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SAS Expanders vs. SATA Multilane SAS Expanders vs. Port Multipliers SAS Expanders vs. SAS Enclosure without Expander
SAS Expander Comparison Chart

SAS Expanders vs. The Alternatives

Technology Comparison
Price Comparison, Tower
Price Comparison, Rackmount

Below is a basic comparison of several popular storage technologies. All of them are still being used for various purposes, although SAS Expanders are gaining share for larger storage solutions.


 

SAS Expanders

SAS (no expanders)

SATA Multilane

Port Multipliers

Enclosures

High-capacity only

Broader range of capacities

Broadest range of capacities

Broader range of capacities

Controllers

SAS controllers,
expander enabled

SAS controllers,
any

SAS or SATA controllers,
multilane connectors

eSATA controllers,
port multiplier aware

Hard Drives

SAS or SATA hard drives

SAS or SATA hard drives

SATA hard drives only

SATA hard drives only

Cables

1 external cable per expander
(typically 12, 16 or 24 drives)

1 external cable per 4 drives
(4 for a 16-bay enclosure)

1 external cable per 4 drives
(4 for a 16-bay enclosure)

1 eSATA cable per multiplier chip
(4 or 5 drives per cable)

Adapters

none

yes,
if connecting internal ports

yes,
if connecting internal ports

none

 
Diagram
 

Costs

Most expensive enclosures.
Savings are from less cables,
controller ports, no adapters.

Can be more expansive than
SATA multilane or port multipliers.
Cost vs. expanders depends
on the number of hard drives.

Least expensive enclosures.
Costs less for many setups.
Each 4x ports adds cost for
cables, adapters, controller.

The lowest cost solution.
for expandable storage.
Inexpensive cables and
controllers, no adapters.

Performance

Can use the latest fast
drives and controllers.

Can use the latest fast
drives and controllers.

Can use fast SAS controllers,
but not fast SAS hard drives.

Used more for bulk
storage than speed.

Summary

If you need fast controllers
and drives, plus expansion.

If you need very fast drives,
but not too many of them.

If controller size is sufficient,
good value & performance.

If you need bulk storage,
it is a viable alternative.

Shopping

SAS Expanders

SAS Enclosures

SATA Multilane

SATA Port Multipliers


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