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hotswapping

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April 12, 2006 6:35:45 PM

i will soon be building my own pc and i want alot of hd space but i would also like easy access to the hard drives i heard about hotswapping but dont know anything about it wondering if any of you guys can help me

thanks

More about : hotswapping

April 12, 2006 7:24:19 PM

hotswapping is when you can change hd while the pc is on. Its like you USB, where you can diconnect the devices (mp3 players, etc) while the pc is on.

I think it was introduced with the so called SATA-II revision, maybe earlier.

Hotswapping is however pretty useless for non-server pc's (its, as you will agree, no big deal to reboot once in a while for a home pc)
April 12, 2006 8:18:37 PM

nigelf is right hot swapping is usually only needed in servers that need to be up 24/7. Hot swapping is usually associated with RAID setups like RAID 5 or RAID 1 that can stay running or won't lose data with the loss of a disk like in RAID 0 or JBOD (Just a bunch of Disks) setups. Plus I beleive you need a backplane or enclosure so that you can pull your disks out. I'm not sure if you can hot swap SATA II hard drives without a backlane. Maybe you can, but I haven't tried it myself.
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April 12, 2006 8:43:48 PM

If i remember correctly you can otswap anything sata due to the number of grounds on the actual power bus (a total of 15 pins and 1/3 are using for grounding and such) Now if it is easy or not without a hotswap drive bay remains to be seen. Check this page out:

SATA Junk
April 12, 2006 9:02:08 PM

yeah its just i have 7 160gb hd's in my tower and the heat is extremely hot i just thought hotswapping would be a good idea so i can unplug hd's i aint using and keep the ones in that i am using but thanks for the replys
April 12, 2006 9:15:57 PM

Are the 7 hard drive going to be SATAII? If that's the case it might be as easy as disabling the drive from the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon from the tray just like disabling an external USB Hard drive. You wouldn't even have to open you case.
April 12, 2006 9:41:33 PM

no the 7 i have now are not sata they are ide im having to disconnect the hd's i dont need before i boot up and if i need something form the other hd's i need to shutdown the pc and connect the other one i just think hotswapping would have been a good idea cause i am hoping to get more hd's so very soon i will have more than 7

thanks for the reply
April 12, 2006 10:01:30 PM

You can't hotswap IDE, only SCSI and apparently SATA-II. If you need additional cooling or are worried about heat why not just put an extra fan or 2 in at strategic places. If you don't want the noise, just put together a system from old bits and use it as a server.
May 23, 2006 1:54:37 AM

Look at this product:

http://www.vipower.com.tw/P_MobileRACK.php?model_no=VP-...

SATA direct link hot swap device. Just make sure you have a motherboard that supports SATA hot swap or a plug-in PCI card that does it.

I have this unit, and I don't run RAID. I just want the ability to bring online another drive without rebooting. Works great.

Look at their other products also. They have every conceivable combination available, incl. SATA/IDE <---> USB/SATA/1394.

I've tried most of them. SATA direct link is the best.

Good luck.




C
May 23, 2006 4:22:12 AM

have a bunch of 4 year old WD 120 GB hard drives I used for backup storage. (I retired them from active duty after running them for 3.5 years 24x7 wihtout a problem).

I also often find myself working on other people PC's, usually while some other soft of work on my primary PC (no point doing nothing while waiting for windows to autoinstall).

I simply love being able to pop in a clients hard drive, do a full OS backup, virus & adware scan... whatever without havingt to interupt whatever other work I am doing with a restart.

In fact I hate restarting period. I just hibernate whenever possible to speed startup.

Other people who probably do far less hard drive swapping than me don't mind shutting down, opening their case .... and thats fine as well.

---


For hotswapping I either have

1) A extra long SATA cable comming out the back of my PC and plugged into an internal SATA port (not eSATA).

2) A Bytecc PATA to USB 2.0/SATA aluminum enclosure. Newegg doesn't sell that brand any more but ther are 8 similar ones avaliable. The SATA gives me full speed, the USB 2.0 is nice because not all comptuers have a n internal SATA cable dangling out the back.

3) A Notebook/PATA HD to USB 2.0 dongle (no enclosure) & 4 pin molex power brick. Bytecc brand. They have a new one that does SATA, Notebook & PATA HD to USB 2.0 as well.

Power brick is also nice for powering up an bare SATA drive after I connect the data cable. Could use PSU power connectror, but I would either have to leave my case open or make a long entension cable. Plus no risk of shorting the pins when I connect the drive.

3) The aslo have SATA to SATA extrenal and internal enclosures. The internal once usually mount in a 5.25 bay and has a removeable tray.

BTW all SATA drives are follow the STAT II standard, the only difference is they implement different optional features (such as 150 MBps vs 3.0 Gbps interface, NCQ ...).

As far as I know, all SATA hard drive and all SATA controllers support hot swapping.






I use a bytecc external IDE to USB 2.0 /SATA (internal not eSATA) enclosure.

I have a long SATA cable coming out of my PC and using the enclosure I can connect any IDE hard drive and run it at full speed without restarting windows.

I can also connect to other computers without SATA using the USB 2.0 connection which is slower, but nice to have.

I also have a IDE/notebook to USB 2.0 dongle (no enclouse) with a 4 pin power brick.

I

Anyway both bytech devices are at newegg for arroung $25-35 if you are interested.

Actually here is a new product that lets you connect notebook PATA and drives via USB 2.0

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ShowImage.asp?Image=12%2D156%2D102%2D02%2Ejpg%2C12%2D156%2D102%2D03%2Ejpg%2C12%2D156%2D102%2D04%2Ejpg%2C12%2D156%2D102%2D05%2Ejpg%2C12%2D156%2D102%2D06%2Ejpg&CurImage=12%2D156%2D102%2D02%2Ejpg&Description=BYTECC+BT%2D300+USB+2%2E0+to+IDE%2FSATA+Adapter+%2D+Retail
May 23, 2006 6:27:51 AM

eSATA External HD with 300Gb. Just as fast as a normal SATA, and can take it anywhere you want. It is also outside of your case = less heat.
May 23, 2006 7:02:47 AM

eSATA lets you have up to 2 meter long cables rather than just one, so the its not electrically compatible (sends a stronger signal, accepts a weaker one vs SATA), so to make people only connect eSATA to eSATA it was made physically incompatible

SATA-IO dragged its feet creating an external connection standard so people made thier own using realizing that a 1 meter long SATA cable is more than adequate to get the job done.

So most of the external enclosures use internal SATA connectors, and many cards which external SATA ports use internal SATA connectors. Most of the internal to PCI bracket adapters don't use eSATA, because there is no cuircuity involved.

However now a few motherboards have built in eSATA ports.

I have yet to see an adpater. :( 
May 23, 2006 4:40:53 PM

Excellent last 3 posts! Something I really care about (hotswapping) is finally getting the full treatment.

A few more key notes, most based on my own experiences:


On Codesmiths notes about using hotswapping:
He and I are in the same exact boat. I work on other people's computers all the time, and I often just want to get their drive online in my box. Being busy with a number of other things, I just refuse to restart that box (its on 24/7 - no hibernation). And if your main box is also acting like your Tivo and serving up a database, like mine is, bringing it down just to get a drive online is not good. I actually have a ViPower unit that takes SATA drives in my main system, and another ViPower unit that take IDE drives (IDE to SATA) in my test machine. Both hotswap perfectly -- incredibly useful.

On using hotswap for backup:
There simply is no better way. If you don't mind having your "media" be a hard drive, then this is really the ultimate solution. I have 3 80GB WD drives permanently mounted in metal trays that slide into the ViPower unit. I just pop one in, and that 80GB volume is online with a drive letter in about 4-6 seconds, operating at the full speed of SATA! I use True Image 9 to make a single file (compressed) backup of the main drive (a Raptor 150GB) to the backup drive, all within Windows (no rebooting). Drive has about 100GB on it -- takes about 45 minutes. You can actually still use the computer while the backup is in progress, but I normally prefer to close any key programs and do something simple like watch an episode of 24 or something. Pop it out when done, back in drawer. Or, take it offsite for added security. True Image is a top notch solution.

On SATA hotswap support:
It is my understanding that SATA II officially supports hotswap as a standard. Finding hotswap support for regular SATA is more of a crapshoot. I believe the great majority of motherboards do not support it. I mentioned that mine did (Asus A8N-SLI Premium), but it actually only works when using the RAID solutions. I wanted just simple SATA hotswap support. If you are lucky and your board does it, great. If not, you will need to get a SATA card that specifically has this support. I have 2 of these, one in each of my machines, and they both work fine:

Adaptec SATAConnect 1205SA
http://www.adaptec.com/worldwide/product/proddetail.htm...

Promise SATA 150 TX4
http://www.promise.com/product/product_detail_eng.asp?s...


Keep in mind that the product descriptions may not say that they support hotswap (why?), but I have these exact 2 cards and they both work perfectly. I prefer the Adaptec -- its a simpler, cheaper card with a more simplified driver (the Promise one for some reason needs 2 drivers). Also -- the Promise card mentioned above is older, so you may have to get a later solution, which I'm sure supports hotswap.

On eSATA
I have a pretty recent board and it still does not have this external SATA thing. That would be nice, but I guess I still prefer the internal bay method.

On those ViPower units (SATA/SATA vs SATA/USB2)
The 2 ViPower units I have use small sliding latches, not keys. I think this is preferable. I had tried their SATA to USB2 and IDE to USB2 and had enormous trouble with large USB transfers on one of my machine. A large transfer would begin (like a backup or copy), but after a short while would fail. I tried lots of different controllers (like 4 or 5), could never get past it. I have forever given up on driving hard drives with USB. And -- those ViPower units (and others like it) had a SATA/IDE to USB2 bridge right on the unit. Once in a while, it would just not work. But then I discovered their Direct Link stuff. Using their SATA direct link is technically identical to plugging the drive in to the SATA connector directly -- no room for mis-anything. The unit connects directly to SATA, and extends the SATA signals all the way to the back of the drive. No bridges, no connectors. In fact, if you look at the tray holding the drive, the rear bottom left area is uncovered and exposes the drive's SATA and power connectors (the location of these I assume must be a standard). I needed something reliable, I think I have found it. I live near ViPower, and have tried (kinda embarrassed to say) about 6 of their various units over the last couple of years. The 2 units I have and recommend are:

For SATA drives
http://www.vipower.com.tw/P_MobileRACK.php?model_no=VP-...

For IDE drives
http://www.vipower.com.tw/P_MobileRACK.php?model_no=VP-...


Both are cheap ($35 to $45 I think). I am amazed that hotswap has not caught on big yet for non-RAID and non-server use. But I think its getting there. I noticed some of the new HP machines have a custom hard drive bay (SATA I think) right there in the front of the machine.

Overall, as you can tell, I find hotswap immensely valuable.

Hope this helps.





C
!