Maximum drive size in a dock?


  1. Posts : 122
    Win 10 Pro x64 Ver 20H2
       #1

    Maximum drive size in a dock?


    I have a Dell T3400 with SATA 3 drives internally, and an outboard drive dock connected via USB 3.0. How can I determine the maximum drive size I can use in the dock?

    (Dell--and my own experience--say the internal drives can be up to 2 TB, but I don't know if that's a real max or just the max size drive available when they last tested this model.)
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  2. Posts : 5,829
    Win 11 Pro (x64) 21H2
       #2

    Not exactly clear on what you're asking, but if you can't rely on the info Dell gave you or the documentation provided, I'm not sure who could give you better. They should know seeing it's their machine.

    Maybe you could clarify the question?
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  3. Posts : 6,968
    windows 10
       #3

    There are 2 things dell and the interface either could have a limit
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  4. Posts : 3,677
    Windows 11 Pro 64 Bit 21H2
       #4

    If you have drives larger the 2TB in the Dell Computer already, then the Dock should be able to read the same size drive unless the Dock itself has size limitations.
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  5. Posts : 122
    Win 10 Pro x64 Ver 20H2
    Thread Starter
       #5

    I only have 2-TB drives (and smaller ones), but have no laarger ones to try in the dock or internal slots.
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  6. Posts : 9,882
    Windows 10 Home 64bit Version 21H2
       #6

    Newmaven said:
    I have a Dell T3400 with SATA 3 drives internally, and an outboard drive dock connected via USB 3.0. How can I determine the maximum drive size I can use in the dock?

    (Dell--and my own experience--say the internal drives can be up to 2 TB, but I don't know if that's a real max or just the max size drive available when they last tested this model.)
    Internal drive size limitations imposed by the PC has no relevance to the dock. Check the specification of your dock and it will tell you the maximum capacity it can handle, bay wise and total capacity. In older docks each bay can take only 2TB drives and if you use a drive larger than 2TB in such docks on completion of 2TB the data will wrap around and result in data loss. Modern docks can handle drives larger than 2TB in each bay within the total maximum capacity. So it is absolutely essential to check your dock specifications - the maximum capacity per bay and total capacity the dock can handle. Of course those are interrelated.
    Last edited by jumanji; 24 Mar 2017 at 09:22.
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  7. Posts : 122
    Win 10 Pro x64 Ver 20H2
    Thread Starter
       #7

    Thanks. Now to dig up the specs and see if they include this info.
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  8. Posts : 11,203
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #8

    Hi there

    You need to know the spec of the dock -- also when using LARGE Capacity HDD's e,g > 2TB ensure the power supply is adequate and there is sufficient cooling for the HDD's -- especially if you have say 4 HDD's in a small dock.

    The better docks have decent software built in to them so depending on how you use the dock you can set these up usually as "JBOD --just a bunch of Disks", RAID or individual HDD's even though there's only a single USB3 connection to the computer.

    The computer will know what HDD's are being used via "Port replication" or something similar --it's standard in Windows so you don't have to install anything.

    I find the best way is to use either as JBOD or discrete HDD's and then use SOFTWARE RAID . On Windows where there isn't a decent software RAID system you can use Storage spaces -- that works as a sort of "Software RAID" which is usually a lot better than the cheap RAID controllers some of these docks have built in.

    I'm using a Star tech 4 bay dock with 4 X 3TB HDD's in a single (software) RAID 0 configuration -- I have enough backup so this solution is fine and gives me decent speed on USB 3 (300 - 400 Mib/s) which is just fine for external HDD's. The dock is attached to a Linux VM running from a Windows Host (W10 Pro). I pass the entire device to the VM and share it back with the Host via SAMBA on the Linux VM. The raid system is the Linux RAID package (mdadm) - but if you only want Windows then use the storage spaces.

    Windows NTFS is a hideous file system once you start using large HDD's -- much better to use storage spaces. Linux EXT4 is much better still but that's another issue -- what is STILL a problem though in Windows - is the folder + file name length of 128 chars -- on some nested folders with multi media stuff and decently tagged music it's easy to come up against that file name length restriction.

    (Only use RAID 0 though if you have backup - because if any HDD in the array fails you lose the lot -- however HDD's are very reliable these days and speed is IMO far more important than data safety if you have a proper backup.)

    Cheers
    jimbo
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