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Old August 6th, 2005, 12:56 PM   #1
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Computer Setup Question

I have a few questions:

1) I want to load my comp with 6 internal SATA drives. My motherboard accomodates two built-in SATA conections right on the motherboard itself for the first two SATA drives (a 40 gig system drive and 200 gig data drive) and for the other four data drives (they will be 4, 250 gig SATA data drives) I have to add two PCA SATA add on cards. Here's the question: Will the 4 additional SATA drives show up on my BIOS configuration for manual setup or will they just automatically configure?

2) As part of my boot sequence in my BIOS, can I use an external DVD burner connected via USB cable? I ask this because I'd rather use the internal space for hard drives and use the USB connection for an external DVD burner.

Thanks!
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Old August 6th, 2005, 06:11 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh DiMauro
I have a few questions:

...

2) As part of my boot sequence in my BIOS, can I use an external DVD burner connected via USB cable? I ask this because I'd rather use the internal space for hard drives and use the USB connection for an external DVD burner.

Thanks!
Why would you want to include a DVD burner as a boot device? The boot device is where the operating system files required for system startup are located and it would be very weird to put them on DVD.
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Old August 6th, 2005, 10:05 PM   #3
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Wouldn't I want to include the DVD burner as a boot device if, for some reason, I have to re-install my operating system for a fresh start?
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Old August 7th, 2005, 11:26 AM   #4
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1) First question - why don't you get a 4 port controller instead of two 2-port controllers?

Third party controllers have their own BIOS for configuration. After they are configured on that BIOS, you have to tell the motherboard's BIOS where to put them in the boot order, etc. It can get messy having several different hard drive controllers in the computer, but it does work.

2) Yes, you can use an external USB optical drive to boot off of, but why not just connect an internal optical drive to the IDE ports? You aren't going to be using them with all of these SATA drives.

And, yes, you do always want to have an optical drive in the line as a boot device before the boot hard drive. You'll undoubtedly need to boot off of CD's at some point for system restoration or diagnostics. Every computer should be set up that way.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 09:13 AM   #5
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<<2) Yes, you can use an external USB optical drive to boot off of, but why not just connect an internal optical drive to the IDE ports? You aren't going to be using them with all of these SATA drives. >>


Edward:

Actually, I am going to use all six of my internal bays with 6 SATA drives. I am installing two PCI SATA add-in cards to connect four additional 250 gig SATA hard drives. Can I configure an external DVD drive via USB port into my boot sequence? Why do you advise against it? I come up with these ideas but look forward to others to help me prevent disaster!

Thanks
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Old August 8th, 2005, 09:42 AM   #6
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I guess it's all depends on size of your case. While a full tower can accomodate 6HDD + DVD, mids won't. I would add HDD fans and addtional case fans if you have any spots for them. 6 drives will heat up your office, so you won't need furnice for most time of the year :)
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Old August 8th, 2005, 09:52 AM   #7
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You definitely don't have the right case if you are using all of your bays up and can't fit an optical drive. A 6 hard drive configuration is not that uncommon for us. A boot drive, a 4-drive RAID 5 array, and a separate export drive is pretty standard for our Avid Xpress Studio configs. But you must get an appropriate chassis. We've been using Lian Li PC-61 for years, which has room for all of those drive, plus plenty of optical drives - also can consider Lian Li V2000b - or Lian Li V1000b - These case are made to hold lots of drives. We now switched over to Supermicro chasses with hot-swappable bays built into them. All of these enclosures are made to hold lots of drives and that's what you need.

But, regardless of all of that, YES you can use a USB external drive to boot from and its no problem.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 10:18 AM   #8
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Ed:

Here's what I have:

Dell 670 Precision Workstation, Windows XP 64 Bit O/S.

I have two main drive bay compartments: The first bay can accommodate three internal hard drives perfectly and the second one can accommodate three larger drives (the larger drives must be the DVD and CD players) for a total of six internal drives. You see, in order for me to fit my three internal hard drives in the bigger bay area, I have to buy a hard drive mounting kits to fit the smaller drives in the bigger bay. I hope I am not confusing anybody here.

Here is how I want my setup to be:

(1) 40 gig system drive
(5) 250 gig data drives
(1) External DVD Burner connected via USB cable

So you say this can be accomplished with no forseeable problems? Keep in mind that since my case will be filled with nothing but SATA drives, the IDE connections on my motherboard will not be used at all.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 02:44 PM   #9
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OK.. well physically you obviously can fit it all. BUT, it's going to be ungodly hot. That chassis is not made for that. (I'll try not to make any blatant anti-dell comments).

I think that configuration would result in overheating/underclocking/shutting-down of the processor and/or failure of the hard drives. Honestly.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 02:55 PM   #10
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Just my luck! Maybe I'll point a strong fan into the side cooling vents?
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Old August 8th, 2005, 02:58 PM   #11
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Maybe you can just put it in the refrigerator.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 03:28 PM   #12
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HA! Good one! Although, I used to have a Gateway I switched to Dell since I needed a new machine and the price was right. I think the processors are liquid cooled because I saw tubes snaking out from around the dual CPU area. Besides, dontcha think Dell engineered their case to handle 6 drives if they made the room? I certainly hope so. I just bought these drives and I'd hate to have to send them back!

JEEZ Ed! You're killing me here! I had such a nice "pie-in-the-sky" feeling about popping in all those nifty SATAs!
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Old August 8th, 2005, 03:41 PM   #13
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How about this:

Go to the dell website, and look at the configurator for your computer. See what's the maximum # of hard drives you can configure in there. My guess is that it's 3 or 4. That's how many hard drives the computer is designed for.

You may even be able to sneak another drive or two over that, but the system is not designed for that. There's a chance that won't fly.

2- Have you looked into 500GB drives?
EXAMPLE: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822147008

3- In my experience, my case has no airflow over the drives. With two drives stacked on top of each other, the top overheated and would fail when it was hot.
So if you have a situation where the cooling on your hard drive is really bad (i.e. the 5.25" bays may not be that great for cooling if there's no airflow there) then you should really watch out.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 05:38 PM   #14
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I'm doing you a favor. Really. Hard drive failure is messy. That's why we have all of our nifty raid systems for protection.

Was the price really right for that Dell system? This is where I can point a little bit at the cookie-cutter, off-the-shelf type of systems they build. That's why I really don't ever argue with people when they start throwing Delll pricing with me. You get what you pay for.

Now, if I can try and be constructive about your problem I might have some suggestions...

First, if you already have these drives and the system and you are desperate, put it together and leave the side panel off. That might be enough to keep it cool for the time being, if 'time' is what you might need to make it work.

Second, there are products on the market that are sort of little enclosures that you can mount your hard drives in, which in turn mount in 5.25" bays. Why don't you pick up a few of those instead of the adapter kits. Those enclosures have all kinds of fans and things to keep the drive cool.... Problem at that point will start to become NOISE.

Third, you can hack some fans in your side panel to put some air on the drives. This obviously will only work if you are mechanicly inclined. A metal keyhole saw does the job beautifully.

Another consideration... does this quality Dell power supply have the juice to support all of these hard drives and fans? Hmmm... I don't think you can throw a wattage number at me either to support a positive answer. I can buy 600 watt power supplies for $30 and $300. There's a difference.

Another option for you... throw those drives in an external Firewire enclosure. Then at least you can use them and stop trying to make this Dell do what it won't do.
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Old August 9th, 2005, 08:05 AM   #15
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My Fellow Comrades:

All very good points. You've given me much food for thought. My case has large vents on top, front and back. Inside now are four drives plus a DVD burner and after over an hour's use, I feel no heat pouring out of any of the vents. Actually, the vents feel surprisingly cool! Is that a good judge of interior heat buildup? I don't know. I may be oversimplifying it.

My best bet is to call a Dell tech and ask. Of course, I must be wary of his answer since he is a Dell tech and might tell me anything I want to hear ("Ohhh sure, champ! You can load up that little baby with all the drives you want! Won't hurt a thing! You can't damage this little baby!")

I will make the call and let you guys know. Thanks for taking the time to deal with a computer moron like me.

Hugh
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