Three hard drives in a Dell E520

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Tracy, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. Tracy

    Tracy Guest

    I currently have a Dell E520 with two 320 GB drives inside. I'm
    thinking about getting another internal drive and wanted to know if it
    was possible to add one more to the set up. If it's possible, besides
    the drive will I need anything else for the install?
    Tracy, Feb 13, 2008
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  2. Tracy

    S.Lewis Guest

    Instructions for the drive install are here:

    You will need a right-angle SATA cable like the one found here (not sure if
    18" is long enough, but maybe someone here will know. You could always
    measure the length of the current cable and go from there) :

    You'll want to enable/turn on/set to "auto" the 2nd drive in BIOS once the
    drive is installed. Match the connector number you use on the motherboard to
    the drive number in BIOS.

    S.Lewis, Feb 13, 2008
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  3. Tracy

    S.Lewis Guest

    Actually, sorry. I just noted you're asking about adding a THIRD drive, not
    merely a second drive. In that case you'll probably wish to follow the
    instructions for a floppy drive install using the external 3.5" bay:

    A standard SATA cable should work, and hopefully you will have an extra SATA
    power connector from your power supply (verify first).

    S.Lewis, Feb 13, 2008
  4. Tracy

    Tracy Guest

    A few more questions...

    (1) Ok, I'll have to open my case and check out the cable arrangement.
    So on the motherboard, I just need to check to see that I have one
    more slot for a SATA cable, correct? (I think three are used right now
    - two drives + DVD drive). Is the cable all I need to purchase to hook
    up the third drive?

    (2) Right now I only have one bay being used for a DVD-RW drive. So if
    I understand correctly, I should just be able to slide the new hard
    drive into one of the unused 3.5 bays already in the system correct? I
    just want to be sure that I won't need additional hardware or a
    bracket other than the SATA cable mentioned above.

    (3) If all of this is good... here is what I'd like to do if possible.
    Since I have two 320 GB drives already in the system can I change
    these to a data protected RAID (so that they both have the same
    information on them) and then use the new drive as extended storage
    without data protection? Is this doable? Right now my first 320 GB is
    in multiple partitions (C,D,E,F), if I change the second drive to
    mirror it will it work ok with the partitions in place on the physical
    drive. This will be the first time I've done a RAID setup. I like the
    idea of having a mirror of my main drive created automatically, hence,
    the thinking behind these changes.

    I've been reading this as a guide, but if you have other suggestions,
    please post them here...
    Tracy, Feb 19, 2008
  5. Tracy

    S.Lewis Guest

    1) Yes, you will have an additional SATA controller/connector on the board
    and you should note the number on it (on the system board) so that you can
    be sure it's enabled in BIOS after the drive install. You should only have
    to purchase the SATA data cable. Your current power supply will have at
    least (1) extra SATA power connector already in place. ***NOTE: the system
    documents on your machine say that SATA controllers 2 and 3 are either not
    available or cannot be used. This means you'll be utilizing either SATA
    connector 4 or 5 (whichever is open) on the motherboard.

    2) In theory, you'll want to install (or I would, anyway) the new HDD in the
    (empty) floppy or memory card reader drive bay (3.5" external bay) rather
    than into the single empty optical drive bay (5.25") below your DVDRW. It
    appears as though the screws needed to mount the HDD in the floppy bay are
    provided either inside the back of the bezel (see "installing a floppy
    drive" from the link I posted earlier.) You shouldn't need any additional
    hardware or brackets, all the (extra) screws are already provided in the

    3) Yes. I think. ;-) I've not attempted to create a RAID1 array on any
    machine using an existing populated boot drive. First of all, you'd want to
    CYA and be absolutely sure that everything you love is backed up and
    accessible EXTERNALLY to the system. My guess is that you're going to have
    to download the "Intel Matrix Storage Manager" application (and maybe the
    driver as well):
    to create said RAID array.
    The proper sequence for doing this is key, and I don't know exactly what it
    is. But here's how I'd attempt it (take it for what it's worth):

    1) Back up all data. (Leave the 3rd drive uninstalled or at least
    disconnected until later).

    2) Download/Install the Intel Matrix Storage Driver.

    3) Download/Install the Intel Matrix Storage Manager.

    4) Reboot into BIOS/System Setup. .
    You'll have to toy with the settings show in the link by setting the "SATA
    operation" to either "RAID On" or "RAID auto-detect". I would try "RAID On"
    initially. Exit BIOS saving changes.

    5) You should then (hopefully) be faced with a (new) screen after the Dell
    splash screen, which will be your (Intel) RAID BIOS. You'll want to enter
    the RAID BIOS and "create RAID array", and obviously a RAID1 option.

    I'm hoping some other poster(s) here have either this model or a Dimension
    91XX/92XX or XPS 410 and might toss in more specific information on
    attempting the RAID setup you want. I know of no reason it can't be done -
    but reserve the right to stand corrected.

    I hope this helps even a little.


    S.Lewis, Feb 19, 2008
  6. Tracy

    Tracy Guest

    Thanks for the help Stew. I'll let you know how it goes. I was going
    to buy the new internal drive from Can you recommend a good
    SATA-II cable from the web site?
    Tracy, Feb 21, 2008
  7. Tracy

    S.Lewis Guest

    Tracy -

    Honestly, I don't think it's that complicated. Just locate a 36" SATA cable
    and you'll be fine. Since the drive is NOT going into one of the two HDD
    bays, it shouldn't require a right-angle cable.

    And as far as goes, I love their sale prices - but I've found their
    shipping to be really really really slow for me here in Tennessee.

    FWIW, I prefer: or , both are outstanding, credible,
    and extremely fast with aggressive pricing.

    S.Lewis, Feb 21, 2008
  8. Tracy


    Apr 9, 2009
    Likes Received:
    mix sata and raid volume on e520

    re: mixing sata and raid volume on e520

    i have the following connected on my e520

    sata0 hdd 80gb
    sata1 dvd drive
    sata4 hdd 320gb
    sata5 hdd 320gb

    i enable raid=on in bios, and ctrl-i to build a raid volume using the 2 320gb hdd on sata4

    and sata5. leaving the sata0 untouched.

    sata0 (80gb) was previously installed with windows xp. i would like to keep this windows xp

    installation on the 80gb hdd and store my data on the raid volume of sata4+sata5. however,

    sata0 cannot seem to boot anymore.

    e520 cannot support combination of raid volume + sata disk (the 80gb)?
    dsim, Apr 9, 2009
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