How to add multiple hard drives?

Posted on 2004-08-10
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Im currently going through a lot of hard drive space at the moment, and I'd quite like to get an external hard drive. (Ive used all my interal hard drive slots). However, I figure ill probably burn through that quite quickly as well.

I noticed that its possible to get an external hard drive bay, which internal hard drives can be slotted into, which works out slightly cheaper than an external.

So i was wondering if its possible to get an external unit with, for example, 4 bays? I looked around on the net, but could only find random junk websites trying to sell me useless stuff. Does anyone have an example of what I need? Or even any alternate solutions?

Also, i noticed that its possible to buy something called a "rackmount server".... what is that, and would it be the slightest bit useful? (im not going to buy one, they cost £lots, im just curious). Once again, any time i try to search for rackmount servers I get a thousand websites selling me them but none telling me what they actually do.

For what its worth, I live in the UK and im not really a fan of buying things online, so im looking for explanations of what i need rather than links to online stores.

Thanks in advance.
Question by:hippydaz
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Accepted Solution

Callandor earned 240 total points
ID: 11764360
Before you go external, realize that you can still add more internal drives with a PCI IDE controller, like http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=16-102-002&depa=1

Some RAID controllers like the Escalade 7506-12 have connectors for up to 12 drives, so your only limitation is your power supply and drive bay space.
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Expert Comment

ID: 11765036
I don't know about your budget, but if you have the need for a lot of external storage, and you have the cash...check it out!
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 11765186
I don't know how you can run out of space so quick, they make drives so much bigger everyday, but I ever vote for redundancy.  Problem with internals is space more so than electronics, which often permits no more than two.

The current way people go with externals is USB, but until I plug my new one in I still vote for SCSI's daisy chain, their speed justifies extra cost, which is why they remain around.

Racks are just that, all shapes and sizes.  While your external bays are fairly a similar concept, minimized and enhanced, racks are basically four vertical poles with the hardware to screw in some nifty computer parts, be they computers or modems or hard drives or other strage such as semiconductor ram, etc (not printers). They clean up desktops, while getting H/W off the floor, but as you mention, are more for servers in business environment, closeted away from public view.  As an extra cost, like a desk, they can come with add on features such as built in power strip, and optional shelf to drop off a UPS or monitor or whatever, maybe a notepad.  Good ones can have the racks act like drawers, pull out (sliding) one device at a time to work on.  Modern age also uses terms such as hot-swappable.

Before counting up the slots you need, plan the future of all drives and types you'll need (or want), incl. CD, DVD, writables, etc.  Make sure you can handle power requirements.

Expert Comment

ID: 11769155
You can search forever for external solutions, or just buy a huge tower that will allow you to stack hard drives internally in a regular drive bay, and also in drive slots. I have 4 hard drives in my system (so far; lots of audio, video, and graphics editing sucks up space fast), all IDE using an Ultra ATA PCI controller card. These give you two more IDE channels. Of course, that means a total of four possible drives on that one card, pluse four possible on the motherboard's two IDE channels. Got lots of PCI slots? Cool; get two controller cards. Better yet, now we have Serial ATA, which is even faster than IDE, the cables are much smaller and more managable inside even a mid-sized tower, and I've seen one now that will hold eight hard drives. Serial ATA or even an Ultra ATA IDE PCI cards are less expensive than SCSI, and you can even get Serial ATA cards that also have one or two IDE channels as well.
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