Xserve RAID upgrade

ianmason754

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2019
3
1
Lincoln, NE
Hello all,

This is my first post. I am an avid tinkerer and I am getting into soldering motherboards and just general things to occupy my little free time because I like to keep busy.

I recently acquired an Xserve RAID. It came with 7x 750GB IDE hard drives. I am intending to use those hard drives, but I would like to get 7 hard drive caddies for the other side and then convert them to SATA drives so that I can get newer, larger capacity, full 3.5" NAS drives in there. I'm wondering if anyone has tried to do this, and if so how did it turn out.

I have a couple methods that I have thought of doing, and I'm curious to what people think the best way to progress will be.

1.) (easiest) I get adapters and try to figure out how to rework the hard drive caddy so that they can fit the larger drives and use a SATA drive, but the board is still IDE based. We don't get any of the benefits of SATA, just the extra drive space.

2.) (hardest) I try to re-solder the motherboard where the IDE connectors were, and replace them with SATA connectors and just buy SATA extensions and then connect the cables to the existing caddies and try to find a way to keep the hard drive status lights. My only fear with this is that if I put a bunch of drives in there that are 8TBs, it won't see all of the drive and just show me a fraction of the storage's capacity. Also, I don't even know if this would be possible. I haven't taken a look at the board yet, but I would have to assume this wouldn't be easy to do, just fun.

Does anyone know anything about these options, or other ways to incorporate new SATA drives with the former Xserve RAID? Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks!
 

reukiodo

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2013
294
134
Earth
Isn't there also a check of the drive's firmware? I am pretty sure not just any disk will be accepted to work.
 

hobowankenobi

macrumors 65816
Aug 27, 2015
1,481
486
on the land line mr. smith.
When I ran xserve RAIDs...I was able to put non-Apple PATA drives in them. The only downside was the lights did not work as expected on the trays, and some of the stats (hours of use, etc) were blank. No stability or data issues.
 

mav2287

macrumors newbie
Jul 10, 2015
11
8
I have a 14tb ( 12tb usable as it is raid 5 ) Apple Xserve Raid with SATA drives. You have to use 2.5 inch drives and PATA to SATA adapters. I tried A LOT of different adapters and was only ever to reliably use the ones from star tech. I have never actually trie putting in a driver bigger than 1tb, but everything out there says it won’t read it.
 

reukiodo

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2013
294
134
Earth
Very interesting... so you have 14 PATA to SATA adapters, one for each bay? And 14 laptop-sized SATA hard drives?

Are all the adapters from Startech?
Are all the lapyop SATA HDs the same? And which one(s)?
 

Hrududu

macrumors 68020
Jul 25, 2008
2,216
496
Central US
Similar solution for me too. I ended up with 500GB 2.5 drives because going 1TB was pretty expensive. I just bought some lot of PATA to SATA adapters on eBay and they work perfectly. All lights work too. IMO, the adapter with 2.5” drives really is the easiest solution in 2020 as PATA drives are rare and expensive.
 
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Steven*

macrumors newbie
Oct 11, 2019
10
12
Brussels, Belgium
Similar solution for me too. I ended up with 500GB 2.5 drives because going 1TB was pretty expensive. I just bought some lot of PATA to SATA adapters on eBay and they work perfectly. All lights work too. IMO, the adapter with 2.5” drives really is the easiest solution in 2020 as PATA drives are rare and expensive.
Do you have a brand name and type of those adapters?
 

ezylstra

macrumors member
Oct 7, 2017
50
17
1TB Seagate Constellation.2 drives. They are double the thickness of standard 2.5" drives. They are pretty cheap because they won't fit in any notebook. You can get adapters from China for less than $3 each, but you need to get adapters that are 15mm, not taller, otherwise your caddies won't slide properly. Also check to confirm the PATA/SATA adapters have an insulating pad to prevent shorting against the drive.

In the end, this will cost you more than buying a single 14TB drive in an external case--in power consumption alone.
 
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