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Will 2TB and/or 3TB HDD's work on Dell T3400 x64 OS?

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July 11, 2010 5:21:05 AM

I have a Dell T3400 workstation which I use to edit video. I am out of room on C:\ and D:\.
C:\ is two 250GB WD 7200 spin in Raid 0, external backup through Vista to external USB.
D:\ is two 1TB Seagate 7200 spin in Raid 0, external backup via USB.

The plan is to get two 2TB spin HDD's to install as a new D:\ Raid 0 array, and then back-write the data.
Then take the two 1TB HDD's and install them as a new C:\ Raid 0 array, and back-write C:\.

I asked Dell tech support, and they would not guarantee the motherboard would recognize any drives over 1TB. I imagine that at the time they came out with the T3400, 1TB drives was all they had, and so they tested with 1TB's and never bothered to test anything else. But I don't know.

Is there any reason a T3400 mobo should not work with 2TB (or even 3TB) drives with Vista x64? Because I really need more room on both C:\ and D:\.

Thanks.
July 12, 2010 5:17:25 AM

I can't believe Dell won't support 2TB (3TB?) - my Gateway FX6800-01e installed a WD 2TB Caviar Black in either internal or external configurations under Vista 64! Dell and Gateway usually compete feature for feature, so I have had several of each over the years.
But more replies would be in order.

Cheers
Warren
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a c 415 G Storage
July 12, 2010 7:00:41 AM

A quick Google search seems to indicate that this system uses SATA ports for the disk drives. There are no size limitations for SATA ports (as there were in the old days with the 48-bit LBA limit for IDE), so you should be able to attach a drive of any size to it.

Note, however, that a standard BIOS with a MBR partitioning scheme cannot boot from a volume that's larger than 2TB. That includes a RAID array with a logical volume size more than 2TB. You need a motherboard with an EFI bios and a GPT partition to boot from a > 2TB disk volume.

Data drives won't be a problem as long as you're using Vista or Windows 7. You can create GPT partitions > 2TB on them and they should be fine with the machine as long as you don't need to boot from them. But for the OS you'll probably need to keep a separate disk less than 2TB so you can boot from it.
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July 12, 2010 6:20:54 PM

>>I can't believe Dell won't support 2TB (3TB?) - my Gateway FX6800-01e installed a WD 2TB Caviar Black in either internal or external configurations under Vista 64! Dell and Gateway usually compete feature for feature, so I have had several of each over the years.


I agree. I think it was just an example of 'legal cautiousness' by Dell Tech Support.

When I upgraded the RAM on the box I called Kingston, and they told me that they had tested the T3400 with 4GB RAM modules (for a total of 16MB). However, Dell Tech Support said that the machine would only handle 2GB modules (for a total of 8GB), because 2GB modules was all that existed at the time the machine was first tested and put on sale. (They don't test anything after that, because they want you to buy the next 'latest and greatest'...so you have to take their statments with a relative pound and a half of salt.)

I think the same is the case with the hdd's. I think 1TB drives is all that was out at that time, so Dell won't warrant anything greater than that as working. However, I think 1.5TB or 2TB (or even 3TB drives under Vista or 7 x64) are going to work just fine. But I thought I should check, just to be safe. (And it's nice to know that the boot drive needs to be 2TB or less. Thanks!)

I ordered two 1.5TB Seagates from TD to match the one I have, and will build D:\ as a three-drive RAID 5 array. The total cost is less than $200.00, which is nice because what I really want is to start saving up for a new hexacore (because Vegas Video is all CPU).
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July 19, 2010 12:29:01 AM

Best answer selected by nazareneisrael.
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