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Windows 7: Running out of USB ports! Help!

04 May 2016   #11
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

My Hotswap bays fit in the front of the computer in the 5 1/4 in. bays and hook to normal sata and power connection. Their is a list of them here.

https://www.google.com/#q=Hotswap+bay

You can install drives or remove them as needed or desired.
You can also do it without turning off the computer.

A little video.




My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
04 May 2016   #12
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

If by chance you don't have Hotswap ability in bios you just turn off the computer and then swap the drives. As far as I know this will work. I don't have a system I can test it on.

I would also suggest if you keep the drives in the bays and use them a lot adding a fan that blows on them because they do get hotter in such a enclosed space.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2016   #13
yankleber

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

That's very cool, fellows!



I had something alike several years ago for IDE drives and of course they weren't hot swap. At that time I had to screw the drives into a male drawer and then slide the drawer inside the female part. Seems to me that those new ones do NOT have a male part and the HD is slipped directly into the bay?

I found on an online store near to me a nice hot swap device from a brand called 'Akasa' that goes into the computer case 3.5" and comes with two 2.5" bays.

Here's a pic of it:

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
To use a hot swap bay, you have to be able to enable hot swap in the MOBO's BIOS.
This is a VERY important point. I will check my BIOS although my computer is not too old (a bit less than a 2 and a half year).

Thanks a lot for the tips!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

04 May 2016   #14
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by yankleber View Post
Well, what a quite lot of awesome inputs!



At this point I already ordered the USB card, but it was cheap (something around $20) so if it doesn't work as expected it won't be a total disaster. I really didn't know that a USB PCIE expansion didn't have its own power, this is absolutely a big shame!

After to be aware of it I am anticipating that I may have problems just because I am willing to plug there exactly the devices I don't swap all the time and that coincidentally are the more power starving (HDDs).

Now I got interested on the 'hot swap' stuff. I never heard about them till now, but you definitively got my attention. This is something that can be attached to any computer or does it demands some kind of special setup in the case?
Four HDDs won't be throttled any, if at all, by the limited bandwidth of the card you ordered, especially if you aren't reading or writing to all of them at the same time.

The one limitation you do have to worry about is if the USB ports get enough power. If the card has a power port (usually 4 pin Molex or, increasingly, SATA power), make sure you connect it to the PSU. If there is no power port, you may be out of luck.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2016   #15
alphaniner

Windows 7 Professional x64, Arch Linux
 
 

Regarding hot-swap enclosures: Not all motherboards will have a "hot swap" option in BIOS. The most important thing is that the SATA controller must be set to AHCI or RAID mode. If this is the case, you have SATA hot-swap support. Check out wikipedia AHCI page for more info.

But, since all yankleber's external drives are USB I'm not sure hot-swap enclosures are appropriate. Some USB enclosures can be disassembled and contain a normal SATA drive inside, but that's not always the case.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned: you (yankleber) may have unused USB headers on your motherboard, and all you need to access those is something like this. Check eBay, USB 2 stuff is practically being given away these days.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2016   #16
yankleber

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
If by chance you don't have Hotswap ability in bios you just turn off the computer and then swap the drives. As far as I know this will work. I don't have a system I can test it on.
If my BIOS doesn't have this ability I will really prefer to stick to the USB option. I hate when I have to reboot my computer. It is fast (around 8 seconds for a full boot) but the problem is that I use to keep several apps and browser tabs opened so a simple off-on can be a real pain.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2016   #17
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by yankleber View Post
That's very cool, fellows!



I had something alike several years ago for IDE drives and of course they weren't hot swap. At that time I had to screw the drives into a male drawer and then slide the drawer inside the female part. Seems to me that those new ones do NOT have a male part and the HD is slipped directly into the bay?

I found on an online store near to me a nice hot swap device from a brand called 'Akasa' that goes into the computer case 3.5" and comes with two 2.5" bays.

Here's a pic of it:

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
To use a hot swap bay, you have to be able to enable hot swap in the MOBO's BIOS.
This is a VERY important point. I will check my BIOS although my computer is not too old (a bit less than a 2 and a half year).

Thanks a lot for the tips!

The male part you are referring to is called a tray (sometimes, a sled or a caddy). The examples I showed are trayless but there are still some that use trays (I recently bought some 4-2.5" bays that use trays for a future case but I won't be removing them very often). For frequent hot swapping, the trayless versions are better.

It's highly likely you will be able to enable hot swap on a computer as young as yours.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2016   #18
yankleber

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
Four HDDs won't be throttled any, if at all, by the limited bandwidth of the card you ordered, especially if you aren't reading or writing to all of them at the same time.

The one limitation you do have to worry about is if the USB ports get enough power. If the card has a power port (usually 4 pin Molex or, increasingly, SATA power), make sure you connect it to the PSU. If there is no power port, you may be out of luck.
That's good to know. Normally in most of times I will be accessing two of those HDs for a few minutes while I refuel my TV pendrives with movies. Actually at this time I will need just ONE extra port for the new HD so probably I will be fine. Regarding the fourth HD, that I use for safety backup of my work, I prefer to keep it off and just plug it when I update the copies and when I need to rescue something from there, and then I can plug it into one of the front ports.



By the picture of the card, yup, it seems to have that ugly 4-pin molex plug. Look:



So I think that I won't run out of power...



This way seems to me that the only advantage on use a hot swap bay over the USB is that I would be able to get the full speed of SATA. Since these HDs are only for store my personal collection of favorite movies and series and they are used to feed pendrives that I use on TV there is not a point on speed up the transference ratio once the pendrives will be a bottleneck anyway.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2016   #19
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by alphaniner View Post
Regarding hot-swap enclosures: Not all motherboards will have a "hot swap" option in BIOS. The most important thing is that the SATA controller must be set to AHCI or RAID mode. If this is the case, you have SATA hot-swap support. Check out wikipedia AHCI page for more info.

But, since all yankleber's external drives are USB I'm not sure hot-swap enclosures are appropriate. Some USB enclosures can be disassembled and contain a normal SATA drive inside, but that's not always the case.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned: you (yankleber) may have unused USB headers on your motherboard, and all you need to access those is something like this. Check eBay, USB 2 stuff is practically being given away these days.
Excellent points (I'm having a DOH! moment) although I wouldn't buy from that link on Newegg; that is for a Marketplace vendor, not Newegg, and is a little flaky. Easier alternatives would be to get add-on USB ports mounted to a PCI bracket, such as this one:

Running out of USB ports! Help!-usb1.jpg

These are also available in two port versions if you have only one USB header available. Here is a link to several choices on eBay. If you have an unused USB 3.0 header available, you can also get these brackets in USB 3.0.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2016   #20
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by yankleber View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
Four HDDs won't be throttled any, if at all, by the limited bandwidth of the card you ordered, especially if you aren't reading or writing to all of them at the same time.

The one limitation you do have to worry about is if the USB ports get enough power. If the card has a power port (usually 4 pin Molex or, increasingly, SATA power), make sure you connect it to the PSU. If there is no power port, you may be out of luck.
That's good to know. Normally in most of times I will be accessing two of those HDs for a few minutes while I refuel my TV pendrives with movies. Actually at this time I will need just ONE extra port for the new HD so probably I will be fine. Regarding the fourth HD, that I use for safety backup of my work, I prefer to keep it off and just plug it when I update the copies and when I need to rescue something from there, and then I can plug it into one of the front ports.



By the picture of the card, yup, it seems to have that ugly 4-pin molex plug. Look:



So I think that I won't run out of power...



This way seems to me that the only advantage on use a hot swap bay over the USB is that I would be able to get the full speed of SATA. Since these HDs are only for store my personal collection of favorite movies and series and they are used to feed pendrives that I use on TV there is not a point on speed up the transference ratio once the pendrives will be a bottleneck anyway.

That card probably will be fine for multiple USB powered HDDs. HDDs don't run at the full speed of SATA III so you probably wouldn't notice any slowdowns, if at all.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Running out of USB ports! Help!




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