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Optical drive install advice? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I asked this elsewhere and got no response. The answer may be "You're out of luck" but perhaps someone can suggest a reasonable workaround:
    _________

    I just converted an HP Slimline s3100n to WHS server duty. The motherboard has 2 SATA connections, a PCI32 slot, and a PCI Express x16 slot. One of the two SATA ports is connected to the system drive. The other is connected to a 5.25" DVD drive, which I plan to remove. I'll use this 5.25"-to-3.5" mounting bracket and replace the DVD with a 1 TB WD Caviar Green drive. To fill the slimline optical drive slot, I have an old laptop IDE combo drive. This adapter converts the laptop IDE connector to a standard IDE connector.

    Unfortunately, I have no IDE connectors on the motherboard. I could buy a combo IDE/eSATA controller card for the single PCI slot, but I plan to add a NIC that support GB speeds in that slot. I want GB speeds to support storage of HD movies on the WHS, for playback through a WMC HTPC. That HTPC will have a GB NIC and is on the same GB switch.

    What I'm left with is the PCI Express x16. My understanding is I can't plug a PCI32 card into a PCI Express x16 slot and expect it to work. Correct? If that would work, I'd get a combination IDE/SATA/eSATA card. That would support the IDE drive and future external drives, if that ever happened.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for workarounds? Is my plan to supplement on-board 100MBit NIC with the GB NIC unnecessary? I'm doing that on the advice of others who have experience with HTPCs, and HD playback. It's certainly not necessary for streaming video off the web, since that's slower than 10MB, anyway.

    I know I can create a bootable USB and install/restore WHS from there, but an optical drive would be nice.

    Thanks in advance.
    Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:34 AM

Answers

  • I've got this solved. What I did not know is that PCI-E x1 is compatible with a PCI-E x16 slot. (My motherboard may shut off the on-board video when something is in the PCI-E slot, but I don't care, since I have no monitor connected.)

    By using a PCI-E x1 (etc.) Gigabit LAN adapter, it frees the PCI slot for a SATA/eSATA/IDE PCI controller. All are cheap and avoid the need for the IDE-to-SATA convertor, and I get an eSATA to boot.
    • Marked as answer by ChrisCowles Tuesday, February 16, 2010 3:19 AM
    Tuesday, February 16, 2010 3:19 AM

All replies

  • I asked this elsewhere and got no response. The answer may be "You're out of luck" but perhaps someone can suggest a reasonable workaround:
    _________

    I just converted an HP Slimline s3100n to WHS server duty. The motherboard has 2 SATA connections, a PCI32 slot, and a PCI Express x16 slot. One of the two SATA ports is connected to the system drive. The other is connected to a 5.25" DVD drive, which I plan to remove. I'll use this 5.25"-to-3.5" mounting bracket and replace the DVD with a 1 TB WD Caviar Green drive. To fill the slimline optical drive slot, I have an old laptop IDE combo drive. This adapter converts the laptop IDE connector to a standard IDE connector.

    Unfortunately, I have no IDE connectors on the motherboard. I could buy a combo IDE/eSATA controller card for the single PCI slot, but I plan to add a NIC that support GB speeds in that slot. I want GB speeds to support storage of HD movies on the WHS, for playback through a WMC HTPC. That HTPC will have a GB NIC and is on the same GB switch.

    What I'm left with is the PCI Express x16. My understanding is I can't plug a PCI32 card into a PCI Express x16 slot and expect it to work. Correct? If that would work, I'd get a combination IDE/SATA/eSATA card. That would support the IDE drive and future external drives, if that ever happened.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for workarounds? Is my plan to supplement on-board 100MBit NIC with the GB NIC unnecessary?

    I can tell you that I can stream 720p videos and recorded HD television shows recorded on my Media Center PC to my XBox 360 without a problem (and that's using wireless with only a 100 Mb LAN setup).  Even 1080p videos to my 360 work sometimes (although i don't rely too heavily on that).

    I'm doing that on the advice of others who have experience with HTPCs, and HD playback. It's certainly not necessary for streaming video off the web, since that's slower than 10MB, anyway.

    I know I can create a bootable USB and install/restore WHS from there, but an optical drive would be nice.

    Thanks in advance.
    To be honest, I wouldn't consider using that (or any slimline) computer in the first place as there is very little room for expansion in those boxes.  You can see that by simply by looking at all of the modifications you'll have to do just to get a second hard drive installed...
    Tuesday, February 16, 2010 1:55 AM
    Moderator
  • To be honest, I wouldn't consider using that (or any slimline) computer in the first place as there is very little room for expansion in those boxes.  You can see that by simply by looking at all of the modifications you'll have to do just to get a second hard drive installed...
    Actually, I expect it to work well, with the exception of lacking an optical drive. I don't plan to expand the drive pool past the 1.5 TB I'll have, in the foreseeable future. If I'm unable to connect the IDE DVD, oh, well. This box will work until such time as an upgrade is necessary. I wish it had a native GB NIC onboard, but I'm not going to spend more than absolutely necessary.

    Chris
    Tuesday, February 16, 2010 2:05 AM
  • Actually, just ran across this IDE-to-SATA mini convertor: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812206002&Tpk=RC-204. That makes the IDE connector not longer an issue. Now to find a cheap SATA controller. I've read that a PCI-E x4 will work in an x16 slot, albeit slower. Since I'm only interested in an optical drive, I don't care.

    I found this, but it's not available as a low-profile. <smile> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816151027
    Tuesday, February 16, 2010 2:51 AM
  • I've got this solved. What I did not know is that PCI-E x1 is compatible with a PCI-E x16 slot. (My motherboard may shut off the on-board video when something is in the PCI-E slot, but I don't care, since I have no monitor connected.)

    By using a PCI-E x1 (etc.) Gigabit LAN adapter, it frees the PCI slot for a SATA/eSATA/IDE PCI controller. All are cheap and avoid the need for the IDE-to-SATA convertor, and I get an eSATA to boot.
    • Marked as answer by ChrisCowles Tuesday, February 16, 2010 3:19 AM
    Tuesday, February 16, 2010 3:19 AM