01-21-2017 05:33 PM - last edited on 03-24-2017 06:28 AM by BiggAl
Hi all, I am in need of installing a second disk drive for my ThinkCentre E53 10AS. I read the manual, which has instructions on replacing the disk drive - it does mention that in order to install a second disk drive, to follow these same instructions! Of course, it would not be an identical process. For example, there are 3 SATA plugs on the mother board, SATA1, SATA2 (both red), and SATA3 (yellow). SATA1 is plugged into the HDD.
There is a box connected to the power button, that has two buttons on the back. SATA power and SATA data. The SATA power is connected to the HDD and the motherboard via a 4-wire cable. The SATA data is connected to the HDD via a ribbon SATA cable.
So, if I want to install a second HDD, do I use a SATA plug to connect it to the yellow SATA 3 plug?
Does the fact that the plug is yellow mean anything?
And finally, I have looked everywhere, but cannot figure out what the max HDD capacity would be for a secondary drive? I bought a WD Red 3TB. Hopeful it works?
Any advice is greatly appreciated!
Solved! Go to Solution.
01-22-2017 07:41 AM
According to the hardware maintenance manual for the E73, the two motherboard SATA connectors (which you say are red) are SATA3 which supports 6GB/s. The third one (which you say is yellow) is SATA2 which supports 3GB/s.
Sinc you've bought a SATA3 drive, you should use the second red SATA3 connector to get maximum performance out of it. Be sure you use a SATA3 data cable and not a SATA2 data cable, as that's part of the requirement to get SATA3 performance.
As far as drive capacity goes, there's no hardware limit pertaining to your E73. However there IS a consideration depending on the fact that your drive is larger than 2TB. In order for a new drive to be usable, it must be "partitioned" and "formatted with a file system". And in order to use a drive larger than 2TB the partitioning technique must be GPT, and not MBR.
You can partition the new drive to have one or more partitions, but if you mistakenly use MBR as the partitioning technique only 2TB of the drive will be visible and usable for partitions. And there will be a maximum of four "primary" partitions (or a maximum of three "primary" partitions and any number of "logical" partitions). The extra 1TB of your new 3TB drive will be invisible and unusable. And the largest MBR partition is also limited to 2TB.
In contrast, if you partition the drive using GPT (which is the modern partitioning method that is recommended), this method supports drives of ANY size, including both 2TB and smaller as well as larger than 2TB. Furthermore, there is no limit on the number of partitions you can allocate on the drive, and the notion of "primary" vs. "logical" partition disappears. There is no such thing with GPT, as all partitions are simply "GPT data" partitions. And there is also no limit to the size of a GPT partition, so that it can be larger than 2TB (e.g. you could have your new 3TB drive be one large 3TB GPT partition if you wanted, or you could subdivide it into two or more GPT partitions of any size you wanted).
Your best bet is to use a free product named Minitool Partition Wizard to handle ALL of your partitioning needs, including working with a brand new drive or resizing/moving/deleting partitions on your existing drives. It is simply the easiest to use and most function-rich AND BEST product there is for this job. Partition Wizard supports all types of drives (i.e. HDD spinners as well as SSDs, and both MBR and GPT partitioning methods.
The final new drive consideration pertains to what file system you use for a partition(s), i.e. FAT32 or NTFS. Unless you are formatting an external USB key drive that you want to use in some non-Windows environment in which case FAT32 is probably what you want to use, there's really no other reason to use FAT32 and especially not on an internal HDD spinner. You should simply always use NTFS. Partition Wizard can create your partitions either using MBR or GPT (the drive is partitioned one way or the other such that all partitions on the drive are the same), and for each partition it can format them as either FAT32 or NTFS.
You should thus connect your new drive using a SATA3 data cable to the second red SATA3 motherboard connector. Then you will be able to use Partition Wizard to create one or more GPT partitions on it formatted as NTFS, and you will be able to use all 3TB of it.
01-22-2017 11:33 AM
DSperber- Thank you so much for the detailed response! One important thing I left out, is that on the motherboard, SATA1 (red) is connected to the primary hard drive, SATA2 (red) is connected to the box connected to the power button (to a plug that says SATA data), and SATA3 (yellow) is empty. Does this mean that I have to connect the secondary hard drive to SATA3? I guess I'm confused as to what the SATA 2 is actually connected to, and whether this is an optional connection, or can be switched to SATA3... Thanks!
01-22-2017 12:11 PM - edited 01-22-2017 12:19 PM
cyk414: can you please confirm that you have an E73 tower? There is conflicting information in your first post.
SATA2 (red) is connected to the box connected to the power button (to a plug that says SATA data), and SATA3 (yellow) is empty.
On a tower system, the optical drive is under where the power button, can you verify these cables go to the optical drive? If that's the case, you'd move that data cable to the slower SATA 3.0 Gbps (yellow) port, and use both red ports for the HDDs.
01-22-2017 12:43 PM
Further, I suggest you do each action seperately. Move the data cable to the optical drive, ensure it boots, you can use the drive and it all works as before. Then attach the new HDD.
01-22-2017 12:48 PM
Hi, yes it is a Lenovo ThinkCentre E73 i5-4460S 4GB 500GB HDD Windows 7 Pro Tower Desktop Computer
The "box near the power button is actually the DVD drive (sheesh, not sure why I didn't realize that originally)! So you are saying that I could just switch the DVD SATA cable from the red SATA2 slot to the slower yellow SATA3 slot, then hook the secondary HDD SATA cable to the red SATA2 slot?
01-22-2017 12:55 PM
Yes. SATA is intelligent, it will (should) recognize when you move the optical drive, and when you connect the new drive. Best to do it one step at a time (as I wrote above.)
01-22-2017 03:22 PM - edited 01-22-2017 03:24 PM
BiggAl has given you the right instructions. I didn't notice your mention earlier about the fact that the second red SATA3 connector was already in use, going to a "box" up near the power button at the top of the power case. Of COURSE that is the optical drive. I should have seen that, as I looked at a picture of your E73 on the Lenovo site when I was grabbing the hardware maintenance manual to investigate the SATA connectors.
Turns out optical drives don't really work at full SATA3 speeds. No optical drive today works at transfer speeds approaching even SATA2, and that includes BluRay drives. It really could have come connected to your yellow SATA2 connector from Levnovo, and avoided any question or confusion. You should make this switch, and re-purpose the second red SATA3 connector for your new HDD.
But SATA devices and connectors and cables are "smart" and negotiate what the proper transfer speed should be. And they are they are fully downward compatible as was described, so you can used SATA devices of any speed with any SATA data cable and connector, and it will all work itsefl out so that things "work". However for optimal performance of a device truly capable of SATA3 speeds you should use a SATA3 motherboard connector and a SATA3 data cable.