Dell PowerEdge sc1425 and 850 maximum hard drive size (sata)

Hi all-
I just was able to pick up a couple Dell PowerEdge sc1425 and 850 servers.  They've come with 160gb sata drives in them, but I'm going to need more space.

I've read that there's a maximum size of 500gb for sata on the spec sheets, but I'm wondering if that might have been expanded with newer firmware.   There's only a $10 difference between Seagate 7200.12 500gb drives and the 750gb drives, plus the 750's come with a 32mb cache, instead of just 16.  Seems like a no brainer  - IF they're compatible.

I'd hate to buy a dozen of these drives only to find that they aren't compatible....

Anyone have any experience with these?

Thanks
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Berkson WeinTech FreelancerAsked:
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ComputerTechieCommented:
I would get a sata raid controller just in case the board one does not.

CT
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
A week ago I struggled with this controller trying to build RAID based on 1TB drives. All I got is Not enough memory.
The same was with 750GB drives, only 500 and smaller drives were admitted. And sure I did update the firmware. So no way for you.
I would stick with advice of ComputerTechie and buy new RAID controller with 750 or 1000GB drives. The controller that supports drives up to 2TB.
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Berkson WeinTech FreelancerAuthor Commented:
Thanks to both of you for chiming in.
Since the raid controller that's built in is really just software raid, I was planning on putting the bios into ATA mode instead of raid and just doing Mirroring (Raid 1) to protected against a single drive failure.  
Noxcho: were you able to get the 1tb or 750gb drives to be seen by windows in non-bios-raid mode?  I wonder if this method would work with the larger drives.  If you've got some extra drives - you could donate them to the charity that I work for....
ComputeraTechie: This charity's budget isn't going to allow for the purchase of several multi-hundred dollar controllers.  Do you have any recommendations for quality but very low cost controllers?
I'd LOVE to be able to use ESXi (v4) on these boxes with Raid 1 handled by the host.  I know that's not possible with the built in controller, so I was going to use vmware server over windows server to get around it.  So if there's a really inexpensive sata raid controller that's out there that's also is esxi compatible, I'm all ears.  (let me know if this should be a separate question)
Thanks
 
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
1TB and 750GB drives were normally seen by Windows when you connect them as non raid mode.
I guess my problem was in raid controller chipset that lacks enough memory for such big drives.
No problem was to convert the drives into dynamic and create dynamic mirror set via Windows 2003 Windows Disk Management snap-in.
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ComputerTechieCommented:
i would recommend an adaptec raid controller  you just can not go wrong with one. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816103105

CT
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Berkson WeinTech FreelancerAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the input.
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Berkson WeinTech FreelancerAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the input.  Even the $90 raid controller isn't going to be an option - there's a bunch of these servers (donated) and the $90 charges will add up too quickly.  I'm going to see if it's acceptable performance with some seagate 7200.12 750gb drives in Raid 1 software mirroring with VMWare Server 2.x
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