Question SATA port questions & 5.25" bay upgrade options

Giterdunn

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Oct 4, 2016
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It's time to upgrade my system and I'm looking for more storage. It's an MSI Z-170A Pro motherboard, I5-6500, 16gb ram, GTX1060 6gb. My current storage is a plextor 512gb M.2 SSD (boot disc-Win&), 1tb WD disc & 3tb Toshiba disc. I was running a 4th disc, a white label 3tb that just crapped out, and I have a 6tb ultrastar on the way after going through 3 toshiba N300 4tb's that were all DOA and I finally got my money back for.
I have 3 questions:
1. My board has 6 SATA ports, 1,2,5,&6 are part of x2 SATA express ports and 3&4 are standalone. My board manual has a chart showing which ports are excluded in certain situations, in my case 1&2 are excluded because my M.2 is running SATA. It says if my M.2 drive is PCIE then 5&6 would be excluded. Before my last disk went out I had the 2 3tb discs in port 5&6, 1tb disc in #3 and a blu-ray burner in #4. When my ultrastar 6tb comes in the setup will be the same. So it would appear that my drive capacity is full, but my question is is there any way to use SATA 1&2 if I use them as SATA express. The chart in the manual shows SATAe #1 as available when the M.2 is in use as a SATA drive, even though SATAe#1 is comprised of SATA ports 1&2, which it says are excluded due to the M.2. At first I thought this might be a typo but then I remembered that the manual says SATA 1&2 are excluded because the M.2 uses their SATA lanes, and since SATAe uses PCIE I'm thinking it might be possible, but I want a second opinion before I buy.

2. If I can use the Sata Express port, are there any drives available? I can't seem to find any. The closest I've found is an x2 M.2 RAID 2.5" enclosure that plugs into the SATAe port. My board manual says the SATAe runs PCIe3.0x2, so I'm assuming as long as the M.2's used are also X2 and not the newer X4 then they should work, correct?

3. I want to expand my available ports on the front of the case. Right now I have x2 USB2.0 headers and x1 USB3.1gen1 headers available on the board, while a 2nd 3.1 header is occupied by the case's factory power switch/IO panel that has 2 USB3.1 ports. I've looked at every 5.25bay panel on amazon and newegg, none seem to have all the features I want. What I want is to fully utilize my available ports (x4USB2/x2USB3) and add 1 or 2 USB-C ports. No product I've seen does this in one bay, its either a bunch of 2.0's and x2 3.0's, or x2 3.0's & x1or2 USB-C. I'd be willing to give up the factory front panel's 2 ports to gain a USB-C, or to settle for having the C on the new panel but with less 3.1 ports, while keeping the case ports. Does anybody know of a panel that does it all, or is my best option to build a custom panel with an internal hub and a punch of bulkhead mount ports?
 
1. but my question is is there any way to use SATA 1&2
With M.2 drive you loose 2 sata ports.
Since your M.2 drive is sata drive, you could use M.2 sata adapter and connect your M.2 drive to sata port. This way additional sata port becomes available. But you can't use M.2 port on motherboard then.

2. If I can use the Sata Express port, are there any drives available?
Forget about using sata express. Useless/dead technology.
3. What I want is to fully utilize my available ports (x4USB2/x2USB3) and add 1 or 2 USB-C ports.
USB-C front panel.


USB 2.0 x4 front panel.
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