Various notes on vintage Dell PowerEdge servers and RAID controllers.
The PERC 5/i is an old 3GB/s SAS/SATA RAID (0, 1, 5, 10, 50) controller with battery backup. It will not pass-through raw disks (i.e. JBOD) to the OS for use by ZFS, etc. Limited to 2TB drives or smaller.
The PERC 6/i is an old 6GB/s SAS/SATA RAID (0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60) controller with battery backup. It will not pass-through raw disks (i.e. JBOD) to the OS for use by ZFS, etc. Limited to 2TB drives or smaller.
The H700 is a newer 6GB/s SAS/SATA RAID (0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60) controller with battery backup. It has two x4 SAS ports. It will not pass-through raw disks (i.e. JBOD) to the OS for use by ZFS, etc. It's a great controller if you aren't using ZFS. The H800 is like the H700, except that it has external SATA ports and is intended to be used with a drive expansion unit. It can have either 512MB or 1024MB of DDR cache. I believe it is limited to 6TB drives or smaller.
The H200 is a newer 6GB/s SAS/SATA RAID (0, 1, 10) controller without battery backup. It has 2x4 mini-SAS ports. If disks are present but not configured in the H200, it will pass the raw devices through to the OS. It uses the LSI SAS 2008 chipset and is apparently quite similar to the popular LSI 9211-8i HBAs (IBM M1015 also) and can be reflashed with LSI firmware. Conflicting information appears to say the maximum supported drive size is 2TB with Dell firmware. Reflashing to LSI firmware removes and possible limitations.
The SAS6/iR is the lowest-end RAID (0,1) controller at 3GB/s. I haven't bothered to research its limitations.
The LSI 9240-8i HBA is an extremely popular low-end RAID controller which almost all operating systems support. It requires a PCI-e x8 slot. It has two x4 mini-SAS SFF-8087 connectors and supports 6GB/s SAS/SATA. The also popular IBM M1015 is a relabeled version of this card. With default firmware, the 9240 does not pass-through raw drives to the OS. However, it can be reflashed with firmware for the LSI 9211 HBA, which does allow raw disk pass-through (such pass-through is also called 'IT mode').
SFF-8087 connectors are termed 'Mini-SAS' connectors and SFF-8484 are terms 'SAS' connectors. The number of pins is the same, but the SFF-8087 is much more compact.
Model Slot P/N Memory Port Location Connector --------- --------- -------- ------- --------------- -------------------------- H200 PCI-e 047MCV internal two x4 SFF-8087 (Mini-SAS) H200 integrated 3J8FW internal two x4 SFF-8087 (Mini-SAS) H200 PCI-e 12DNW external two x4 SFF-8087 (Mini-SAS) H700 integrated XXFVX 512MB internal two x4 SFF-8087 (Mini-SAS) H700 PCI-e W56W0 512MB internal two x4 SFF-8087 (Mini-SAS) PERC 6/i integrated T954J internal two x4 SFF-8484 (SAS) PERC 6/i PCI-e T774H internal two x4 SFF-8484 (SAS) SAS6/iR integrated JW063 internal two x4 SFF-8484 (SAS) SAS6/iR PCI-e U558P internal two x4 SFF-8484 (SAS) LSI 9240-8i PCI-e 46M0861 internal two x4 SFF-8087 (Mini-SAS) H200 R510 integ 3J8FW internal two x4 SFF-8087 (Mini-SAS) H200 R510 integ H215J internal two x4 SFF-8087 (Mini-SAS) H200 PCI-e H216J internal two x4 SFF-8087 (Mini-SAS)
I had an old Dell PE2900 with a PERC 5/i. I wanted to run FreeNAS on/with ZFS and needed raw disk passthrough as well as support for 8TB+ disk sizes so I replaced the 5/i with a 9240-8i HBA. I reflashed the 9240 with LSI 9211 software. There are two versions of the 9211 software: one for IR mode and one for IT-only mode. With IR mode, each drive that you wish to pass-through has to be inidividually configured in the controller. With the IT mode firmware, each drive is automatically passed-through with no configuration required. I reflashed to 9211-IT as it was the most convenient for my use case. Because the existing cables were SAS-8484 to SAS-8484, I had to replace them with SAS-8087 to SAS-8484 cables. It worked perfectly.
I ordered an 8 bay x 3.5" Dell R510 for a file server. It comes with an integrated PERC 6/i controller. As I want to pass-through all drives to the OS, I intend to replace the integrated PERC with an integrated H200. Unfortunately, the PERC uses the older SFF-8484 connector and the H200/H700 use the SFF-8087, so new cables will be necessary. Choosing new cables required a little research.
There are a multiple R510 versions, differing in the number of drive bays they provide: R510-4, R510-8, and R510-12. Each has a different backplane with different SAS connectors. Dell only shipped the H700 with the R510-12; a PERC 6/i was shipped with the R510-8. This means there is no Dell part number for a cable which connects a H200/H700 to an R510-8 backplane.
The H700 and the H200 both have the same SAS connector type and positioning. Therefore, for the end of the cable that connects to the H200, I'll need the same connector used with the R510-12/H700 configuration. This is a straight SFF-8087.
Now, on to the end of the SAS cable that connects to the R510-8 backplane. Fig. 3-34 in the Owner's Manual shows a straight connector coming off of the eight drive SAS backplane -- this is the SAS-A cable. What is omitted from the diagram is the SAS-B cable. It is apparently a straight connector as well, which plugs in to the connector below the notch on the other end of the backplane. This is not clear from the diagram, but after Googling for images of the backplane, I'm confident this is correct: both cables use a staight SFF-8087 to connect to the backplane.
There we have it: I need two cables with straight SFF-8087 connectors on each end. That shouldn't be too hard to find.
I did some Googling for cables. It's pretty confusing as there seem to be a lot of incorrect images out there. I more or less decided that the following two are correct. I also note that, at $80 each, these cables cost more than my R510 with dual 5620s, 32GB, and 8 SAS trays did.
R510 Mini-SAS A to H700/H200 8 Bay chassis (Dell PN Y673P) 12": http://store.flagshiptech.com/dell-y673p-0y673p-poweredge-r510-r515-mini-sas-a-to-h700-h200-controller-cable-for-8-hd-chassis/
R510 Mini-SAS B to H700/H200 8 Bay chassis (Dell PN P745P) 12": http://store.flagshiptech.com/dell-p745p-0p745p-poweredge-r510-mini-sas-b-to-perc-h700-controller-cable/
From these two listings, I conclude that Dell actuall uses a right angle connector on the H700 rather than a straight. I think straight will work, but I'll look
These are apparently the correct cables for the R510-8: https://www.ebay.com/itm/DELL-POWEREDGE-R510-R515-8-BAY-DELL-H200-PERC-H700-SAS-SATA-A-B-RAID-CABLES-/201296552831 Note that both ends of these are straight connectors. I honestly think this photo is wrong.
These are apparently the correct cables for the R510-12: https://www.ebay.com/p/Dell-POWEREDGE-R510-R515-12-Bay-Dell-H200-PERC-H700-SAS-SATA-a-B-RAID-Cables/1023637357 Note that both ends of each are right-angle connectors. I believe that the end that attaches to the back plane is at a right angle parallel to the backplane. The other end that attaches to the controller is at a right angle perpendicular to the controller board.
PERC 6/i and cables for R510-8: https://discountraidcards.tech/item/181677463970/dell-poweredge-r510-8-dell-perc-6i-sas-sata-3gb-s-256mb-raid-battery__card_raid-card.html Note that the backplane connector is a right angle with the cable parallel to the backplane. This is the backplane connector I'll need.
EndA: straight, EndB: right angle parallel. $12. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Ultra-Slim-Flat-90D-Left-Angled-Mini-SAS-36pin-SFF-8087-to-8087-Data-Raid-Cable/162782909809
EndA: straight, EndB: reverse 90 degree angled data cable. https://www.ebay.com/itm/SFF-8087-Mini-SAS-4i-36P-to-36Pin-reverse-90-degree-Right-Angled-Data-Cable/151782993017
http://www.techcable.com/HTML/SFF-8087-cables.htm http://www.microsatacables.com/internal-mini-sas-sff8087-right-angle-to-internal-mini-sas-sff8087-sff-796-75m http://www.microsatacables.com/mini-sas-sff8087-36-pin-right-angle-to-sff8087-36-pin-right-angle-cable-sff-803-1m
P/N P744P - R510 Mini-SAS B to PERC H700/H200 SAS-1 Cable for chassis with 8 hard drive bays, which is apparently 18" long. One end has a right angle connector with the cable coming out perpendicular to the backplane. The other end has a straight connector.
Used cables seem to be $35-90 or so on eBay. On Amazon, Cable Matters sells a similar cable for $13.