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I'm thinking about getting a couple inexpensive PCI cards that will let me plug in any SATA drive into some 10-15 year old PCs.

One is an old Compaq Presario 5300 US with a 1.1 GHz Intel Celeron processor and I think 512 MB RAM.

I don't know what the other is but it's probably similar in specs. (EDIT: It has an 800 MHz AMD Duron processor, 512 MB RAM, and the initial boot screen shows American Megatrends VIA K7 GA7VMM01.)

Both have had IDE hard drives plugged into them their whole lives and the motherboards have no support for SATA drives.

I can run a basic Debian Jessie 32-bit install on them among other things.

I was thinking about setting one up as a file server or as a backup server that does nothing more than pull from other computers and hold the data on a local 2 TB or 4 TB hard drive, but the drives I have that large are all SATA drives.

I would appreciate recommendations on an inexpensive PCI card that will enable me to use a SATA drive, including addressing the full 2/4TB.

  • Does it need to be a PCI card, or will a PATA<->SATA adapter work? (Note that a PATA<->SATA adapter won't bypass any drive-size limitations in the BIOS, while a PCI card might.) – Mark Feb 6 '17 at 21:56
  • I'm open to it if it'll work with it. I wasn't aware of such a gizmo. I don't see anything in the BIOS settings of the AMD PC indicating it can support such a large drive, so if a PCI card will be more resilient against older hardware limitations, then the better. – jia103 Feb 7 '17 at 2:26
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I'd recommend the SYBA SD-VIA-1A2S PCI card, $15 from Newegg.

It provides two SATA I ports, is universal PCI, and supports Linux. It's got LBA-48 support, so it will work with drives larger than 137 GB, and should work with drives larger than 2 TB. If you need it, it supports booting from attached hard drives (but not attached optical drives).

I don't have any experience with this card, but it's got good reviews on Newegg, including some from people using it to add SATA ports to older computers.

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