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How many IDE drives?

Posted on 2003-03-31
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
I can't find an unambiguous answer to this question, and hope someone can point me to a definitive source.

I have a WIntel box with a D845EBG2 system board.  The system board has the customary dual IDE interface, which supports up to 4 ATA devices.  So far so good.

Is it possible to add a PCI ATA expansion card and thus achieve access to and additional 4 devices?  If so, are there deep dark secrets that need to be illuminated to achieve this nirvana?

TIA!
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Question by:esrob
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12 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:ascension1014
ID: 8243134
I'm not familiar with your particular board, but I'd imagine more than 8 drives would consume far more resources than provided for consumer machines. In fact, many servers don't generally have than many IDE slots. (They are generally add-on boxes, and/or SCSI) Why would you want that many drives? Do you only have access to many small cap drives as opposed to a few large cap ones? If you have any budget at all, I'd suggest checking your local chain computer/electronics store for deals. Compusa had a 175 GB 7200 Western Digital hdd for $99 after rebate. This was 3 weeks after offering a 120 gb Maxtor at the same price, which unfortunately I bought. THe point is upgrade, so many drives would be impractical and virtually unusable if even possible...
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by:ascension1014
ID: 8243149
Post should read " more than 4 drives"...
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by:waffleironhead
ID: 8246389
no deep dark secrets...you could :-) {limiting power and pci slots have a large amount of hds on ytour ststem...

say 2 ide on mobo
6 pci slots x 2ide's per card

so mobo 2 ide's x 2 devices=4
6 pci cards x 4 devices per card(2 ide's x 2 devices per)=24
so say 28 ide devices....

hmm thats alot of gigs...28x 100gb hd drives=2800gb's
just try to fill up that space...

limiting factor would definetily be the power supply

Operating Mode   RMS Current   Power, Typical 1
  12 VDC 5 VDC  
Spinup 2.2 A max 525 mA                17.0 W
Read/Write/Idle 350 mA 800 mA          8.0 W
Seek 900 mA 675 mA                     14.0 W
 here are power consumption rates from a western digital special edition 100 gb hd

so 17w  on spinup
8w idle
14w on seek
(these rates are fairly typical of power use)
so say high end of power use 17w x 28 drives 476 watt power use...

this doesnt tkae into acount all trhe other power consumption going on in the system sooo...

so the limiting factor would be the power supply and the available expansion slots

waffle
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by:esrob
ID: 8248265
Thanks, all, for the responses.

This is a triple-boot DOS6.22/Win98SE/Win2KPro system, with the following IDE config:
  PriMaster  40GB
    (Partition 1: FAT16 boot disk, ~2GB)
    (Partition 2: FAT32 Win98 data/software, ~38GB)
  PriSlave   140GB
    (Partition 1: NTFS Win2K OS/data/software)
  SecMaster  DVD/CDRW
  SecSlave   CD-ROM

DOS, Win98, and the Win2K boot files are all on the FAT16 partition, which is fairly crowded.  I'd like to have some more storage space available for DOS, so would like to add a PCI IDE card with a theoretical capacity of 4 additional physical drives.  I have the PCI IDE card and an 8GB HDD that would suit me fine, yielding 4 ~2GB logical drives.

However, as soon as I plug in the card, the mobo SecMaster and SecSlave devices disappear in lieu of my drive as either PriMaster or SecMaster on the IDE card.  No error messages or conflicts, just a different configuration.

Searches of various resources have never come right out and stated that it is possible to add IDE devices to supplement the 2 mobo IDEs.

I don't think power consumption is an issue.  3 * 17W = 51W for HDDs.  Figure ~60W for the mobo.  I don't have figures handy for the CD/DVD drives, but they're intermittent drains.  The nVidia GEForce4 AGP card has, I'm sure, a significant power profile, but I can't put my fingers on that figure, either.  At any rate, I don't think I'm putting a strain on a 300W power supply at this rate.

Is there somewhere that definitively states that a PCI IDE expansion card should work in this type of environment, and if so, does anyone know of troubleshooting resources I can use to untangle this?

Once again, TIA!
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Expert Comment

by:tgtcat69
ID: 8248359
I'm positive that you can add a PCI expansion card with support for 4 more ide devices and have it work fine.  You will have no problems adding the PCI expansion card so long as you have room to add the card, and I'm assuming you do.
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Expert Comment

by:waffleironhead
ID: 8248749
is your machine set to boot from the pci card first or from c?
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Expert Comment

by:tgtcat69
ID: 8248838
the PCI card will take prioity over the onboard IDE drives no matter what
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by:esrob
ID: 8249490
tgtcat69--

OK.  I can deal with the PCI card jumping up to first in line, but is there any way to keep it from obliterating all recognition of SecMaster/SecSlave on the mobo?

waffle--

The machine is booting from PriMaster, Partition 1, C:.

esrob
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by:Snowguy
ID: 8250235
You can only have drives a-z max = 26 if you configure a ide drive at a&b (res. for floppy)
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by:esrob
ID: 8343882
Well, the questions to be answered here appear to me to have been...

Is it possible to add a PCI ATA expansion card and thus achieve access to and additional 4 devices?  If so, are there deep dark secrets that need to be illuminated to achieve this nirvana?

...and...

Is there somewhere that definitively states that a PCI IDE expansion card should work in this type of environment, and if so, does anyone know of troubleshooting resources I can use to untangle this?

Since there doesn't appear to be a clear answer popping up and since I haven't been able to solve my problem independently, I'm open to suggestions as to the accepted way of assigning the points I offered.  Is there an arbitrator, or do we just duke it out among ourselves? ;-)
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by:modulo
ID: 8373088
Dear expert(s),

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