If you've read my post on the Thecus N4100+ NAS drive then you'll remember that I bought 4 500gig hard drives for it that I didn't end up using with the NAS due to its performance problems, this post aims to explain what I did with them.
The most obvious choice was to add them to my existing server, the problem with that though was that the server motherboard only had 2 SATA ports and they were both being used already.
I had a look round at a few enclosures that could house 4 drives, then at some that could house 2 drives before giving up as they were all just too expensive. Heck all I want to do is fit a couple of drives and then plug them into the server, it's hardly rocket science and yet everyone seems to want to charge an arm and a leg for them!
I’m sure it was via a forum post on www.team-mediaportal.com that I then stumbled across the notion of using a PCI add-in card to expand the number of SATA ports, seems obvious really when you think about it! So after a little digging around I came across this card on DABS and placed the order.
My only other issue was how I was going to mount the drives as I already had 5 drives in the case and not enough space to mount 4 more especially without running into heat issues and just as before finding a basic enclosure to store 4 drives in was a problem. Since the server is in the loft, having a nice shiny case to store them in wasn’t really necessary, so instead I took a couple of hard drive mounts from some old cases I had lying around and used them instead, not pretty but it works!
The performance of the drives via a PCI add-in card was never going to be the same as a native SATA interface but for what it’s used for it works well enough, certainly well enough to stream HD content across the network, in fact the only issue I’ve had with it in the year or so of use is the dodgy software that came with it which tends to eat RAM like it's gone out of fashion…