Four SATA Hard Drives in a Dell 8400

Discussion in 'Dell' started by whyme, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. whyme

    whyme Guest

    Currently, I have two SATA WD 200GB hard drives (RAID 1 - for fault
    tolerance) in my 8400. Is there any reason I could not add two more
    SATA hard drives to this machine (two more 200GB)? I would like the
    second RAIDSET for more space. Will the stock power supply be enough?
    Should I add an extra fan? Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

    whyme, Feb 9, 2005
    1. Advertisements

  2. whyme

    S.Lewis Guest

    The power supply shouldn't be a concern. My concern would be in getting the
    two drives into either the external 3.5" bays (if no floppy is present) or
    one also in an empty 5.25" bay.

    The (2) secondary SATA connectors are meant for future SATA optical drives.

    S.Lewis, Feb 9, 2005
    1. Advertisements

  3. whyme

    Sparky Guest

    Is there a hierarchy to the SATA connections, e.g., are the even ones
    considered "primary" and the odd ones "secondary"? IOW, which SATA
    connector should a 2nd SATA HDD be plugged into?

    This is not a hypothetical query - I got a 250GB Maxtor SATA HDD for my
    8400 and the BIOS doesn't see it regardless of how I connect it. Both
    power connectors & both SATA cables are good, but the HDD is a no go. Is
    it time to declare it DOA & get an RMA from Maxtor?

    Sparky, Mar 7, 2005
  4. whyme

    S.Lewis Guest


    My experience with the 8400 is fairly limited compared to some other
    Dimensions. It took me a while to get over my learned experiences with IDE
    drives to understand the SATA board connectors.

    What I can say is that all of the 8400's I've worked on with dual HDDs is
    that the primary is *always* connected to the "0" mb connector (which is
    usually a different color for the end-user), and the second drives are
    *always* connected to the SATA "2" mb connector.

    As all 4 connectors are clustered together closely on the system board, I
    assumed SATA connects "1" and "3" are reserved for future SATA opticals:

    Since the HDD's are connected from the factory in a "0" primary and "2"
    secondary/slave order, then I further assumed (dangerous) that any opticals
    would be connected as SATA "1" optical primary, and SATA "3" optical

    Until I see or read of another system (Dell or otherwise) that is connected
    differently, that is what I'm stuck with at the moment.

    Don't know if that helps or not.

    S.Lewis, Mar 8, 2005
  5. whyme

    WSZsr Guest

    I added a second SATA to my 8400 and connected it to SATA 1. Works fine.
    WSZsr, Mar 8, 2005
  6. whyme

    S.Lewis Guest

    So, in theory, the OP may have a bad drive or cable. Perhaps he should
    connect the new drive using the data (blue) and power connector currently
    connected to his original drive.

    Then boot the system into BIOS and see if the new drive if seen. If not,
    the new drive is a dud. If so, he either has a bad SATA cable, power
    connector, or mb controller.


    S.Lewis, Mar 8, 2005
  7. whyme

    WSZsr Guest

    Sounds like a good plan Stew.

    WSZsr, Mar 8, 2005
  8. whyme

    Sparky Guest

    Amen to that - same here, feels like the first day of school again in
    some ways.
    Sounds like a pretty good argument for going with 0 & 2.

    Thanks for the feedback & the link. Some descriptions I have seen say
    the SATA connections are all direct connections to the motherboard & are
    independent of one another, i.e., no master/slave relationship anymore
    (also no jumpers!). As fate would have it, I connected my SATA HDDs to
    SATA connectors 0 & 2. The Maxtor HDD is in fact dead - I'm using a
    Hitachi 250GB HDD along with the original 80GB WD HDD.

    I installed the Hitachi HDD as a stand alone drive at first and
    installed WinXP from scratch. This usually results in a more stable
    system, but I've had problems (including some Win stops I've never seen
    before, e.g., Stop 50 and Stop EA, which is "thread stuck in device
    driver", the video driver). I downloaded drivers from ATI and the system
    has been noticeably more stable.

    to be continued ...
    Sparky, Mar 9, 2005
  9. whyme

    Sparky Guest

    Thanks, evidence that the connectors are indeed idependent.
    Sparky, Mar 9, 2005
  10. whyme

    Sparky Guest

    Tried all that and the HDD was the bad link. The new HDD was never seen
    by the BIOS no matter how I configured it. Need to get an RMA from the
    Maxtor site now.
    Sparky, Mar 9, 2005
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.