First-time asker here (let me know if there's a better stack for this)

I recently bought a secondhand Lenovo ThinkServer TS460, intending to run a home media server on it using UnraidOS. Here's Lenovo's Product Guide. The specific machine that I bought came with a RAID Controller (It appears to be the ThinkServer RAID 520i PCIe Adapter) connected to a board via MiniSAS that connects to all four available disk bays via SATA, and powers the four disks via this 8-pin connector (the port it connected to is labelled BP8_PWR_CON1). Here's some pictures:

The motherboard minus the RAID Controller

The motherboard minus the RAID Controller

The RAID Controller PCIe Adatpter

The RAID Controller PCIe Adatpter

The "front" of the board that bridges the four disk bays to the RAID Controller - note the MiniSAS Port and the 8-pin power cable

The "front" of the board that bridges the four disk bays to the RAID Controller - note the MiniSAS Port and the 8-pin power cable

The "back" of that board - note the four SATA ports for the disks

The "back" of that board - note the four SATA ports for the disks

The power supply is actually a pair of hot-swappable redundant 450 W AC (100 - 240 V) Modules (from the product guide: probably Lenovo's ThinkServer 450W Hot Swap Redundant Power Supply). The power supplies slot into a board that has all the power ports for the motherboard components: Board bridging power supplies and power ports

UnraidOS specifically states in their docs that it doesn't really support the use of hardware-based RAID controllers, but I figured that's ok - I'll just pull out the RAID controller and the board that connects to it via MiniSAS and connect my disks to the four available SATA ports on the motherboard. However I can't find a port to power the SATA connections. The product guide says that up to four disks are supported via the on-motherboard SATA ports, so it seems that what I want to do is in-spec. My understanding is that I'm looking for a 4-pin port (ideally labeled SATA pwr or something like that), but I don't see one...

  1. Am I missing the obvious (hello - it's right there!)?
  2. If not - is there a cable or something that I can get to provide power with any of the ports?

Open to other creative suggestions, Thanks

3 Answers 3


You're fine with your current hardware, just put the 520i into JBOD mode

When Unraid says they don't support hardware RAID controllers, what they're saying is that they don't want you running RAID on the drives before passing them to Unraid. They're not saying you can't use a controller that supports hardware RAID to interface with the drives, *so long as said controller supports passing the drives through as "just a bunch of disks" (JBOD). The page you linked says as much:

Most RAID storage controllers offer a way to flash the firmware to convert the card into a basic HBA for devices (eliminating the RAID entirely), but you'll have to search for your specific controller to see if that is an option.

The good news for you is that you don't even have to flash new firmware on the card, since the 520i officially supports JBOD: just open the 520i's BIOS and set it to JBOD.

In other words: Unraid relies on software RAID, where the CPUs do all the calculations required to implement RAID. Your card supports either doing these calculations itself and then presenting one giant array to the OS (hardware RAID), or just passing the drives through without doing and RAID stuff (JBOD). Doing the latter is no different from plugging the drives into the onboard SATA ports, and it's what you should do.

  • Hey, I finally got a chance to play around with this and I got UnRaidOS running on the system, but it's not finding my drives. I found the RAID controller settings in the BIOS and it seems to be aware of at least one of the two drives. All RAID and virtual groups are off, JBOD says [Enabled]. No dice... I know this site isn't for tech support, but any ideas? (also, belated thanks for responding to my post - I was going to accept if weeks ago to give you the points, but I thought to verify it on my machine first; which seems like was a good idea now...) Commented Feb 22 at 1:15
  • It's a SAS3008-based card, so it should work with the included megaraid_sas driver. I'm more of a TrueNAS person than an Unraid person, but I'll do my best. Can you post photos/screenshots of the BIOS showing the drive listings? Does the megaraid_sas driver show up under Tools -> Drivers? Also can you run lspci and check that the card show up, and check dmesg | grep mps for any weird messages? Can you try an alternative distro and see if the card shows up? Failing that, you could flash the card to IT mode, but that should be overkill given the stock BIOS supports JBOD.
    – JMY1000
    Commented Feb 22 at 7:23
  • Ok super weird - I went into the BIOS to get some pictures of the card configuration, and it the configuration utility wasn't showing up. This happened the first time I powered on the machine, but I figured it was because I was messing around with putting the card in a different slot... I went to Driver Health in the BIOS and I saw AVAGO EFI SAS Driver | Failed. I went into that and saw AVAGO MegaRAID SAS 9340-8i need configuration (or something). I started that - and after confirming a few prompts, the config settings for the card popped up and it showed my drives. Commented Feb 23 at 16:55
  • 1
    Now I just rebooted and I had to go through those steps again even though I saved my changes from the first time. Commented Feb 23 at 16:56
  • Also a bit strange is that in the driver BIOS config utility it shows that I have 2 drives connected to one backplane, but when I inspect the drives, it shows the same drive twice connected to Port 0 Commented Feb 23 at 16:58

The breakout cables are directional.

If you choose to bypass the backplane, the forward breakout cable is what you need. You can search for the SFF-8643 (Host) to 4X SATA (Target) or forward breakout Cable on Amazon.

If you choose to bypass the HBA/RAID card, you can use the ThinkServer OEM reverse breakout cable FRU 00HV802.

  • Thanks - if anything, I'd probably choose to bypass the RAID card, since that seems easier and the backplane provides convenience. Is there a performance downside to ditching the controller card in this scenario? Aside from losing the expansion capability, that is. To phrase it differently, should I try to make my RAID controller work before ditching it and why? Commented Mar 1 at 16:13
  • I found this reverse breakout cable seems like it matches what I'm looking for, if I bypass the RAID card Commented Mar 1 at 16:30
  • If you were you, I'd buy the OEM reverse breakout cable. I got burned on this. The seller listing it as reverse breakout, it is actually forward breakout in reality. It took me two weeks to find out the cable was wrong type instead of my other components. I email the seller and his reply was "they are the same". What a joke. Simply search for 00HV802 on eBay and it's much cheaper, too. Commented Mar 1 at 16:54
  • 00HV802 00HV802ebay.com/itm/… Commented Mar 1 at 16:58
  • For the storage expansion in the future, you can add a SATA expander PCIe card if you go the route of bypassing the HBA. The only thing you are losing is that no SAS drive can be used without a SAS card. I saw a few of TS460 around here, 2 of them have LSI-9364-8i RAID cards/SAS drives and 6 of them have no HBA/RAID cards, just reverse breakout cables only/SATA drives. Commented Mar 1 at 17:26

Backplane Power connection

The power to the SATA/SAS: The 8-pin backplane power cable on your forth picture can be plugged into the 8-pin ports named: BPB_PWR_CON1 or BPB_PWR_CON2 on the upper left corner of the power board on your last picture.

Bypass the hardware RAID card ThinkServer 520i: get a SATA/SAS 4-port breakout cable to connect your backplane to the 4 SATA ports on your motherboard.

Do not bypass the backplane, it is essential for drive hot-swap capability in RAID operation.

  • 1
    The ThinkServer 520i is that breakout card; no reason to get another when that one should do.
    – JMY1000
    Commented Feb 29 at 21:06
  • @joshfromtexas - I'm currently working on trying to get my system working without dropping the controller card using JBOD mode on it. It would be nice to use the controller since it would hypothetically allow for some expansion in the future (there are two mini-SAS connections to support a second drive array); losing hot-swap doesn't bother me as I'm not planning on using it or RAID. I am running into some issues (see the above comment thread) and I'll consider this as a backup - can you include a link to an example of this kind of cable? Commented Mar 1 at 2:46
  • I don't know how to make hyperlink on the comments section, so I just added another answer above Commented Mar 1 at 15:33

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