Jump to content
XPEnology Community

SATA Expansion Card Unrecognized


Recommended Posts

Apologies for the LONG post, but I wanted to ensure I provided the most detail I could!


DISCLAIMER:  I'm very green when it comes to Linux, so when replying, I humbly ask you to be as detailed as possible... please don't assume I know what may even be basic Linux knowledge.  That said, I can follow instructions fairly well and I am not technically inept... I know my way around PC components and hardware rather well.


I previously had an OpenMediaVault Home NAS setup (using an OLD old PC)  with 7 x 3TB drives and wanted to switch over to Xpenology.  So I bought 4 x 10TB new HDD's with the intention of adding them to my 7 x 3TB drives (which have been wiped) to create a new 11 HDD setup by repurposing my 'newer' old PC into the new Xpenology box.  Here are the tech specs:


CPU:      Intel i7-2600K

MOBO:  MSI P67A-GD65 (MS-7681 V2.0)

RAM:     16GB

NIC:       Intel EXPI9301CT

HDD's:   4 x HGST Ultrastar 3TB  +  3 x WD RED 3TB  +  4 x Seagate Barracuda Pro 10TB


Originally, when this was being used as my PC, I was using the motheboard's onboard SATA ports, but I only had an OS/Boot SSD and a single 2TB drive for storage (both in AHCI mode).  There are 8 onboard SATA ports in total... 6 controlled by the Intel P67 chipset (2 ports are SATA-600 and 4 ports are SATA-300), and an extra 2 SATA-600 ports controlled by a Marvell 88SE9128 chipset.  This particular mobo has a history of problems with the implementation of the 2 Marvell 88SE9128 ports, so I had them disabled in the BIOS and have never used them.


Using a single old spare 500GB HDD as a test mule, I successfully installed DSM 6.2.2-24922 Update 3 without a hitch booting from a USB stick.  GREAT... that was easy... now to install the "real" drives!


My original plan was to use the 6 onboard Intel SATA ports, then expand using SATA expansion cards.  So I plugged in 6 drives to the Intel ports and powered on the system... NOTHING.  The boot process would hang before reaching GRUB.  Through lengthy trial and error, I determined whenever a drive was plugged into any of the 4 SATA-300 ports, the system would not boot to GRUB; but 2 HDD's plugged into the 2 SATA-600 ports would boot to DSM fine.


Then I thought about the other 2 Marvell 88SE9128 SATA-600 ports, so I enabled them (in AHCI mode in the BIOS) and plugged in another 2 HDD's... success!  With 4 HDD's (2 in Intel's SATA-600 ports, and 2 in Marvell's SATA-600 ports), the system would boot to DSM with no problems.


Now I needed 7 more ports, but I didn't want to get into the LSI/SAS route, so after some research in these forums, I decided to order 2 of these cards based on the Marvell 88SE9215 chipsets:


SATA CARD 1 & 2:  Ubit SA3014 4 Port SATA III (PCIe 2.0 x1) (Marvell 88SE9215)


When they arrived, I installed them one at a time... connected up 4 HDD's to Card #1, installed, booted up and... success!  8 HDD's now visible in Storage Manager in DSM!  Shutdown and connected the final 3 HDD's to Card #2, inserted and powered up... booted into DSM fine... but when I checked in Storage Manager, the first 8 HDD's were still there, but the final 3 drives were not visible!


I then began the process of trial and error again, plugging and unplugging all manner of drive configuration, but no matter what I tried, I could not get the final 3 drives to show up in DSM.


I then thought perhaps Card #2 was faulty, so I unplugged Card #1 and booted... the 3 drives appeared in DSM!  


Shutdown, reinserted Card #1, booted... the 4 HDD's connected to Card #1 were back, but the 3 drives connected to Card #2 were not visible again... HOWEVER, Storage Manager was showing 5 Slots Available.


I scrounged the forums again and found expansion cards with the Marvell 88SE9235 chipset were highly recommended... so I ordered one of these:


SATA CARD 3:  IOCrest SI-PEX40062 4 Port SATA III (PCIe 2.0 x2) (Marvell 88SE9235)


When it arrived, I connected it up and booted...  the system would not boot to GRUB.


Then I thought there might be some issue with the onboard ports, and seeing as I now had 3 expansion cards totaling 12 ports, I disabled ALL the onboard ports (including the eSATA ones) in the bios and connected all 11 drives to the 3 expansion cards (4 x 3TB to Card #1... 4 x 3TB to Card #2... and 4 x 10TB's to Card #3).  Booted up and made it to DSM... except Storage Manage was now only showing the 8 HDD's connected to Card #1 & Card #3:




However, the Overview shows 8 Drives, and 4 Unused Slots:




I thought it was strange why it would recognize the slots available, but not see the drives attached.  So I shutdown and unplugged Card #1 to see what would happen... sure enough, DSM booted fine, but now Overview was showing 4 Unused Drives and 8 Available Slots!  By removing/relocating the expansion cards and their connected HDD's in various configurations, my conclusion/guess is the 4 Available Slots pictured above (with all 3 expansion cards installed) are actually NOT the slots from Card 2, but somehow, DSM is still identifying the 4 slots on the motherboard even though I disabled them in the BIOS.


I then read in these forums about the SataPortMap values and tried some different configurations that way, but no combination of numbers would change how DSM saw the connected drives and slots... it always remains the same by fully recognizing all 8 HDD's connected to Card #1 and Card #3, but will not recognize the second Marvell 88SE9215 card while the first one is installed... all while still showing 4 Slots Available.


So this is where I am now and have decided to bring my issue to these forums for help rather than bumble my way through with growing frustration at every point of failure...lol...


Ideally, I'd like to use the 3 expansion cards alone and bypass the motherboard altogether, but I'm not picky... I just want DSM to recognize 12 ports so I can connect all my HDD's.


Any and all help would be greatly appreciated... again, apologies for the lengthy post, but hopefully it was thorough enough to paint the back-story.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

The slots will be shown in DSM regardless of whether there is a controller available to service them.


You are assigning meaning to the empty slots, and it doesn't tell you anything about what is and is not recognized in the system.


You are connecting a large number of drives - not a typical, or simple installation.  All three add-in SATA controllers are using port multiplication.  I suspect the DSM drivers are having trouble with that many controllers along with port multiplication, which has been documented to have trouble in complex scenarios (which your configuration definitely is).  Even your base motherboard configuration has FOUR controllers onboard (2x Intel SATA via PCH, 1 embedded 88SE9128 and the JMicron eSATA).


A couple of points:

  • Disable controllers you aren't using
  • Each controller added may "remap" the active ports and order of drives in DSM (that's where SataPortMap/Idx comes in to play)
  • Personally, I avoid multiple instances of the same controller type in one system.
  • Intel SATA usually works well on DSM.  If I were in your shoes, I'd back up and figure out why the Intel SATA II disks aren't working.
  • Using the cheapest tech (Marvell) to support a complex configuration (11 drives) is part of the problem as it is making debugging and analysis very hard

ESXi may help you support multiple controllers (and the Intel SATA).  However, it doesn't like Marvell too much.  There are some hacks to make it work, but again LSI is a much better option.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, as always: don’t buy „cheap“ controller cards if you can buy one „big“ used HBA with a working chipset like LSI for nearly the same price. 


@Polanskiman: maybe we can add another section to the FAQs for this? Like „don’t use cards with port multipliers or XY chipsets“? Would save the user‘s money and time for everyone 🙂 There were many threads in the past like this one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/11/2019 at 12:29 PM, jensmander said:
@Polanskiman : maybe we can add another section to the FAQs for this? Like „don’t use cards with port multipliers or XY chipsets“?


That FAQ already exists but people seems to care little for the FAQs. That is why most of the time I don’t bother answering questions which answers are already in plain sight. In fact I have been trying for a while to implement a way to force new members to read the facts before beeing able to post or view any other thread.

FAQs>Hardware FAQ>Faq #8

The faq does not provide brand names or models on purpose because that is a varying information.

Also Flyride has published two excellent threads about native compatibility which are pinned.

Other than going into people house to build their machines I am not sure what else we can do. [emoji56]


  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...