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I can't seem to get this PICe card working and I can't find any info/drivers about it on the internet. All the SATA HDDs in my server are connected using this card which came with the system. It works instantly plug-and-play in Windows. But on Linux, nothing. lspci shows the card but no drives or /dev/sdX devices show up, and I don't see any messages/errors regarding it in dmesg, not sure what I should be looking for though.

I'm using Ubuntu Desktop 20.04 btw. (And if you're curious why desktop on a server, it's a headless box but I installed the desktop so I can VNC in as well as SSH in)

Here is the card. It says "Newer MAXPower RAID mini-SAS 6G PCIe 2.0" RAID Card

EDIT: Here's what lspci -v shows:

06:00.0 RAID bus controller: HighPoint Technologies, Inc. Device 1e10 (rev 03)
    Subsystem: HighPoint Technologies, Inc. Device 0000
    Physical Slot: 3
    Flags: fast devsel
    Memory at 90940000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [disabled] [size=128K]
    Memory at 90900000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [disabled] [size=256K]
    Expansion ROM at 90960000 [disabled] [size=64K]
    Capabilities: [40] Power Management version 3
    Capabilities: [50] MSI: Enable- Count=1/1 Maskable- 64bit+
    Capabilities: [70] Express Endpoint, MSI 00
    Capabilities: [100] Advanced Error Reporting
    Capabilities: [140] Virtual Channel

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From a quick web search, this appears to be based on an LSI chip. To enable support for LSI-based cards in Linux, you need to load either the mp2sas or mpt3sas module (or compile them into the kernel), depending on the kernel version and the card itself. Most will work with the newer mpt3sas driver.

Depending on how you want to access the connected drives (e.g. as a hardware-raid array or as individual drives), you may want to re-flash the card's firmware with the IT ("Initiator Target". This is also known as HBA or Host Based Adaptor mode) version of the firmware. Unless you need to share an array with non-linux systems (e.g. with dual boot), you are better off using the card in IT mode and using Linux's mdadm, LVM, btrfs, or ZFS for raid-like features.

The firmware RAID in RAID cards is basically garbage compared to what Linux's various kinds of software RAID are capable of, and the puny under-powered CPUs in the cards don't even begin to compete with the tiny fraction of the host's CPU power used by software raid. This is especially true of cards which only support RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10.

Some of the better, more expensive cards which support RAID5 or RAID6 have nice features like NAND or battery-backed RAM cache to offset the performance problems and the write-hole failure mode of R5/R6, but ZFS's RAID-Z is better. and mdadm can be combined with bcache or similar.


FYI, the Serve The Home web site used to be a good site for tech like this, when it was actually focused on DIY and home server stuff. These days, it's still OK but the articles make it more of a site for reviews that drool over high-end corporate gear. The site's forums and archives are still good and a good source of useful info.

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  • Thanks for the detailed response! And huh, I always assumed hardware RAID was nearly always better then software RAID, perhaps I should give software RAID a shot. Anyway, I'll try and implement your suggestion tomorrow and see if my card works.
    – Pecacheu
    Commented Jan 5, 2022 at 9:02
  • HW RAID might have had some advantages 20 years ago, but it hasn't for ages - modern CPUs and modern software out-perform and out-feature it in every way. About the only remaining advantage is that HW RAID is OS-independent - set up the array with the card's firmware and any OS with a driver for the card will see exactly the same array. Other than that, it's no contest - software raid wins.
    – cas
    Commented Jan 5, 2022 at 9:08
  • Okay, so I had some time again today, I tired to run 'sudo modprobe mpt3sas' and 'sudo modprobe mpt2sas', got no errors like 'module not found' or anything, but I didn't see any additional /dev/sd* devices showing up, and didn't see anything in the Ubuntu "Disks" program either. I have two WD Red drives connected to the RAID card. Any idea what's up?
    – Pecacheu
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 22:48
  • In my dmesg all I see is "mpt3sas version 36.100.00.00 loaded"
    – Pecacheu
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 22:50
  • I think my problem may be that your assertion about the LSI-based chip might be wrong. In lspci it shows up as "HighPoint Technologies". Also I forgot until now that I already asked about this a few months ago on AskUbuntu, lol. askubuntu.com/questions/1362264/…
    – Pecacheu
    Commented Jan 8, 2022 at 1:48

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