Upgrade harddrive suggestions for Optiplex GX270

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Guest, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hi all,

    I've been browsing all afternoon trying to find out if I can fit a new,
    bigger hard drive in tandem inside the box of our lay flat type GX270.
    Dell's US site comes up with an option for a bigger drive, but I can't see
    if the US included these lay flat type desktops we have in the UK. UK Dell
    site just comes up with peripherals for our model.

    Wiki seems to indicate there may only be connections for one drive in these
    models.

    As our existing drive is only 40gig and has a mere 2gig left, I would
    ideally like to just put in a say 500gig drive beside the existing one and
    move all the personal files over, without having to interfere with the OS or
    any formatting.

    Can this be done on our model?
    If so, what should I be buying/what is likely to be compatible.

    Much appreciate any light readers can throw on this for me!

    Cheers,

    S
     
    Guest, Apr 24, 2008
    #1
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  2. It looks like you've got the small form factor SFF or what used to be called
    a "pizza box". You can't fit two hard drives internally, in fact according
    to the spec sheet only the mini tower has two internal HD bays.

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/opgx270/en/ug/specs.htm

    Assuming your HD is connected via the 7 pin serial ATA connector -

    as shown on here -

    http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=serial+ATA+cable&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2

    rather than an EIDE ribbon

    http://images.google.com/images?gbv=2&hl=en&q=EIDE+ribbon&btnG=Search+Images


    Your problem there is that with only a single serial ATA connector on the SFF
    Motherboard it won't be possible to simply swap the contents of the HD onto
    another larger SATA disk using a disk imaging program as would be the usual
    suggestion. In which case you could either temporarily install a card with
    a second SATA connector or swap the contents onto an EIDE drive connected
    to one of the two EIDE slots on the motherboard. There may however be
    performance issues of EIDE as against SATA.


    If your present HD is EIDE ( the wide ribbons) -

    then all you need do is disconnect whatever is presently hooked up to
    the 2nd EIDE connector, presumably an optical drive CD DVD etc, hook up
    the new drive onto that having first remembered to set the jumper if
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    necessary and copy the contents old drive onto the new drive using a disk
    imaging progamme. Most people have their own favourites - mine
    happens to be Ghost 2003.

    You will need to do this with the lid removed and the new drive sitting temporarily
    on top of the chassis. Or on the desk depending on the length of the ribbon. As with
    pizza boxes there's no real alternative. Then with the copy made and the jumper reset
    if necessary the new drive can be swapped for the old drive which might then be
    kept in a drawer and used for backing up your most important files. Using a similar
    sort of procedure as above.

    None of this is cutting edge or particularly difficult.

    I stand to be corrected but any make of standard 3 1/2 hard disk can be used
    in any PC. The only constraints are the capacity of the disk in relation to the
    Operating system - earlier systems won't recognise large capacity disks, and the
    connectors which need to match those on the motherboard. Or any card which may
    be fitted.

    The first thing to establish probably is whether the present disk is EIDE -
    (wide ribbon)or SATA.



    michael adams

    ....
     
    michael adams, Apr 25, 2008
    #2
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  3. Guest

    Ben Myers Guest

    I have worked on a reasonable number of Optiplex SFF GX270s, and I have yet to
    see one with a factory-installed SATA drive. The usual power supply in the SFF
    GX270 does not have an SATA power connector. However, I have installed SATA
    drives in the SFF GX270 chassis using an inexpensive small adapter that makes
    the old 4-pin 12v standard connector into an SATA power connector. The SFF
    chassis is a little cramped and the adapter requires careful fitting of all the
    wires and cables inside.

    If, late in the life of the GX270, Dell began using the same power supply in the
    SFF GX270 found in the SFF GX280, then the drive would be SATA. But this is
    pretty unlikely... Ben Myers
     
    Ben Myers, Apr 25, 2008
    #3
  4. added to previous post: Er, I should perhaps have added "plus any constraints
    imposed by the system BIOS " as BIOS's reflect the limits of the then current
    technology as much as do operating systems.

    It looks like you've got the small form factor SFF or what used to be called
    a "pizza box". You can't fit two hard drives internally, in fact according
    to the spec sheet only the mini tower has two internal HD bays.

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/opgx270/en/ug/specs.htm

    Assuming your HD is connected via the 7 pin serial ATA connector -

    as shown on here -

    http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=serial+ATA+cable&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2

    rather than an EIDE ribbon

    http://images.google.com/images?gbv=2&hl=en&q=EIDE+ribbon&btnG=Search+Images


    Your problem there is that with only a single serial ATA connector on the SFF
    Motherboard it won't be possible to simply swap the contents of the HD onto
    another larger SATA disk using a disk imaging program as would be the usual
    suggestion. In which case you could either temporarily install a card with
    a second SATA connector or swap the contents onto an EIDE drive connected
    to one of the two EIDE slots on the motherboard. There may however be
    performance issues of EIDE as against SATA.


    If your present HD is EIDE ( the wide ribbons) -

    then all you need do is disconnect whatever is presently hooked up to
    the 2nd EIDE connector, presumably an optical drive CD DVD etc, hook up
    the new drive onto that having first remembered to set the jumper if
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    necessary and copy the contents old drive onto the new drive using a disk
    imaging progamme. Most people have their own favourites - mine
    happens to be Ghost 2003.

    You will need to do this with the lid removed and the new drive sitting temporarily
    on top of the chassis. Or on the desk depending on the length of the ribbon. As with
    pizza boxes there's no real alternative. Then with the copy made and the jumper reset
    if necessary the new drive can be swapped for the old drive which might then be
    kept in a drawer and used for backing up your most important files. Using a similar
    sort of procedure as above.

    None of this is cutting edge or particularly difficult.

    I stand to be corrected but any make of standard 3 1/2 hard disk can be used
    in any PC. The only constraints are the capacity of the disk in relation to the
    Operating system - earlier systems won't recognise large capacity disks, and the
    connectors which need to match those on the motherboard. Or any card which may
    be fitted.

    Er, I should perhaps have added "plus any constraints imposed by the system
    BIOS " as BIOS's reflect the limits of the then current technology as much
    as do operating systems.

    The first thing to establish probably is whether the present disk is EIDE -
    (wide ribbon)or SATA.



    michael adams

    ....
     
    michael adams, Apr 25, 2008
    #4
  5. Guest

    Ben Myers Guest

    The GX270 SFF BIOS is the same BIOS used in the other GX270s, so it does not
    present any serious obstacle to running with 2 or even 3(!) hard drives. Only
    one drive can be SATA because there is only one SATA connector on the
    motherboard. Attaching 2 or more drives would make me worry more about
    exceeding the limits of the smallish GX270 power supply. If the OP wants to
    hook up two drives, he would do well to run the system with the chassis open
    (Doh! It would have to be!) and with a full-sized ATX12v power supply in use.
    Of course, all these extra parts would spill out onto a table or desk, but this
    would only be temporary... Ben Myers
     
    Ben Myers, Apr 25, 2008
    #5
  6. I was speaking purely hypothetically - so as to correct my previous
    rather categorical assertion. As the BIOs in older machines clearly wouldn't
    support more modern drives. And neither could it be flashed to do so.

    If he's disconnected a CD/DVD in order to hook up the second HD this shouldn't
    impose that much of an additional power drain IMO. The 145W power supply in
    older SFF's would happily support 2 HD's for the hour or so it took to image
    the drives. If not for days or weeks even, for all I know. In any case, as has
    already been noted on here Dell PSU's are typically well over-specced - even
    more so on optiplexes I'd imagine.

    michael adams
     
    michael adams, Apr 25, 2008
    #6
  7. Guest

    Ben Myers Guest

    Well, with its SATA support, the GX270 BIOS does not impose serious limits on
    the capacities of hard drives. It is, after all, pretty modern.

    One of the GX270 SFF systems here has a power supply rated at 160w, very likely
    sufficient for handling two drives with the CD/DVD detached... Ben Myers
     
    Ben Myers, Apr 25, 2008
    #7
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Thanks for all the tips and discussion everyone.
    Looks like you have at the very least prevented me from buying a drive and
    trying to cram it in where it won't fit.

    I'm not very up on the jargon, but I think I now see the safe way forward.
    Much of the data and progs on the existing drive is not mine, so I want to
    minimise the risks of losses through my mistakes when doing the swap. So it
    seems Timothy's suggestion, of transferring everything to an external drive
    first, and then replacing the internal drive entirely, is probably the
    safest way for me to proceed.

    Are there any recommended external drives/ones to avoid?

    This is all very helpful feedback.

    Thanks,
    S
     
    Guest, Apr 29, 2008
    #8
  9. Guest

    Ben Myers Guest

    Avoid Maxtor external drives... Ben Myers
     
    Ben Myers, Apr 29, 2008
    #9
  10. Guest

    raluxs Guest

    Just to confirm what most people have said already, optiplex in small
    form factor just have room for one hard drive, and usually your power
    supply only has the connector for the type of disk already installed,
    usually IDE type. And about the advice of cloning your disk to an
    external disk case. Go ahead, i do this at work very often, I use an
    inexpensive IDE to USB cable , but you might want to to buy the whole
    external case, these are usually inexpensive too.

    Once you have your new disk plugged in by usb use a disk cloning
    utility (may I recommend Trueimage by acronis, you can download it and
    use it for free for 15 days or so). Once the disk is cloned turn off
    the pc and swap the disks, install the new one in the pc and keep the
    old one in the external case , so you can use for backups, transport
    files, whatever.

    Good luck

    R.S.
     
    raluxs, Apr 30, 2008
    #10
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Thanks: Any particular reason?

    S


     
    Guest, Apr 30, 2008
    #11
  12. Guest

    Ben Myers Guest

    Would a high failure rate be a good reason? Actually, I just don't like the
    sound of the name, or the fact that a trailing edge brand name was bought up by
    Seagate, the trailing edge name preserved along with the trailing edge hardware
    designs produced in a trailing edge factory... Ben Myers
     
    Ben Myers, Apr 30, 2008
    #12
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