New nas sata controller

Hi. I’m thinking in building my own nas, use TrueNas and ditch my old synology box. My question is which sata controller should I use ? My motherboard only has 4 sata ports and I need at least 6 maybe 8 in the future. Are there some decent sata expansion controllers out there ( like Marvell /? …not too expensive.) or better to get somehba controller ? In that case which one ? I heard those need it-mode firmware and get really toasty.

This is basically for home usage and not intensive tasks at all

I believe technically, any expansion card that adds more SATA ports can be considered an HBA. So the question isn’t really do you need an HBA or a SATA expansion controller, but rather which models work best. You are right that if the expansion card does have configurable firmware, you will want to set it up such that it presents all drives individually to the host system without any RAID functionality, aka IT (initiator target) mode.

As to which cards are best, all I can say is that the LSI2008 based card I bought used off of eBay works very well in my system, although the process of flashing it into IT-mode was rather tedious. Concerning power draw / heat, I have never been concerned with that, but the card has never noticeably overheated.

A used IBM M1015 will work fine with TrueNAS. You will need the appropriate breakout cables. Make sure that the adaptor is flashed to IT mode.

I bought a Dell H200 for around $90 AUD and it came pre flashed to IT mode (imported for truenas) and it worked without a problem. It supports up to 8 drives. You can just search “dell hba” in eBay and they will come up. Don’t forget you would also need SAS to SATA cables as well.