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How to make my PC support more SATA drives?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Lee James, 30 Mar 2019.

  1. Lee James

    Associate

    Joined: 5 Jun 2017

    Posts: 23

    Location: UK

    Could anyone please advise me?

    My PC has 8 SATA power cables and 6 SATA data ports, meaning I can hook up a maximum of 6 SATA drives.

    Is there any way to increase this? Ideally I'd like to have about 14 or more?

    Just to explain the reason why I want to do this... I want to rip my entire CD collection. I've been putting this off as I have about 2,000 disks, so ripping them one at a time would take me weeks of solid work. Instead of doing it that way, I figured that I could buy a whole bunch of second-hand laptop CD drives, then rip like 10 at a time, with the drives hanging loosely out of my machine, using multiple instances of the ripping program EAC. Drive speed and ripping speed doesn't really matter, because changing and processing 10 disks at a time is FAR less hassle (only about 200 sessions in total).

    My PSU is the Corsair VX450W and my MB is the ASUS P7P55D (it's been a while since I built my PC, but it still works fine for me).

    My MB also has an eSATA port - I don't know much about this port, but I read somewhere that it "supports port multiplier up to four devices" allowing four devices to be added? Is this true? If so, how could I do this?

    Can anyone see any problems with my plan?

    Also, if there is a way to hook up like a dozen CD drives, could all these drives damage my hardware somehow, or screw up my system? Is there a limit to how much you can add? (I know there's a limit to drive letters but I shouldn't need 26.) It will only be a temporary setup, but still, I don't want to damage anything.
     
  2. Zefan

    Don

    Joined: 15 Jan 2006

    Posts: 30,132

    Location: Tosche Station

    You can get PCI-E sata expansion cards, although I think you might have more luck simply using USB drives. They at least only require one cable to provide both power and data connection as opposed to the faff of sata.
     
  3. DeanT77

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 2 Oct 2011

    Posts: 1,176

    Location: Wodensbyri

    A jbod enclosure? At least that way it's one usb (plus power cable) but it can hold a number of drives.
     
  4. bremen1874

    Capodecina

    Joined: 20 Oct 2008

    Posts: 11,440

    Laptop drives are less likely to give perfect rips.
    Laptop drives would require adapters to connect to standard SATA ports.
     
  5. Lee James

    Associate

    Joined: 5 Jun 2017

    Posts: 23

    Location: UK

    Oooh. Thank you, all three of you, for these great answers! I'm really glad I asked now.

    Thanks for the warning about laptop drives. I assumed they were all interchangeable! I guess not.

    I didn't even know USB CD drives existed. This does indeed seem like a much better solution! The JBOD idea sounds good too, though I want the cheapest possible option as it's only temporary.
     
  6. Lee James

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    Joined: 5 Jun 2017

    Posts: 23

    Location: UK

    OK the jbod idea is a bit too pricey so I'm discarding that.

    I'm planning now to buy a bunch of USB CD drives. (My case has plenty of free USB slots.)

    If it's easy enough to do though, I'd still like to get a few extra SATA ports using an eSATA expansion card, like Zefan said. But I've really no idea what specs to look for in buying a card like this???
     
  7. EsaT

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 6 Jun 2008

    Posts: 8,635

    Location: Finland

    I guess it wouldn't be problem in your usage scenario.
    But if accelerating simultaneously more drives could cause rather heavy 5V current draw stressing what motherboard can give out from USB ports.
     
  8. Mik3

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 2,903

    Location: Andromeda

    You could plug a few into your motherboard and get a powered USB hub for the rest. DVD drives are around 6w so a cheap 40-50W USB hub will power a good number of them.
     
  9. Lee James

    Associate

    Joined: 5 Jun 2017

    Posts: 23

    Location: UK

    Absolutely FANTASTIC advice from every single commenter here. Thanks so much guys! Really appreciated! :)

    I definitely want to use a USB hub now. I've just had a look at some models, and notice a lot of the cheaper ones don't seem to have AC power adapters (even though they say "powered"). I'm guessing these models just draw power from the computer? So I should make sure I get one which clearly shows a separate power adapter?
     
  10. Lee James

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    Joined: 5 Jun 2017

    Posts: 23

    Location: UK

    I've just noticed that all the USB optical drives seem to require TWO USB ports - one for data and one for power. That's a pity!
     
  11. Zefan

    Don

    Joined: 15 Jan 2006

    Posts: 30,132

    Location: Tosche Station

    That isn't true. I use ones in work Daily that use only one cable, they're Samsung but I'm certain other manufacturers will have single cable drives.
     
  12. Lee James

    Associate

    Joined: 5 Jun 2017

    Posts: 23

    Location: UK

    Oh OK, thanks. That's really helpful info! :)
     
  13. skyripper

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 19 Jul 2011

    Posts: 2,094

    Check the max speed for the different drive types you are looking at.
    My full size bluray drive for example rips about twice as fast as the laptop DVD drive.
    But then my slot-load bluray [again in a laptop size] is slower for DVDs than either of them.
    Also check that any cheap laptop USB drives arent USB2 as you'll be wanting USB3 these days (especially if buying a number of them to plug into a power hub)
     
  14. Lee James

    Associate

    Joined: 5 Jun 2017

    Posts: 23

    Location: UK

    Thanks Skyripper.

    I had figured that USB 2.0 would be more than sufficient, since it provides 480mbps, while I'll only be transferring data at about 20mbps (approx 5 mins to rip a 700 meg CD). But I could have got my calculations wrong?
     
  15. skyripper

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 19 Jul 2011

    Posts: 2,094

    CDs are about 700MB, DVDs about 7GB and Blu-ray's much more. Which is probably when USB2 Vs USB3 would really be a factor.

    So no, you're not wrong :)
     
  16. d_brennen

    Capodecina

    Joined: 30 Jan 2009

    Posts: 15,853

    Location: Aquilonem Londinensi

    I think using 52x internal drives might actually be faster, even if you're using less off then. Hanging lots of USB drives off a hub sounds SLOOOOW to me.

    If you're spending money you could well get a second hand full tower office PC and fill it with as many cheap used CD drives you can, then rip to a network share on your main PC, also filled to the brim with eBay CD drives... Then sell the lot on again after its done.

    That or pay someone to do it for you on Fiverr :p
     
  17. Lee James

    Associate

    Joined: 5 Jun 2017

    Posts: 23

    Location: UK

    LOL, thanks brennen. Some nice ideas there.

    Great advice from everyone here! Thank you all.

    And there sure are a lot of Italian dudes in this forum! :D
     
  18. d_brennen

    Capodecina

    Joined: 30 Jan 2009

    Posts: 15,853

    Location: Aquilonem Londinensi

    So... be sure to let us know how you achieve this epic CD ripathon :p Someone, somewhere, will be searching for a similar solution and no one likes coming across dead end threads with no closure
     
  19. LuckyBenski

    Mobster

    Joined: 28 Dec 2017

    Posts: 4,809

    Location: London

    Is EAC automated @Lee James ? I've been ripping my DVD collection using a software setup called ARM. It's configured to rip, grab the title etc from online, and then encode to a more efficient file format.

    It spits out the disc when it's done ripping so I can feed it DVDs all night then it completes the transcoding overnight :)
     
  20. Lee James

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    Joined: 5 Jun 2017

    Posts: 23

    Location: UK

    Yes, will do! :) At the minute I'm still mulling over the best course of action. I don't want to have to spend too much on drives (even though I'll hopefully re-sell them) and all the cheap USB drives I've seen require dual USB cables (one for power, one for data).

    First of all, I don't believe there is anything that can compare with EAC in terms of accuracy and meticulousness of rip. Other programs might be easier to use and more convenient, but EAC is the only program used and recommended at Hydrogenaudio, the community of audio experts. So I guess it depends how anal you are about ripping accuracy.

    I've used EAC for nearly 20 years now and wouldn't want to use anything else. Information and guides on using it can be found here:
    https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=EAC

    As for whether it's "automatic". It is in many ways, although the ripping of each disc does require 5 user interactions:

    • 1. Put the disc in
    • 2. Press Alt+G to look up the disc on the Freedb database and retrieve the tagging information
    • 3. Select the database entry you want to use (if there are multiple entries)
    • 4. Press Shift+F5 to begin extraction and compression
    • [extraction and compression begins, using the directory structure specified in the prefs]
    • 5. After extraction, you get a report of whether there were any errors, and you can either examine the errors or click "OK" to ignore this and proceed.
    • [disc is automatically ejected]

    An additional step would be if you used EAC's cover artwork feature. I don't use it because I don't think it's very good. It has a very limited database, embeds artwork within the files (which I hate), and it only saves front covers, instead of all the artwork, artist photos, etc.

    For album artwork, I personally prefer to use the Discogs plugin for Foobar2k. It's a very powerful tagging tool, though using it is often a slow process, involving loading lists of artists and releases. What I like about the plugin is that it tags your albums with artist and release ID codes. Once your albums have this, you can automatically update all your albums' tags and artwork at a later date.

    But my plan is to get all the CDs ripped now and then worry about art at a later stage! :) (Hopefully at some point before I die LOL)
     
    Last edited: 3 Apr 2019