I've been looking around now for a while for motherboards that have a massive number of onboard SATA ports, as operating systems like FreeNAS, NAS4Free, and other *nix OSes that have ZFS file support love to use onboard SATA ports as the ZFS file system prefers direct access to the drives it uses, and using a RAID card interferes with the ability to fully read all of the hard drive's SMART data which can be detrimental to your RAID-Z or RAID-Z2 array.
Has anybody out there spotted any motherboards that have more than eight SATA III ports built into it? I've been wondering for a while if there are any boards out there that could be used to build a large NAS without having to also purchase an 8+ port HBA SATA III card such as a cross-flashed IBM M1015 that go for $100 or so on eBay, or other LSI based host bus adapters or cards that are in IR mode that let you completely bypass the RAID options and use the card as just a regular SATA III card. I'm interested to see if anybody out there has built a system that has a large number of hard drives and didn't require an expensive RAID card to build their NAS. My most recent build I ended up going with a hardware RAID SATA II solution because the card itself was dirt cheap on eBay ($15) but mechanical hard drives these days still never read or write faster than 200 MB/sec or so, which means that in my opinion SATA II controllers are going to be almost as efficient with reads and writes as a SATA III HBA would be.
I know that the SATA III HBAs like the ones from Avago, Adaptec, LSI, Promise, and a few other companies have cards out now that have much faster CPUs onboard as well as larger/faster caches which would definitely help improve read and write speeds, but the right motherboard with the most SATA ports would negate the need to even bother having to seek out a SATA III controller such as these and save quite a bit of money.
Anybody know of any non-server type motherboards that have a huge amount of onboard SATA ports that would be beneficial for NAS setups? Any input is appreciated.