On SAS, 4k Native Disks, and Dell Optiplex Workstations

EDIT: The information in this page is wrong. The Optiplex line does _not_ support 4k native drives. More info asap.

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Hi there,

Recently I ran into a couple scenarios where I needed to use either 4k native drives and/or SAS 12Gb drives in a Dell Optiplex 9020. Here’s what I learned.

Here are the drives I was using:

  • ST6000NM0014 – Seagate SAS12 4k native 6TB
  • ST6000NM0004 – Seagate SATA 4k native 6TB

About 4k native drives

The 4k Native SATA drives work great in Optiplex 9020 using onboard SATA. I configured the drives in RAID. I know for sure that the onboard SATA for Optiplex 990 machines and below will not support 4k native disks. I haven’t tried the Optiplex 9010.

I was wrong, the Optiplex line does _not_ support 4k native drives.

SAS Controllers that did not work

As far as 4k Native SAS drives, I know for sure that the following RAID controllers will not work.

  • Dell Perc H700
  • LSI MegaRaid SAS 9240-4I
  • LSI MegaRaid SAS 9260-16i

SAS Controller that did work (yay)

This one DOES work! It’s the cheapest SAS controller I could find. It doesn’t support a BBU or SSD Caching. For that, you need to step up to the more expensive 93xx model. This card costs ~$200, the more expensive one costs a few hundred dollars more.

  • 3Ware 4-Port MegaRAID SAS 9341-4I Controller Card

About SAS drives and connectors

The Seagate drives come with a SFF-8482 connector. The MegaRAID SAS 9431 comes with a SFF-8643 connector. I could find two cables on the market that will match both ends. One is made by LSI, and the other by Adaptec.

For the Optiplex 9020 case, as well as an HP workstation case, the LSI cable’s drive-side adapters were the tiniest bit too big for the case to close. I could not find a way to make it work.

This cable does NOT work. The connectors are too big for the case to shut.

  • LSI Internal Cable SFF8643 to x4 SAS8482 w power, 0.6m. Mfg Part #: LSI00412.

This cable does work (yay!):

  • Adaptec 2280100-R HD SAS Cable, Mfg Part#: 2280100-R.

I hope this saves you some trouble :).

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