Add a second HD to Dell Optiplex GX280?

By BrianB ยท 15 replies
Nov 12, 2010
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  1. Last night I opened it up to see where a second drive would go and I don't really see an obvious spot for one. Nor do I see connectors around where the current hard drive is. Does anyone know if this PC can accept a second HD?
  2. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    It can if you remove the floppy drive and mount the hard drive in that spot. You'll need to use an IDE cable with two connectors and use it for the CD/DVD and the new hard drive. I don't recall if there was a SATA connection on the motherboard, if so that would be the way to go.
  3. BrianB

    BrianB TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 39

    The existing HD is SATA I was hoping the second one would be too. But I don't see spare cable just lying there. So if I take out the floppy dirve and put the 2nd HD there am I using the connectors that the floppy drive is using now? I assume I need to go out and get an IDE hardrive? I don't see any spare connectors inside at all.
  4. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    If there is only one SATA connector on the motherboard then you need to add an IDE drive in the way that I described.
  5. pjamme

    pjamme TS Enthusiast Posts: 208

    Is this small form factor? Certainly sounds like it is
    The few I have seen had heating issues, you might consider replacing current HD with larger capacity.
    We have several of the GX280 here, but they are no Small form factor and i have added a second SATA hard drive to a couple of them withiout issue.
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,520

    Why would you expect to see a second " >> CABLE <<" lying there? The SATA power connector should be on the power supply cables, and the SATA data cable would come with the new HDD, or have to be purchased by you, if you buy an OEM, (bare) drive.

    If the PSU doesn't have another SATA power connector, an adapter can be purchased to convert one of the spare 4 pin molex connectors to SATA power.

    Trace the SATA data cable from your existing HDD to the board. If there are other SATA ports on the board, they'll be right next to the one that's being used by the system drive.

    You sound pretty new at this, so I suggest to take the time to research proper anti-static procedure for working inside a computer, before you go off half cocked and blow something up.

    Oh, and if all else fails, read the directions;
  7. BrianB

    BrianB TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 39

    I've never added a second SATA drive. They last time I added a second drive was IDE I believe and the ribbon cable has just lying there awaiting to be used. So that's why I though the SATA cable would be the same. But in light of what was said above about heat, I think I will take that advice and just replace the one existing one with a bigger one. I could use the second connector on the IDE cable for the DVD drive as this model doesn't have a second SATA port but it's more work than is necessary for such an old machine. Just trying to extend the live of the lil bugger.
  8. BrianB

    BrianB TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 39

    Yes you are probably right. I've seen these SATA-USB conversion adapters that come with cloning software that makes the transfer of the old drive to the new drive really easy (apparetnly) Do you recommend a model of brand?
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,520

    Yes, this turkey does in fact, have only one SATA port. You could also look at PCI SATA expansion cards. This assumes of course, that the PCI socket is not being used for a modem or such. The cheapies will do the trick. Dell's diagrams do show a space in the drive holder for the addition of a second HDD. or (?)
  10. BrianB

    BrianB TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 39

    I have the small desktop version of the Dell Optiplex GX 280. The link you were wondering if I bothered to look at in your snarky pre-edited reply was for the minitower verson.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,520

    Wow, two different computers with the same designation, even Emachines doesn't do that. Maybe I should send a snarky email to Dell about that.

    WD has taken to giving out free versions of "Acronis True Image" with their drives. This would enable you to transfer your data to a new (WD) drive. Acronis is considered by many to be the best HDD imaging software around.

    In your situation, I might even consider an external HDD, assuming that you're looking to expand storage. This would be a boon if the Dell decided to call it quits, of if you decided to replace it, just pull the plug on the drive and head to the new computer with it.

    With your plan, the advantage I see, is that a newer high capacity drive would most likely have better access times, and therefore a better boot time. (Hopefully).

    HOWEVER, with only one SATA port on the motherboard, I'm not exactly sure how you would go about imaging one drive to the other, without an add in SATA controller card. Plan "B" might be using an external drive housing, on a temporary basis.
  12. BrianB

    BrianB TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 39

    Ok thanks I will look into Arcronis.

    I've seen where you can take your drive out and hook it up to a SATA - USB adapter and use you USB port to clone all your stuff on to the new SATA drive you install internally. This sounds about what I want to do. I'm sure Acronis makes the software that does this. And yes faster boot times would be nice. This is a PC that was given to me (along with the Dell Precision 490 I posted about in the other thread) so I'm just trying to make the most of these.
  13. hughva

    hughva TS Rookie Posts: 58

    Two form factors, one model.

    In reading this, I didn't quite believe it, but:

    "The GX280 is now available in two new form factors to provide even more flexibility for use in corporate and institutional environments."

  14. BrianB

    BrianB TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 39

    Yes. And to make it even more interesting, my GX280 looks nothing like those.

    This is what it looks like:

  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,520

    OK then. The link you provided states that the 280 has "Intel 915 chipset". Intel didn't sell one of those boards or chipsets without 4 SATA ports.

    The only thing that I can imagine Dell is doing, is trying to provide continuity of purpose or price point with the attachment of the same model number.

    Sort of like, "oh, look, here's the new GX-280, it's way faster than ours, can we get one"?

    I should add that the aesthetics or your machine seem to fall in line with Dell desktops, circa model 4300. Line integration is likely a cause or purpose for the appearance of your machine. Basically a stylistically similar effort to making a Chevy Nova, bear a family resemblance to a Chevy Impala.

    Although (IMO), Dell might have had the foresight to include extra prefix and suffix letters in the model numbers for clarity's sake. IE; GX-280 MT (mini tower), or perhaps GXB-280DT, (B model, desktop).

    I should add that the Dell in my link had a case that looked like yours, only a tower. So it would seem, there are 4 usual suspects, and the number might still be growing, who knows.

    This just came up at Microcenter; But they're calling it a GX-270
  16. BrianB

    BrianB TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 39

    Then there should be at least another SATA for a second hard drive, it would seem. I'll have to open it up and look. I was looking for cables with connectors lying inside but I will see if there is an actual port on the board. Maybe I'll take a picture and post it just ot blow your minds!

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