Adding a second SATA HDD

By gyang ·
Hi, I currently have a Dell PC (P4 630) that has a SATA HDD as the primary drive. I am thinking of adding another SATA HDD to it for extra storage. When I opened up my PC tower, I can only see one SATA connector and some spare PATA connectors. Does this mean my second drive has to be a PATA HDD? Thanks.

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OK if there are no more SATA Data Connectors

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Adding a second SATA HDD

You will need to use the IDE Connectors and IDE Drives.

Though there can be a problem here depending on who made the M'Board Chip Set as by default most IDE Drives are considered by the hardware to be the default drives and when installed after a working SATA Drive is the Boot Drive the units no longer are able to be booted as the necessary files are not on the default Boot drive to point the system to the OS files to load.

You may be able to change this in the BIOS to keep it booting off the SATA Drive or you may need to do a repair install of the OS, This really depends on the hardware that was used and nothing else.

If this is a problem it's easier to use a USB Enclosure with an IDE or SATA Drive mounted inside it externally as this will bypass any boot issues that may be introduced by installing internal drives.


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re: OK if there are no more SATA Data Connectors

by gyang In reply to OK if there are no more S ...

Thank you for your feed back. In response to your comments, I took an old spare IDE HDD and connected it to the IDE connectors on my computer (with the jumper setting at cable select for the spare HDD). The computer is able to boot from the SATA HDD and the spare HDD is also recognized by the PC. So my 2 follow up questions are:
1) Does this confirm that IDE HDD will work as spare HDD for my PC?
2) I prefer SATA HDD's because they seemed faster and probably will have longer useful lives than IDE HDD's. I heard of ways to connect a spare SATA HDD to PC's via USB connectors. Can someone tell me more about this please?


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some google search terms for #2

by Absolutely In reply to re: OK if there are no mo ...

"hard drive"
"caddy" (no kidding)

These are manufacture for both SATA & IDE. With a couple turns of a screwdriver, these transform a regular hard drive into an external hard drive of the kind frequently advertised for backups.

There is also eSATA, but that doesn't use a USB connector, and doesn't have any sort of equivalent for IDE drives.

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OK if you can add an IDE Drive without problems

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to re: OK if there are no mo ...

You can add as many as you have space for and as Big as BIOS will support without a problem.

If you want to stick to SATA Drives there is a PCI to SATA Adapter available as a plug in card but there may be some issues between the different chip sets depending on who makes the PCI Card though you should be OK with a Promise Technology PCI to SATA Card as these tend to work with most M'Boards.

To connect a SATA Drive to a USB Port you need an external SATA Caddy and this will slow the drive down as the maximum Data Transfer Rate via USB 2 is slower than a SATA Drive or an IDE drive for that matter. You also need to look at the construction of the external Drive Caddy and if it's plastic the HDD will run hotter than in a metal Caddy which will act as a Heat Sink for the HDD. Doesn't matter which type here as all HDD's run fairly hot and then need as much cooling as possible available.

Personally I would tend to use the existing IDE ports that you have available unless you need these for something else like Optical or Tape drives as there is no possibility of Driver Conflicts arising between any Plug in Cards and the M'Board.

And fitting the HDD internally will give you the entire metal part of the case to act as a Heat Sink to keep the drives as cool as possible.


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re: OK if you can add an IDE Drive without problems

by gyang In reply to OK if you can add an IDE ...

I will go with an IDE HDD then. Thanks for your help.

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