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Servant of the Lord

Harddrive questions

7 posts in this topic

My computer is aging, but it's still running smoothly enough for continued use before I get a new one.

I got it in 2007, and it's a Dell Dimension E521.

 

I'm wanting to toss in a second harddrive alongside my existing one, and I have several questions:

 

1) Do they need to be from the same manufacturer, or is mixing and matching acceptable? (Seagate and Western Digital)

2) My current one is 350GB, the one I want to supplement it with is 500GB, is mixing sizes fine?

3) My motherboard only supports SATA, but the new drive is SATA 3. Is there any problems with that?

 

I've done some research into these questions already, but I'd like additional confirmation before proceeding.

 

My fourth question is, I have 4 SATA ports: SATA 0-3

 

I've read in the computer's technical documentation that SATA0 and SATA1 should be for harddrives, and SATA2 and SATA3 for CD/DVD drives.

Here's the exact quote:

Connect serial ATA hard drives to connectors labeled "SATA0" or "SATA1" on the system board.

Connect serial ATA CD or DVD drives to connectors labeled "SATA2" or "SATA3" on the system board. See System
Board Components.

 

However, ever since I bought the computer (new, from Dell, ages ago) the computer has had both the DVD drive and the one harddrive in SATA0 and SATA1, leaving both SATA2 and SATA3 ports empty.

 

So though the technical documentation says 0 and 1 are for harddrives, and 2 and 3 are for DVD drives, the actual hardware of the computer ignores that. I suppose it's possible that in the past, I might've mixed up the ports, but that would've been over a year ago, and it's worked fine ever since. Do the actual ports actually matter? Is it that the ports don't matter for the DVD drives, but SATA0 and SATA1 (on this PC) are required for the harddrives?

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1) Yep, fine.
2) Yep, fine.
3) SATA is backwards compatible - the hard drive will just run slower than it could transfer wise.

The ports don't really matter, I generally tend towards putting my bluray drive on the higher numbered ports just so the bios picks it up last, but beyond that it generally doesn't matter (unless the ports are connected to some odd RAID chipset or something which could cause issues, but in your case it probably won't matter one bit.)
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Size and manufacturer should not matter since you are not trying for a configuration like RAID, just adding an extra drive.

SATA is backwards compatible like phantom said, similar to USB,.

You could rearrange the ports if you want, but the order won't matter. They probably said that for priority reasons (like booting from an HD versus CD/DVD drive), however you can set priority in the BIOS.

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You might want to check if all your ports are the same, I recently purchased some new hardware and the first port on my motherboard is SATA3, the rest is not.

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While you're at it, you might want to check your cables. Old SATA cables can get loose pretty easily in my opinion, especially the cheap ones with no metal clip.

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While you're at it, you might want to check your cables. Old SATA cables can get loose pretty easily in my opinion, especially the cheap ones with no metal clip.

 
I have a new cable for the new drive, and a couple unopened backups - hopefully one of them will work fine.
 
 

You might want to check if all your ports are the same, I recently purchased some new hardware and the first port on my motherboard is SATA3, the rest is not.

 
How can I check that? The documentation just says, "Serial Attached ATA (SATA) drive connectors":
satae.png
 
I only see two ports in my Device Manager: (but I physically see four ports on the motherboard, and the documentation mentions four)
 
devicemanagerc.png
 
The 'Storage Controllers' listed, are they the unused ones, or the used ones, or what?
 
[Edit:] @Mussi: Aha! Thou arte correct!
 
In a different PDF manual I just downloaded, it says:

Expansion Bus:

...

SATA 1.0 and 2.0

...


Bus speed:

...

SATA: 1.5 Gbps and 3.0 Gbps

...


Drives:

Available devices: "..., Serial ATA drives (4), ..."


The manual is for the same computer (Dell Dimension E521), but seemingly a different hardware configuration than the one I bought (it mentions e-card readers and such),
so SATA0 and SATA1 are probably the 3.0 Gbps ports, and SATA2 and SATA3 are probably the 1.5 Gbps, so they say (without explaining why rolleyes.gif) to put the harddrives in the SATA0 and SATA1 ports.
 
My computer came with both the harddrive and the DVD drive in the SATA0 and SATA1 ports; probably because of the configuration I chose, they just plugged them into the first two ports (the two fastest), because nothing else was using it. I'll just move the DVD drive to the 3rd port (labeled 'SATA2'), and plug the new harddrive into SATA0 (leaving the existing harddrive in the port it is already in).
 
Thanks Mussi! This means I have higher connection speeds than I initially thought. smile.png
I feel much better plugging a SATA III harddrive into a SATA II port, rather than plugging it into a SATA I port. Edited by Servant of the Lord
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It doesn't matter. Any 500gb drive you buy won't even saturate SATA1 which is 150 MB/s.

 

No single hard drive comes close to saturating SATA2. Apparently you can narrowly break past SATA2 with some WD Blacks in Raid, but it's by a couple of mbs(and only applicable to benchmarks, not normal use).

 

SATA3 is for ssds, hdds have no real use for it now or any time in the near future.

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