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Thread: Z97E-ITX/ac - M.2 + 6xSATA




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    Question Z97E-ITX/ac - M.2 + 6xSATA

    Hi,

    I'm hoping someone in here will be kind and clarify something about the Z97E-ITX/ac for me.

    I'm build a custom NAS server and I would like to know, if you can use all sata ports for a 6xHDD Raid-5 setup while using the M.2 slot for a SSD at the same time.

    I was looking at the specs and got a bit confused by this:

    - 6 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s Connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, Intel Rapid Storage Technology 13 and Intel Smart Response Technology), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug
    - 1 x SATA Express Connector (shared with SATA3_4, SATA3_5 and M.2 Socket)*
    - 1 x M.2_SSD (NGFF) Socket 3, supports M.2 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s module and M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen2 x2 (10 Gb/s)
    ...and in the manual:

    Please be noted that the M.2_SSD (NGFF) Socket 3 is shared with the SATA Express connector; you can only choose either the M.2_SSD (NGFF) Socket 3 or the SATA Express connector to use.
    Im thinking that this just means that you can only use SATA Express or M.2, not both at the same time, and using the M.2 slot wont stop me from using the SATA3_4 and SATA3_5 ports together with the rest of the SATA ports.

    Either way I'm a bit confused.

    Thanks to anyone who could clarify this for me!

  2. #2
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    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Z97E-ITX/ac - M.2 + 6xSATA

    Quote Originally Posted by S.Roland View Post
    Hi,

    I'm hoping someone in here will be kind and clarify something about the Z97E-ITX/ac for me.

    I'm build a custom NAS server and I would like to know, if you can use all sata ports for a 6xHDD Raid-5 setup while using the M.2 slot for a SSD at the same time.

    I was looking at the specs and got a bit confused by this:



    ...and in the manual:



    Im thinking that this just means that you can only use SATA Express or M.2, not both at the same time, and using the M.2 slot wont stop me from using the SATA3_4 and SATA3_5 ports together with the rest of the SATA ports.

    Either way I'm a bit confused.

    Thanks to anyone who could clarify this for me!
    I agree with your statement in bold above. An M.2 SSD, which I have tried recently on a different board, is isolated completely from the board's SATA controller and driver, and does not use or share their internal data paths.

    For example, if you've ever used the IRST Windows program for creating RAID arrays, it shows all the SATA drives connected to the Intel SATA ports. The M.2 SSD was not included, since it is literally using its own storage controller, part of the M.2 SSD itself. Windows "sees" and displays the M.2 SSD in Disk Management and Explorer like any other drive, but is a drive in AHCI mode. That is while I had the Intel SATA controller in RAID mode.

    A SATA Express drive uses both the board's SATA controller, and the PCIe lanes used by a M.2 SSD. So the limitation is either an M.2 SSD or SATA Express SSD only.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Z97E-ITX/ac - M.2 + 6xSATA

    Thank you very much, that clears it up for me.

    It seems that ASRock has the only Z97 Mini-ITX board on the market that will support this kind of setup - Other boards only have M.2 + 4 SATA ports or no M.2 slot with 6 SATA ports.

    Looks to be the perfect fit with Fractal's Node 304 for my NAS project :-)

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