’d love to go for an Adaptec 31605, but I’ve only able to find them on ebay for $600 or so. At $325 it sounds great and I’d probably pick it up. Also for some information, in case someone stumbles across this, in the HP SAS expander thread on hardocp (which, I believe you’re also a part of), it looks like perc 5i/6i does *not* work on the HP SAS expander, but the perc 6e *does*.

    Post #700

  8. I’ve bought one for $375 and sold one for $325 over then past 12 months. When I finally put my last one on ebay, I’ll probably do a $325 BIN or $375 w/ BBU. Seems to be the market price of these things. I’d suggest just keeping your eyes open for a week or two as you sometimes need to wait for raid cards to come up.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.