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Replace hard drive with a large one in new Dell Precision 3431

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Last Modified: 2020-10-17
I just received a new Dell Precision 3431.  It boots from an SSD and came with a 3.5" 1TB HD.
My intent is to replace the 1TB HD with a 10TB HD.
I did that but the new HD is not recognized:
Not with computer management / storage
Not with the Intel storage app
Not with DISKPART.
I have downloaded and installed all the Dell drivers and updated the BIOS.
So, I'm looking for ideas....
I imagine that the original HD will still work in this system.

One thought might be to image the original HD and write the image onto the new HD to see if this is a formatting kind of issue.... but that may be in the wrong direction for this.
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Commented:
I don't know about the Precision 3431, but I have had some difficulty with an older Dell server RAID controller and drives larger than 2T.  The 5T drives were recognized, but listed as "failed" (or something similar).  When I looked further into it, I found it was a limitation of the RAID controller and had to change to something newer.  I wouldn't expect such issues with a new computer, though.

If it is new, it should be under warranty and have support.  I'd check with Dell on compatibility with a drive this size.


Is this using an onboard SATA controller?  RAID?  Is the 10T HD seen correctly in the BIOS?  Have you tested the drive in another computer to confirm that it works elsewhere?

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It's far too modern to be limited to 2TiB disks and has no RAID controller save for the Intel Chipset one. Probably faulty or not plugged in properly, as mentioned above the first place to look is in BIOS where you could set it as the boot device if it was seen (not that you want to boot from it but there it will list all your HDDs).
Fred MarshallPrincipal
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I did a fairly useless chat with Dell.
The claim was that this computer will only support 4TB drives.  Seems like a suspicious number....
I did plug the drive into a pretty old computer that I use for HD work and it formatted a simple volume GPT to 10TB.
It had to be "initialized" first in that one.  But at least it offered!
Then I put it back in the 3431 and no improvement.
There isn't supposed to be any RAID on this one.
I see that this 3431 configuration says this:
780-BBCJ: No RAID
Part number GVK8F

I found an old forum thread where the problem was the same.
In that case, the computer had an LSI controller.
And, in that case, they had to create a RAID configuration using the LSI configuration screen due to a lack of native SATA support in the computer (T7910).
But the 3431 has SATA support it appears.
"some controllers do not support non-RAID JBOD.  and suggested that a virtual disk had to be set up on the controller.
etc. etc.
Probably has not much to do with the 3431.....
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Fred MarshallPrincipal
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Andy,  That's very interesting!  At the Walmart site when you try to configure what you'd like to buy, the hard drive sizes no longer make any sense except the 1TB selection which is the largest shown.  The one I bought from Dell had a 1TB HD and I think that was the only one offered - I just wanted to assure the physical space for a 3.5" replacement would be there .... and it is.
Fred MarshallPrincipal
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CompProbSolv:
Not recognized in computer management / storage
Not recognized in Intel storage app
Not recognized in DISKPART


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Since they list 256GB it's the PCIe SSD rather than the HDD that it's configuring.

BTW, pseudo part no GVK8F just means RAID not configured, some machines that can take two or more disks and have RAID controllers still use that part no.

That old forum thread has nothing to do with this problem. There has always been a 2TiB limit due to 32 bit logical block addressing for old kit but there was never a 4TiB limit since they jumped from 32 bit addressing to 48 bit addressing.

Still need to know whether it is seen in BIOS.
Fred MarshallPrincipal
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andyalder and CompProbSolv:  No, it's not seen in the BIOS.
Fred MarshallPrincipal
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The configuration says:
Hard Drive Controllers:
Integrated Intel AHCI SATA chipset controller (8x 6.0Gb/s), SW RAID 0,1,5,10
 CNTRL 1 [403-BBRL] 9

Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software Engineer
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Commented:
Is the system set to BIOS and not UEFI?

Is the controller set to SATA and not Legacy or RAID?

Regarding Walmart selling them with bigger drives, I would not be at all surprised to find out that Dell did a one-off for Walmart with a unique BIOS.  Dell has done some completely nonsensical things over the years when it comes to disk drives.
Wesley MillerInformation Technology Practitioner
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For the  Dell Precision 3431 you can boot it into a diagnostics mode to see if it is detecting the drive.
When you power it on Press F12 when you see the Dell Logo
You will get a boot menu screen, Choose Diagnostics and Press Enter.
For more details see page 90 of the service manual at: https://topics-cdn.dell.com/pdf/precision-3431-workstation_owners-manual2_en-us.pdf 
Wesley MillerInformation Technology Practitioner
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"No, it's not seen in the BIOS. "
I think that's critical.  I'm assuming you've swapped cables and used a known working SATA port.  The fact that the drive works in a different system tells me that there is some odd compatibility issue with this motherboard.

Last thing I'd try is a PCIe-SATA controller.  They are under $20US on Amazon and are handy to have around.  

Fred MarshallPrincipal
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CompProbSolv:
I agree.  The hardware works all the way up to the hard drive that I took out .. still.  So no port/cable issues there!

Good idea.  I think I have some of those around.
I tried it but it presents a few problems of its own I'm afraid.
The pcie SATA III controller doesn't show up in Storage Devices in Device Manager.
The HD still doesn't show up when connected to it.
I note that the SATA UEFI/BIOS setting has 3 choices:
Disabled or AHCI or RAID
And, RAID is selected.  
Yet I find no control interface that I'm used to - for example to add a drive RAID or not.
I tried using the AHCI setting and nearly lost the system booting.  Well, they did warn....
Setting it back to RAID, eventually got the system back.
The Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST) interface is also a bit strange as it includes the Optane memory which I don't have and the interface is almost cartoonish.  Either you see the devices or you don't and that's about it.
I considered downloading regular IRST but the version I got was "older than what's installed" so I didn't try that (yet).


David Johnson, CDSimple Geek from the '70s
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I would return it as unsuitable. and buy from another manufacturer. 
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i suppose it's " a dell thingy " - they put a limit in their bios for the drive size
you could try to partition the drive to 4 GB chunks, and see if it is recognised then
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It should be set to AHCI, only way that would stop it booting is if it then saw the disk and tried to boot that rather than the PCIe SSD.
Wesley MillerInformation Technology Practitioner
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What Brand and Model is the 10 TB Hard Drive?
When you formatted it did you use the GPUID Partition Table (GPT)? it is needed for Larger capacity drives due to MBR limitations. See:  http://www.ntfs.com/guid-part-table.htm and https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/storage/disk-management/change-an-mbr-disk-into-a-gpt-disk ->Master Boot Record (MBR) disks use the standard BIOS partition table. GUID Partition Table (GPT) disks use Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). One advantage of GPT disks is that you can have more than four partitions on each disk. GPT is also required for disks larger than two terabytes (TB).





Fred MarshallPrincipal
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CompProbSolv:
I agree.  The hardware works all the way up to the hard drive that I took out .. still.  So no port/cable issues there!

Good idea re pcie-SATA controller.  I think I have some of those around.
I tried it but it presents a few problems of its own I'm afraid.
The pcie SATA III controller doesn't show up in Storage Devices in Device Manager.
The HD still doesn't show up when connected to it.
I note that the SATA UEFI/BIOS setting has 3 choices:
Disabled or AHCI or RAID
And, RAID is selected.  
Yet I find no control interface that I'm used to - for example to add a drive RAID or not.
I tried using the AHCI setting and nearly lost the system booting.  Well, they did warn....
Setting it back to RAID, eventually got the system back.
The Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST) interface is also a bit strange as it includes the Optane memory which I don't have and the interface is almost cartoonish.  Either you see the devices or you don't and that's about it.
I considered downloading regular IRST but the version I got was "older than what's installed" so I didn't try that (yet).

Wesley Miller:  Yes GPT while connected on another computer.  How else to get 10TB format?  Western Digital.

David Johnson:  Well, I'm wondering what manufacturer you might recommend.  There's nothing too special about this computer in my mind.  It just happened to come with an SSD boot drive and I don't find that remarkable.  My problem right now is that I don't have much experience with them.  For example, I tried to image the SSD with Clonezilla and encountered the first failure with Clonezilla that I can remember!  It didn't see the SSD.

andyalder:  I guess the suggestion would be then:
Switch to AHCI, reformat the SSD or something like that, then reinstall Windows on it.
I've been thinking of doing this.
I wonder what others think about it?



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AHCI should only affect SATA, not the NVMe drive.
Wesley MillerInformation Technology Practitioner
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There are 3 classes of GPT , See the link for in depth details:
You can install Windows on hard drives that are based on any of the following types of firmware:
  • Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) (Class 1): Uses the GUID Partition Table (GPT) partition structure.
  • Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Class 2: Uses the GPT partition structure. Also includes a compatibility support module (CSM) that enables you to use BIOS functions, including the MBR partition structure. This module can be enabled or disabled in the firmware.
  • Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Class 3: Uses the GPT partition structure.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/hard-drives-and-partitions 

Assuming your drive is the: hhttps://documents.westerndigital.com/content/dam/doc-library/en_us/assets/public/western-digital/product/data-center-drives/ultrastar-dc-hc300-series/data-sheet-ultrastar-dc-hc330.pdf 

It features the advanced format technology: https://documents.westerndigital.com/content/dam/doc-library/en_us/assets/public/western-digital/collateral/white-paper/white-paper-advanced-format.pdf

Using a Partition Alignment Tool
For best performance, it is recommended that the hard drive be partitioned correctly upon first use. By creating aligned partitions, a single 4K block read or write will result in a single physical sector read or write on the hard drive. For users who have created a misaligned partition, Western Digital recommends using a disk partitioning utility to correct this condition by re-aligning the partition.

Ensure you have Intel driver AFT: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000005646/technologies/intel-rapid-storage-technology-intel-rst.html 



Fred MarshallPrincipal
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I sought out help in the Dell Community..  Dell responded and offered to help.  So far, the only response is this:
This system model supports the following storage options,
 
Two NVMe M.2 2280 SSD; PCIe 4, Up to 32 Gbps—Up to 1 TB
One Solid State Drive Optane Memory Module (SSD),M.2 2230,PCIe, Up to 32 Gbps—Up to 32 GB
Two 2.5 inch,SATA AHCI, Up to 6 Gbps—Up to 4 TB
One 3.5 inch,SATA AHCI, Up to 6 Gbps—Up to 4 TB

Perhaps David Johnson is right.  It's unsuitable.  
I'll wait a bit to see if they offer any real help because otherwise this is a blazing fast computer!
The "up to 32 GB must be a typo as this one has 512GB SSD.
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Fred i tink it is 32 GB/s
David Johnson, CDSimple Geek from the '70s
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Two NVMe M.2 2280 SSD; PCIe 4, Speed Up to 32 Gbps—Size Up to 1 TB
Fred MarshallPrincipal
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OK.  I get it..  Thanks

No word from Dell yet other than what I quoted.
Fred MarshallPrincipal
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I have a few choices:
1) send it back - but I really don't want to lose the time.
2) Use it as-is - which will require an external USB drive and that was one thing I was trying to get rid of.  Easy.
3) Find a way to customize it so I can use the 10TB HDD in place of the 1TB HDD.  

I guess that one is allowed to sell anything they like.  Why limit hard drive size as this one appears to be?  To force customers into "Server" platforms?  That's what it appears.  Seems an odd product decision.
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Found your thread on Dell's forum, what is most concerning is that they aren't even prepared to address the problem in public.
Fred MarshallPrincipal
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Andyalder: an astute observation...
Fred MarshallPrincipal
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I came to the conclusion that this issue isn't fixable in earth time.
So, I've decided to keep the 1TB HDD and use the same external USB drive that we've been using on the computer's predecessor.  Not what I wanted but it works fine.

Thanks all for the suggestions!

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