Can the nuc5i7ryh support external hard drive raid array via built in m2 connection or how would I go about expanding to support external drives? I would like a larger raid volume to boot rather than using internal ssd drive.
AFAIK, your only option for connecting an external disk subsystem is via USB 3.0. There are quite a few JBOD, RAID and DAS enclosures that offer USB 3.0 connections from QNAP, TerraMaster, WD, MediaSonic, etc.
Your other option is to use a NAS and access its storage across your Gigabit network.
Hope this helps,
Well, yea, SATA is 6Gb/s versus USB 3.0's 5Gb/s, so yes, SATA can be faster. You would need to turn the SATA connector into an eSATA connector but that's not too difficult.
I am aware that there are cards that allow you to use M.2 connectors for other things, but the NUC BIOSs do not have support for handling these cards. The BIOS expects a WLAN card in the M.2 Type E connector and a SATA or NVMe SSD in the M.2 Type M connector. Anything beyond that is considered unsupported. Now, I am carefully saying just 'unsupported', there is always a chance that they might work; I just haven't tried.
Wait a minute, that's not completely true. It is something that attempts to utilize the PCIe lanes in the connector that is the unknown. I do know that there are cards that will allow you to gain access to the second SATA port that is carried in the the M.2 Type M connector. In fact, I actually have one of these cards and have used it to connect a 3.5" SATA drive outside the chassis. Here is the one that I have: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G2YXLFP. Using this, you could have two SATA ports that you can cable out of the chassis.
Due to this product being discontinued, Intel Customer Service no longer supports inquiries for it, I am glad to see that fellow community members have the knowledge and they jumped in and helped. You may also find the Discontinued Products (https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/discontinued-products.html) website helpful to address your request.
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Intel® Customer Support Technician