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Building Your Own NAS, Part 3

Originally published on Don MacVittie's Storage Blog

I recently began a project to build a network attached storage device out of parts around Network Computing's Green Bay, Wis., lab. Parts 1 and 2 of this story are available online. When we left off, I was concerned about finding a SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) card to work with a motherboard that only supports PCI. I thought that PCI-X was backward-compatible to 32-bit PCI, so I assumed a PCI-X adapter would be OK.

However, I finally determined that the SAS controller I have is not PCI-compatible. Note to all you system builders out there: Though the standard says PCI-X is backward-compatible, most implementations are not.

So I e-mailed Via Technologies to ask about PCI-X compatible boards. I'm so close to completion that I would rather not start switching things out, and I freely admit that the Via Mini-ITX motherboard is sweet. I'd like to use a similar Via product if I can't use the one I have.

Of course, I do have several options, right? Use a different motherboard, use a different controller and set of disks, drop the project (yeah, right) or get a PCI controller that supports SAS.

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