From: Brian V on
I don't mean to over reply.

There are two built in SATA ports that the power supply connects to the SATA
drives. But there are 4 available ports on the motherboard.

philo: Is that what you meant? This is why I need the SATA expansion. I can
actually fit 4 drives inside the unit. There are only two SATA connections
form the power supply though.
From: Paul on
Answers inline.

Brian V wrote:
> 9Tb is unnecessary right now. Later on, probably. I just was asking to get an
> idea.
> I asked about FAT32 and the NTFS files in another post. It's ironic that
> this is what I am looking for to know and that it is posted here. Does
> installing hard-drives have to do with paritioning? I read off microsofts
> site that I can even parition a drive myself. But do not want to if
> un-needed. I may even bring my tower into the store so they do it. Do drives
> ever come paritioned? I assume not and that in this year/era it is
> unnecessary.

You install a hard drive, to increase the storage space in the computer.

You partition a hard drive, according to whatever scheme you want to use
for organizing the information on it. To give an example, one of my drives
has FAT32, NTFS, and an EXT2 partition. The EXT2 is used to boot a Linux
OS. The FAT32 and NTFS are for Windows. The NTFS is reserved for storing large
files, such as that movie I recorded with a WinTV card. The FAT32 is used
for trivial stuff, like my Windows OS. There is still a danger, that the
4GB limit of FAT32 could cause me some grief in daily usage. At least one
tool I use (VirtualPC) is clever enough to use multiple files to get
around the 4GB limit.

> On the specs for my computer (from ACERs web-site) it says: Storage: Up to
> 400GB Hard Disk Drive SATA (selected models). But in that same section, it
> talks about (selected models) containing floppy disk drives or a 9 in 1 card
> reader, etc. So I didn't want to think 400Gb is all the computer could handle.

SATA or Serial ATA, is based on the preceding ATA standards. It already supports
48 bit LBA, so should be able to handle large drives.

You should be able to plug in a 2TB drive and have it work.

Before doing so, you would make sure that WinXP is updated to at least
Service Pack 1. SP1 is what provided proper support for SATA (on the Southbridge)
and also for large disks. You want your WinXP patched to at least that level, to avoid
potential corruption issues. *Note* - When using large disks, if you're using
more than one OS (i.e. booting Win2K and WinXP), you want to make sure that
both OSes can handle large disks. If an OS cannot handle large disks properly,
there is a risk of corrupting the file system. On my current computer, I
run Win2K SP4 and WinXP SP3, as dual boot, and both of those patch levels
are sufficient to handle a 2TB disk without problems. Back when I was running
Win2K SP2, if I had a large disk connected, it could have corrupted it if I
attempted access of the large disk. (I avoided that problem, for a period of
months, by not defining any partitions above the 137GB mark.) So make sure
you're patched along far enough, to avoid a problem like that. Since Acer says
you could have a 400GB disk, that implies the version of WinXP shipped with
the machine, must have been at least SP1.

If you weren't patched to at least that level, this is how you avoid problems.
If all in use partitions are below 137GB, they won't be harmed. I ran this
way with WinXP SP2 and IDE disks for a while and nothing bad happened.
If I'd defined a partition further up, it would have been a problem. Now
that Win2K is patched to SP4, I'm able to use more of the space.

<----------- 137GB --------> <-------------- ~1300GB --------------->
| MBR | NTFS | Empty |

> I don't think I need 10,000W yet. Yes, I have run out of plug-ins and bought
> another extension cord. But I do unplug my external drive when not in use.
> I'm using a SATA drive. I think PATA is older, I don't need that. There is
> one more SATA connector from the power supply.

You need a 7 contact SATA data connector on the motherboard. You need a 15 contact
SATA power connector on the power supply. Plug in both cables to the drive.
Make sure the drive is secured inside the computer, using screws, the sliders,
and make sure the clips on the sliders are clicked into place. That helps avoid
accidents if you're moving the computer around in your room. Some computers have
screw-less tooling for drives, where the slides or retention mechanism just
snaps into place.

The original SATA connectors were not very secure, and could fall off a hard drive.
Later generations of cabling and connectors, have a bit better retention. If you
have problems where the drive disappears, you might suspect the connector has
fallen off. Also, be careful not to break off the connector on the hard drive.
SATA hard drives are not as robust to damage, as the PATA ones. At least,
I've heard of more people breaking the contacts on their SATA drives, than
doing something nasty to a PATA drive. (On PATA, you can bend and crush pins,
but I haven't seen a posting lately from someone who has done that.)

> I know I can get model numbers and (I assume) look at specs, but how do I
> tell what type of Watts my system needs with what is in there and what I want
> to get inside? In a different post I received a mathematical equation. If
> that is what I have to do, then I'll use it. But each product will state what
> that product needs on the product specifications, not what all the products
> need while booting up and when being used.

I have a simple rule for that, involving no math. Roughly speaking, if you
have fewer than a total of four hard drives, you can effectively ignore power.
Sure, there might be a prehistoric Emachine with 250W supply, drawing close
to that limit, where adding a single hard drive would "tip it over". But generally
speaking, in round terms, up to four hard drives, there is no math to do.
Otherwise, you'll force me to calculate it for you :-) If this is just the
second drive in your system, I would not worry. When you get to the point,
you want to add the six 1.5TB drives, come back and see me. It would take
a whole posting to address it properly.

> This situation relates to me maybe upgrading my graphics card , putting in a
> blu-ray-rom(?), a fan (?) and a tv tuner (?) etc. I don't want to blow the
> system by not having adequate power. I wouldn't be going for what is exactly
> the newest products or versions (blu-ray or large internals would be the
> newer products I'm looking at). If I wanted completely new right now, I may
> as well get a new computer (I know.).

If you want me to do a power calculation, you need to provide:

1) Picture of the power supply label. If you don't have a link to a picture to
offer me, you must copy *all* the numbers printed on the label on the side
of the power supply. They're all important.

2) Complete hardware inventory. Just telling me the model of computer isn't
enough, because more junk may have been added. The more thorough you are,
the more accurate I can be.

> Anyways...

A separate drive is great for scratch, such as temporarily storing my 132GB
recorded movie from the WinTV card.

Just remember to disable System Restore on the new drive. WinXP has an awful
habit of enabling System Restore on every drive it can find. System Restore
should only really be tracking partitions where your programs and operating
system are stored. If you "go backwards in time" with System Restore, it can
erase your most recent downloads. So you'll want to go into the System control
panel, look at the System Restore tab, and keep System Restore running for whatever
partition(s) have your installed programs or the OS. On my machine right
now, only C: has program installations and the OS, so that is the partition
where System Restore is enabled. It is a good thing I just checked my Video
drive, because I hadn't turned off System Restore for that one yet. If I
were to go backwards a week in time, my 132GB video file would have been
erased :-)

System Restore allows going back to a different point in time. System Restore
only tracks certain areas of a disk. For example, it doesn't track the
contents of My Documents, so your downloads would be safe in there, as would
your personal data files. If you had a directory like C:\downloads, the
changes there would be tracked, which could be disastrous if you need to
use a restore point.

From: Paul on
Brian V wrote:
> "From the quick look at the specs it appears your machine has some
> built-in SATA ports...though I seriously doubt it has six of them.
> Have a look guess would be that it has two ports
> and if so, you can add two harddrives.
> If that all works out OK
> you can get more harddrives and a PCI SATA controller later
> I'd also invest in a good quality 450 watt power supply
> do not get a cheapie
> more thing
> make sure the drives do not run hot
> you may need a cooling fan"
> Yes ther is one connecting to the hard-drive there now. There is one more
> SATA connector.
> I am really concidering buying a cooling fan. I asked about these in another
> post. One usually sucks air in, one blows it out. So, I thought this morning,
> I may have to drill holes into the tower (where there is nothing there) and
> rig a fan in there.
> I saw a 500W for a cheaper boxing day price. It is the stores inhouse brand.
> I'm sure it will do, but I can wait and look around to spend better. Could
> these types of supply work?
> Can you ever have too much power supply? Or does it just not get used?
> When/If I do get inside my computer: I'd like to change as much as I can
> once. This computer has some life left in it. I need to know this stuff so I
> can run my programs easier and limit IT having to come for no reason.

On my current computer case, I opened some vent space on the front of the
computer. The vent space is right in front of the drives. Since the rear
fan is an exhaust fan, it pulls air out of the case. It means fresh cool
room air, enters via the vent space. To cool a drive, all you might need, is
a way for air to enter the case, next to the drive.

If you have multiple fans, some pushing, some pulling, it can make the analysis
more complicated. It may turn out, that opening a vent wouldn't help. Maybe
in that case, a "stirring" fan mounted next to the drive, would be the best

There is no one simple answer to that question, since it involves the details
of how the cooling is done on the case. What I can tell you though, is if
a hard drive is well enough insulated (isn't really in any air stream),
the temperature will rise on the drive.

You can check the temperature of your hard drive, by using HDTune. It
accesses the drive temperature via SMART. If the drive supports SMART,
and the drive actually has a temperature sensor inside (some don't), then
you can read out the temperature. Right now, my two drives read 22C and 23C
or virtually room temperature. And that is because they're getting cold fresh
air. I've heard of people having their drive sit at 50C. And those still worked.

One reason high drive temperature is not recommended, is because it can
volatilize the fluid in the FDB motor, shortening its potential life.
If the fluid evaporates in the bearing, the bearing is no longer
frictionless. Drive death follows soon after. The research is one
thing, while cheap FDB motors will have their own story to tell.

From: philo on
Brian V wrote:
> I don't mean to over reply.
> There are two built in SATA ports that the power supply connects to the SATA
> drives. But there are 4 available ports on the motherboard.
> philo: Is that what you meant? This is why I need the SATA expansion. I can
> actually fit 4 drives inside the unit. There are only two SATA connections
> form the power supply though.

If the mobo has four SATA ports
then indeed you can put in as many as 4 SATA drives

Though you can still use your present power supply if you get adapters
for it...
You will probably want to get a whole new supply just to be on the safe

From: Brian V on
Thank you again.

From what I'v been reading , learning and being told by people in this post
and in other posts: I think I will be fine.

I also am comming to the conclusion that my computer is designed to handle
what I want to do with it. Eg: I'v looked at some of the current video
editing programs, and my system can still handle these.

I may or may not upgrade to TB hard-drives (internal), but I think that
smaller ones 500gb could do. I do want back-ups of the music files, etc. The
smaller drives could be fine with the externals. But TB inside would be a bit
more secure instead of a potential drop on the floor like an external.

I looked at an app that checks the drives temp. It said 49 degrees C. The
CPUS were 49 and 50 degrees C. Is this too hot?

Does windows/microsoft have an app in the control panel? I don't know which
tool works for that.

I run XP service pack 3. Had to install in safe-mode. Works like a charm.

What adapters are needed philo? Is that just the piece that goes in the
expansion port? Or do I need to get something else for the mobo

Do larger drives suck more power? I assume the power requirements are not
the same for a 400Gb drive or a 1.5Tb drive. Where can I find it out if
needed? I havn't seen this in the specs on store web-sites.

Lastly: Just say I installed a drive that was too big for the OS or hardware
to handle. What would happen? Would it just not be recognized? Would I see
only a bit of it? Paul you talked about freezing or some errors. Would my
computer not boot up? If these problems happened, can I just unplug the drive
and figure out what I have to do?

I will figure out what I can do about cooling the inside of my computer.
Summer is comming and I am on this alot more this year.
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