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Crossflash a Dell SAS 5/iR to SAS 5/i (making it a SAS HBA)
The Dell SAS 5/iR is a completely worthless budget class "RAID" card, driven by a LSI Fusion-MPT chip, the LSI1068. By "worthless" I mean that it's worthless as a RAID card; it has much worse performance than a main CPU-driven RAID solution, it has no onboard cache, and only RAID1/0 support (although you can flash a LSI BIOS to give it RAID10 capability IIRC).

Crossflashing to LSI cards is a sport in certain circles but this product has no direct LSI equivalent, the closest firmware I have found is 3080XTB0.FW (LSI 3080X, IT mode, revision B0 chip). The X stands for "PCI-X", as the 5/iR although being a PCIe card is really a PCI-X chip with a PCIe-to-PCI-X bridge chip onboard. Eek! Well after figuring this out the LSI firmware still cannot be flashed as it is too large for the SAS/5iR flash memory. Grumble, grumble.

All is not lost however. You can turn this Dell SAS 5/iR card into a Dell SAS 5/i, which is the exact same card, but without RAID functions (basically the "IT mode", Initiator Target, firmware for the product). Then it functions as a normal SAS HBA, still with a 2.2TB drive size limitation unfortunately due to the 32-bit Fusion-MPT architecture but if you want more SAS/SATA300 ports on the very cheap, go ahead!

Download this package and open it with your ZIP software of choice (do not try to run it, it won't work). In the folder "payload" you will find the only two interesting files, dllsasir.rom and SAS5II.FW which you will have to flash with:

sasflash -o -f SAS5II.FW -b dllsasir.rom

The utility will likely complain that the IDs are wrong, ignore this and answer yes. The flash will now run. After reboot you have a SAS 5/i.

Obtaining the sasflash utility is somewhat beyond the scope of this guide. There are lots of versions, both for Windows and DOS. Inside this firmware package for a different product are versions for Windows and DOS but Broadcom keep changing these URLs so it might not be there tomorrow.

Do note that the card will still be identified as a SAS 5/iR by Windows, and the wrong driver will load. I chose to manually install the 5/i driver and then blacklist driver updates of this hardware ID with a group policy.

Footnote: the 5/iR is very very old and the 6/iR is superior in its class -- native PCIe (LSI1068e chip) and no electrolytic capacitors (which are often swollen on old 5/iR) and eight ports and runs cooler (the PCIe-to-PCI-X bridge on the 5/iR actually runs hotter than the LSI1068/LSI1068e) and has much newer firmware. The 6/iR, which can be easily crossflashed into a LSI3081 SAS HBA, costs very little on eBay so now you know! But still max 2.2TB.

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