In my quest to upgrade Heavy to gigabit ethernet, I ran into a problem. To have the 15 drives in the box, I need to have one pata drive (the system drive) and 14 sata drives. There's two sata ports on the motherboard, so I needed to put in three four-port cards. But that uses up all three of the motherboard slots - no place to put a gigabit card. I'm currently using a USB-ethernet dongle, but that's not as fast as PCI ethernet.
I got a card that takes one sata connection as input, and gives five sata ports as output. That would have solved the problem, except that this card only works if you have multiport capability on the port you're using to expand. Have I got that? I didn't know, so I got a card and tried it. And it didn't work. Back to the drawing board.
Can I use a PCI slot doubler, to make two PCI slots out of one? Nice idea, but I don't think such a thing exists. Back to the drawing board.
Then I thought - I've used 8-port sata cards (the 3ware Escalade). I have one in one of the big fast new servers, and I have another one in my spares box. Unfortunately, that other one doesn't work, I've tried it in a few machines. Back to the drawing board.
Or rather, back to Ebay. Maybe I can buy another Escalade? And it turns out that you can get a 12 port Escalade for about £30. So I've ordered one. I should see it in a week or two.