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PC doesn't boot after installing a second SATA Hard disk

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April 29, 2013 10:06:47 AM

Hello,

I recently bought a second internal hard disk (WD 1TB Caviar Green SATA) for my Acer desktop. I physically installed it inside the second HDD tray (making sure to ground myself and unplug the power cable). Then, I plugged the two required cables: the SATA ATA cable (from a free slot in the motherboard to the drive) and the SATA power cable. There were two SATA power connectors on a same wire in my computer case (the first one connected to the main HDD and the second one unused), so I used that second connector for the second HDD.

However, when I connected the power cable and pressed the power button, the computer lights turned on and the fans started working, but that's it. There wasn't the initial boot-up beep and the screen was blank. When, I disconnected the second HDD (to see what would happen), everything was back to normal.

Today, I tried again a few times. Out of the many tries, most of the time I got the same issue as the other day, but twice, the computer booted (there was the beep sound) and I got access to the BIOS which has detected the second drive. However, when reaching the Windows 7 loading screen, the computer froze and turned off.

From the way my computer is reacting, my gut feeling is that it's a power supply issue (not able to supply enough juice). However, I really don't understand why, because the power supply in the computer (bought in 2010) is rated at 500W/450W (peak/max) and this second HDD is the only extra component I've added other than a USB 3.0 PCI-E card. When using one of those online power usage calculators, I get about 350W...

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

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In case it can help, here are the main components of my computer (Acer Aspire M5811):

Operating System
MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
CPU
Intel Core i5 650 @ 3.20GHz 35 °C
Clarkdale 32nm Technology
RAM
8.00 GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 665MHz (9-9-9-24)
Motherboard
Acer H57M01 (CPU 1) 40 °C
Graphics
W2361 (1920x1080@60Hz)
1024MB GeForce GT 320 (Sapphire/PCPartner) 42 °C
Hard Drives
977GB Western Digital WDC WD10EADS-22M2B0 (RAID) 40 °C
Optical Drives
DTSOFT Virtual CdRom Device
ATAPI DVD A DH16AASH
Audio
Realtek High Definition Audio

Best solution

April 29, 2013 10:25:25 AM

It'll be that the PSU can't supply enough power to the two connectors you're using. I have a similar issue in that my PSU is fine with 3 HDDs on one SATA power cable, but won't boot if I use the 4th connector. It's quite happy if I use a second power cable for the 4th.
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April 29, 2013 10:28:25 AM

Hi!

Have you tried turning in on and off? Sorry :D 

My immediate thought was that you need to set one disk (Your primary) to the master disk. This was at least required on the old disks before SATA came along. I don't know if this still is a requirement, but you could try it. :) 

Edit: It seems that there is no master/slave on the SATA drives. But if the priority is wrong in bios maybe?
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a c 353 G Storage
April 29, 2013 10:29:41 AM

First off: The CPU and the GPU are the two biggest power components. Yor system shoud be less than 300 Watts, probably closer to 250 Watts when playing a game. A HDD is generally less than 10 Watts (under 1 Amp).

A 500 Watt PSU should handle a 2nd (3rd and 4th) HDD with NO problem.

That said, I did NOT see which PSU you have and there are some PSUs out there that are pure JUNK.
Junk PSUs
1) They only really supply about 60% of what they claim.
2) You have to look at the +12 V capability, NOT the total as the +12V is where most of the power consumption is.
3) When you first power on you have what is called InRush current that is generally much higher than what is drawn after it is on. This Inrush current could trigger the PSU to shut down. "Good" PSU with 500 Watts would be NO Problem for your system. Your configuration, during power on could have been on the borderline and the added surge with the 2nd HDD pushed you over the edge. IF that was the case you should have replaced the PSU when YOU bought it.

Then again you could have a defective HDD that is drawing excess current (doughtful).

Added: Meoricin has a valid point. Your +12V is normally split between what called rails, And the +12V rail you are using is just not enough for the 2 HDDs and what ever else is on the same rail.
Would help if you identify the PSU and what the +12V1 and +12V2 are.
I have an older PSU that has a +12V3 that is limited to ONLY 4 Amps.
SO TRY a different power connector.
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April 29, 2013 4:26:29 PM

Hello again and thank you for your swift replies!

sofaMonster: Indeed SATA drives don't need the master/slave distinction and I made sure to set the correct order in the BIOS (actually, it was correct by default).

Meoricin and RetiredChief: Your explanations make a lot of sense, I never realized that the power supply splits its rated power along the different wires. I connected the second HDD to another connector (a molex connector) using a molex/sata adapter. At first, no luck. However, I waited for a few hours and came back, and it seems to have done the trick. The computer turned on and Windows 7 booted correctly! So right now, on the first wire, there's just the first HDD connected and on the second wire, there's the second HDD and the DVD reader/burner (there should also be the USB 3.0 card but I removed it for now).

I still need to test and see if everything's going to hold if I use the components more heavily than right now (for example burn a dvd while copying files from an external hard drive to the second HDD while watching a video)... But at least this improvement removes a defective HDD off the list of possible culprits.

Two things I still don't understand:

1) I'm adding the information about the power supply as requested at the bottom of this post, but shouldn't a single wire with two connectors specially placed for this type of configuration be able to handle two HDDs (both of them being from the energy efficient Caviar Green family)? As RetiredChief said and as I saw with the power calculator tool, each HDD uses no more than 10W...

2) I'm familiar with electronics and I understand that waiting 10 seconds to a few minutes before turning the power back on can help if there are issues (helps for things to settle down, for temporary memory and caches to clear), but how is it that I needed to wait for a few hours after adding the second HDD and connecting it to the power supply in order for things to work? (Once the computer started booting correctly, there was no more wait time though, I can turn the computer back on right after shutting it down).

Thanks again for helping me out!

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Information about the power supply that came with the computer:

Model: FSP450-60EP, 80 PLUS Bronze certified

DC: +3.3V(16.0A)(135W max), +5V(20.0A)(135W max), +12V1(18.0A)(360W max), +12V2(18.0A)(360W max), +5Vsb(2.5A), -12V(0.5A)

Max power: 450 W, Peak power: 500W
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a c 353 G Storage
April 29, 2013 7:33:00 PM

Must take things with a grain of salt and with PSUs you must also read between the lines.
You said "+12V1(18.0A)(360W max), +12V2(18.0A)(360W max), "
Your PSU is rated at 450 Watts continuous NOTE 360 +360 = 720 Watts (which equals fuzzy math or put in simple terms NO CAN DO)
The 360 Watts is the total for 12V1 + 12V2. 360/12 = 30 Amps, this means that up to 30 amps can be drawn from the two rails slit any which way as long as one does not draw more than 18 amps
For example:
If + 12V1 drew 17 Amps, then +12V2 would be limited to Only 13 Amps, or each rail could supply 15 Amps each. get the picture.

But I really think that if that was a good PSU you should not have had a problem. 12V1 is for your MB (CPU, GPU and maybe memory ( the 20/24 pin connector and the 4/8 pin MB connector) and +12V2 is probably for HDDs, DVDs, your Molex/sata power connectors.)

Might be a good Idea to verify the PSU outputs. Download Hardware Monitor, install it and open it up.
Look at voltages (primarily the +5V and the +12V). With the computer at Idle (on but not doing much) not the +5 and +12V.
+5 should be 4.75->5.25 V
+12 V should be 11.4V->12.6V (personally I ditch a PSU if ir drops to 11.6V.
Anyway, Now load the System, Ie play a game and not How much the voltage drops.
EX: Lets say at Idle your +12 V is good 12.1 V but when you start a game it drops to 11.7 V that is still with in specs BUT the 0.4 V drop under load is NOT so good. Max diff for +12V between idle and load is 0.3V.

Added HWMonitor: http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/hwmonitor.html
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April 30, 2013 7:41:26 AM

Hello again,

Yes the 360W and the 135W are for 12V1/12V2 and 3.3V/5V combined (respectively), sorry for the confusion.

I've always heard that pre-built retail computers aren't very customizable (without changing almost all the base components), and I know it's true for stuff like adding a second high performance graphic card, but I never thought it could cause issues with a second HDD. I guess that's why it's best to build a desktop from scratch and choose quality components. As you said, the numbers (specifications) don't always tell the whole story...

Anyways, I'm happy the computer is still running normally this morning with both hard drives installed (knock on wood). I hope it continues, because I don't feel like buying and changing the power supply at this point. I use Speccy (hw monitor equivalent), so I'll try the test you recommended.

Thank you for all your help!
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February 7, 2014 6:02:19 AM

Meoricin said:
It'll be that the PSU can't supply enough power to the two connectors you're using. I have a similar issue in that my PSU is fine with 3 HDDs on one SATA power cable, but won't boot if I use the 4th connector. It's quite happy if I use a second power cable for the 4th.


I have the same issue with my computer except that it has been running fine all these while up until I reformatted my computer a couple of weeks ago. One day when I turned my computer on, it just wouldn't boot with my HDD attached but it boots with my SSD attached alone. Why is that?
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February 7, 2014 8:40:02 AM

Hi aeternum91,

In my case it really ended up being the power supply. This thread is a bit dated from when I first started it, but since then I ended up upgrading my power supply and haven't had issues anymore. In your case, since you say everything was running fine before, I don't think it's an issue with the power supply. I'm not an expert and maybe someone else can be more helpful, but could it be that the HDD did not format correctly when you reformatted, hence it's not being detected by the computer?

Is it possible that the ordering in your BIOS for the boot devices is set incorrectly? For example, I'm assuming it should boot from the SSD and that's where your OS is located, but if the HDD is set at a higher priority and is connected, it will try to boot with the HDD and will fail.

Good luck!
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February 7, 2014 9:41:48 AM

artart00 said:
Hi aeternum91,

In my case it really ended up being the power supply. This thread is a bit dated from when I first started it, but since then I ended up upgrading my power supply and haven't had issues anymore. In your case, since you say everything was running fine before, I don't think it's an issue with the power supply. I'm not an expert and maybe someone else can be more helpful, but could it be that the HDD did not format correctly when you reformatted, hence it's not being detected by the computer?

Is it possible that the ordering in your BIOS for the boot devices is set incorrectly? For example, I'm assuming it should boot from the SSD and that's where your OS is located, but if the HDD is set at a higher priority and is connected, it will try to boot with the HDD and will fail.

Good luck!


There was a brief period of a couple of days after reformatting when everything was fine, so somehow I doubt it's any of those issues too. What puzzles me the most is that it was working after reformatting but somehow I have a feeling it may have updated something or I could have damaged my drive from trying to recover reformatted partitions.
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February 14, 2014 8:10:15 PM

aeternum91 said:
Meoricin said:
It'll be that the PSU can't supply enough power to the two connectors you're using. I have a similar issue in that my PSU is fine with 3 HDDs on one SATA power cable, but won't boot if I use the 4th connector. It's quite happy if I use a second power cable for the 4th.


I have the same issue with my computer except that it has been running fine all these while up until I reformatted my computer a couple of weeks ago. One day when I turned my computer on, it just wouldn't boot with my HDD attached but it boots with my SSD attached alone. Why is that?


I have been having similar problems with my Acer computer. After changing out almost every component to isolate the problem, I finally pined it down to a faulty SATA Cable. Don't overlook this. Upon inspection of the offending cable, it was found to have its moulded connector strip out of alignment to the slot. This is a subtle thing to observe.

I notice other Techs suggesting that you should ensure that your SATA cables should protrude unobstructed from your Motherboard and devices. This is probably good advice. Good luck.
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February 14, 2014 9:31:39 PM

I swapped the SATA cables around and even tested them with both SATA 2 and 3. Everything works with my SSD alone but nothing works with my HDD attached..
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February 26, 2014 3:36:52 AM

aeternum91 said:
I swapped the SATA cables around and even tested them with both SATA 2 and 3. Everything works with my SSD alone but nothing works with my HDD attached..



did you get anywhere with this - i am having the same issue.
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February 28, 2014 8:54:45 AM

iamrhys said:
aeternum91 said:
I swapped the SATA cables around and even tested them with both SATA 2 and 3. Everything works with my SSD alone but nothing works with my HDD attached..



did you get anywhere with this - i am having the same issue.


I am still unable to get a solution from anybody.
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June 14, 2014 12:14:35 PM

I had the same problem and found the SOLUTION.... be sure the sata wires are in order, there are sata ports on the MB which are numbered , be sure to put port #1 for the OS drive then it should work, if not then swap out the other sata ports for the secondary HD to get it to work while still leaving the #1 port for the OS Harddrive. It worked for me.
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June 14, 2014 12:19:49 PM

aeternum91 said:
iamrhys said:
aeternum91 said:
I swapped the SATA cables around and even tested them with both SATA 2 and 3. Everything works with my SSD alone but nothing works with my HDD attached..



did you get anywhere with this - i am having the same issue.


I am still unable to get a solution from anybody.


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June 14, 2014 12:22:06 PM

I had the same problem and found the SOLUTION.... be sure the sata wires are in order, there are sata ports on the MB which are numbered , be sure to put port #1 for the OS drive then it should work, if not then swap out the other sata ports for the secondary HD to get it to work while still leaving the #1 port for the OS Harddrive. It worked for me.
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