SSD in OptiPlex 9020 SFF - Caddy or direct?

arunphilip

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I've purchased a Dell OptiPlex 9020 Small Form Factor desktop, which came with a HDD and no optical drive. There is a standard SATA data cable and a slimline 6-pin power cable for an ODD however.

I'd like to install an SSD, while retaining the HDD, and am unsure which approach to take:

    ■ Option 1: Use an optical caddy to connect the SSD - and utilize the provided cables.
    ■ Option 2: Use a Y cable to split the power going to the HDD to power the HDD & SSD, and use the provided data cable
    ■ Option 3: Find an adapter to convert the slimline 6-pin power connector to a standard 15-pin SATA power connector (I've not been able to find one, however)


I ask this because for option 1, the caddy comes with a pass through for the data pins, but I don't want that to affect data transfers in any way (I've heard of people having occasional freeze-ups, or high CPU usage with caddies).

Option 2 only splits the power and does not introduce anything for the data cables, so any reasonable quality cable will suffice, hence is something I'm leaning towards.

Option 3 does not exist, AFAIK.

What would you recommend be the appropriate way forward?
 

drtweak

Illustrious
Hi,

I work a lot with dells and we have been getting a lot of the SFF's for clients lately because they are nice and compact.

These ones don't have a lot of space in them. When dell ships a PC with a SSD they have a special adapter that can fit two of them that they put in the existing blue hard drive caddy but since your looking to add (or so it sounds like) Then that poses as a bit of a problem. besides the Slim Line Caddy's you may be able to put the hard drive below the exiting hard drive. You will need to get a SATA Y Adapter for power as they do not make the slimline to SATA power adapter (There is only a 5V power on these not the needed 5V, 12V, and 3.3V) so you won't find those.

Hope this helps.
 

drtweak

Illustrious
Hi,

I work a lot with dells and we have been getting a lot of the SFF's for clients lately because they are nice and compact.

These ones don't have a lot of space in them. When dell ships a PC with a SSD they have a special adapter that can fit two of them that they put in the existing blue hard drive caddy but since your looking to add (or so it sounds like) Then that poses as a bit of a problem. besides the Slim Line Caddy's you may be able to put the hard drive below the exiting hard drive. You will need to get a SATA Y Adapter for power as they do not make the slimline to SATA power adapter (There is only a 5V power on these not the needed 5V, 12V, and 3.3V) so you won't find those.

Hope this helps.
 

swissts

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Hello drtweak,

I just read your reply to arunphilip.
I just bought a Dell Optiplex 9020 SFF.
I would like to replace, the 3,5" HD with one or two SSD.
You mentionned an adapter that can be added to the existing HD caddy.

Do you have the references of that adapter?
Where can I buy it.

Thanks a lot for your answer,

Thomas


 

arunphilip

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An example of such an adapter to fix 2 2.5" HDDs/SSDs in place of a 3.5" HDD is this one at Amazon.

For info, what I've done is:

  • ■ Placed the SSD in the slimline optical cage (since I don't have an optical drive)
    ■ Placed a HDD in the 3.5" drive cage
    ■ Used a Y cable to split the single 15-pin SATA power cable that is provided into two, to power both the SSD and HDD
    ■ Used the provided SATA data cables for the SSD and HDD.
 

swissts

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Thanks for your answer ArunPhilip,

My plan is to keep the optical drive.

I suppose that the caddy you mention is compatible with the 9020 SFF. I mean the size of the caddy should be the exact same of the one in place. I that correct?

What other cables will I need? Y-Cable to split the power cable?
Is there a third SATA connector in the 9020 SFF? (2,5" HDD, 2,5" SDD and Optical Drive)

Thanks your help,
Thomas
 

arunphilip

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Hi Thomas,
If you plan on keeping the optical drive, and want to add 2 SSDs, then:

    ■ You'll need the caddy that I mentioned above - this is the size of a standard 3.5" HDD, so it will snap into the blue 3.5" HDD bracket that will be present in your OptiPlex. In essence, your SSDs will fit into the Vantec caddy, which will fit into the blue HDD bracket, which will fit into the metal drive cage.
    ■ You'll need a Y cable to split the power to both SSDs - there's currently only one 15-pin SATA power cable for the 3.5" bay that you will need to split into two, one for each SSD. The 9-pin slimline SATA power cable for the optical drive will be untouched and will continue to power the optical drive.
    ■ My OptiPlex shipped with 2 SATA data cables - one for the HDD and one for the optical drive. However, the SFF motherboard itself has 3 SATA ports (blue, black and white). So if you're using 2 SSDs and the optical drive, you'll need one more SATA data cable. Ensure these data cables are short, as space is at a premium in the case, and you wouldn't want a 1.5 foot long cable cluttering up the place.
    ■ Ensure that your boot drive is connected to SATA0 (blue port). The specifications for the OptiPlex 9020 SFF quote the SATA ports as being 6 Gbps, 3 Gbps and 1.5 Gbps which I presume are the SATA0 (blue), SATA1 (black) and SATA2 (white) ports respectively.
 

swissts

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Thank you very much for your answer. It solves my problem.
Regarding the caddy, I just bought this adapter as it fits in the caddy and alows 2 x 2,5" drives (Dell part number : R494D)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Optiplex-2-5-Hard-Drive-Tray-Caddy-HDD-to-SSD-R494D-F767D-/321496778427?
 

drtweak

Illustrious
Yea as arunphilip said get a 3.5 adapter that fits the two 2.5 inch SSD's. Depening on the adpater you may have to get a SATA Extention or something along those lines and a SATA cable with a 90 Degree angle on the end.

The one's that Dell ships out is the same way just their way. I don't know the part number of the caddy that well fits in the 3.5 in caddy because i've only have 2 machines with Dual SSD's in them. I've tried looking them up and can't find them anywhere.
 

khalidx

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Hello all. Can you arunphilip, please tell me how you were able to put the SSD in the optical drive. Did you use a special caddy? I tried to put there without any success.
 

arunphilip

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Hi khalidx,
In my case, I had not ordered an optical drive with the desktop, so I had a vacant space. Dell ships this with an empty ODD bracket (black in color, shown on the right of the following picture:

Picture source: http://www.dell.com/support/Manuals/in/en/inbsd1/Topic/optiplex-9020-desktop/OPT9020SFFOM-v1/en-us/GUID-75AE9F0F-C639-41C4-A920-9C75ECCC507A

I merely removed this bracket, placed the SSD in the exposed space (diagonally, to allow the cables to slip through the gap, and fitted back this black bracket. The SSD is held in place by the bracket (it won't fall out) but is not firmly gripped (which I don't mind, since I don't move the desktop).

Another option is to purchase a caddy (as listed in option 1 of my original post). Such a caddy will securely hold the SSD with screws, and the caddy in turn will firmly be held by the bracket. I didn't choose this option for the reason in the original post.
 

greghoward

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Arunphilip: You're saying you removed the optical drive from the mounting bracket and simply placed the SSD in the bracket? Did you just secure it with tape or something? I was looking at a caddy solution in a thread very similar to this, and I wanted to understand how you successfully managed this. Did you need additional cables or adapters, or that won't be a problem if I'm taking out the optical drive?

My thread: http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3514/t/19617840
The SSD I'm looking to put the 9020's OS on: http://www.amazon.com/PNY-240GB-6Gbps-2-5-Inch-SSD9SC240GMDA-RB/dp/B007WT9UXA
Caddy: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0056EW4A4
 

arunphilip

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Hello Greg, and congratulations on your new 9020 SFF!


I had not ordered my PC with an optical drive, so I didn't have to remove anything. There was only a plastic guide (the optical drive bracket) that would have held an optical drive that was already available.

I just placed my SSD inside that guide, so while its not loose within the entire case, it is loose within an area the size of an optical drive - I've not screwed the SSD onto anything, nor secured it using any tape/ties. Its loose, but since I move my PC very rarely, I'm fine (there are no vibrations/rattles introduced from either the 3.5" HDD or the graphics card I added on).

I did not fit a caddy since I was not comfortable with passing the data through the caddy's data pins - just a plain case of me not trusting that to perform as good as a direct SSD to SATA data cable connection, without dubious caddy electronics in the middle, potentially affecting or slowing down data.


The TL;DR version: you will need something to power the SSD, what comes from Dell is not enough. You won't need any SATA data cables, however.

Although I had not ordered an optical drive, I still got 2 SATA data cables, one going to the 3.5" HDD, and one not connected to anything. So I did not need to add any SATA data cables. I did swap the order around, since originally SATA0 went to the HDD and SATA1 was free. I switched them around such that SATA0 (at 6 Gbps) went to the SSD, and SATA1 to the HDD.

My PC also came with a 6-pin power cable, that will connect to an slimline optical drive. Now, SSDs and HDDs have a 15-pin SATA power connector, so the 6-pin cable won't do. The options are to either use a caddy (since that converts 6-pin to 15-pin power), or split the power going to the HDD (which is a 15-pin power cable) using a Y cable, similar to what I've linked to in my first post.

Since I had already decided against using a caddy, I chose the Y-cable. Since SSDs power consumption is lower than a 3.5" HDD, powering a HDD and an SSD off a single SATA power line is perfectly fine, I've not experienced any issues in the last half-year.

Let us know what you decide to do, and how it works out for you.
 

friendly1uk

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I have looked at the 9020 documentation and it is not as specific about the 3 sata channels as the documentation for the 7020 with it's very similar looking board. The 7020 documents tell us SATA0 is only 2.0 while both SATA 1&2 are 3.0

Quick look: http://s22.postimg.org/gnmr8ogwh/sata_Del.jpg
Source: http://images10.newegg.com/UploadFilesForNewegg/itemintelligence/DELL/OptiPlex_207020_20Technical_20Guidebook_20FINAL1453011796552.pdf

I'm here having just recieved a 7020 and picked up an 850 evo ssd I wish to run as a main drive with my OS on. Lets just presume I know nothing, but I read I should put the OS drive on the lowest sata channel, in this case sata0. I'm now baffled, as sata 2.0 won't support this drive speed, so either I accept the PC was terribly made or try using the wrong sata channel. I read I can swap them about in bios, but I have no idea which compromise I should make. Plug it in the first channel and have it run slow or plug it in the wrong channel and I dunno what happens.

I would like to add a hdd along with this ssd so have ordered the R494D your talking of. The adaptor to slip a pair of 2.5" drives in the 3.5" caddy.

I'm picturing the burner (a sata 1.5 device) in channel zero which supports (up to?) 2.0
My ssd in channel 1 which supports upto? 3.0
My later addition of a hdd in sata channel 2, the other 3.0 socket.


I did plug a pc together in the 90s but really I know very little about this. Just enough to know I know very little about this :)

I asked on the dell forum. You can imagine how far that got me. I think their still picking their jaws up.

Help! :)


edit: Quote: The specifications for the OptiPlex 9020 SFF quote the SATA ports as being 6 Gbps, 3 Gbps and 1.5 Gbps which I presume are the SATA0 (blue), SATA1 (black) and SATA2 (white) ports respectively.

Answer: SATA 3.0 is backwards compatible with 2.0 and 1.5 so a board with just a single sata channel can be 1.5 2.0 and 3.0 it is just a coincidence that all 3 standards are listed and 3 channels exist. My 7020 also lists all 3 standards. You can't actually have just 3.0 without 2.0 and 1.5
 

drtweak

Illustrious
Yea one channel is only SATA II 3G which is designed for the DVD Drive. Truth is they don't even need that. They still can't come close to maxing out even a SATA I connection yet.

Also Hard drive STILL can not max out a SATA II. The only really need for SATA III is for SSD's.

Now yes usually you want to use the lowest number but you do NOT have to. Just buy default if you have multiple drive the lowest one is usually the first one in the boot order. You can plug what ever drive you want in what ever port and then just go into the bios and set that drive to the first boot drive. It should be the first page of the BIOS menu on those optiplexs. Just note that if you do install windows from scratch ONLY have the target drive plugged in OR go to the menu where you can disable the sata ports and uncheck all other drives except for the target drive.

No why they made SATA 0 the SATA II IDK. All I know if their new design on the new 14th Gen Optiplexs (The XX40's) Is HORRIBLE and I hate it but we are getting them for our clients so they can still have windows 7 for now but upgrade to windows 10 when ever they want since it comes with windows 10 licensing. The XX20 only comes with 8.1 and won't be able to upgrade to windows 10 for free after the 29th.
 

friendly1uk

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Oh that's sweet. I thought I was looking at some sort of compromise. The supplied drive was the 500gb one with win7 and the ssd I have will mirror it, but I had already forseen problems. I will just pull that out and start afresh with the ssd, then everything will go where it should do :)

Cheered me up no end :)


Yes, them mods, and the forum software both suck. I just paid £50 extra for a monitor with calibration certificate but didn't get one. All I want from them is an idea how it rolls off the line, so I can see if it's been individually calibrated since then. They are just going in circles asking where I got it, then saying it's used, then saying the supplier took the paperwork, all of which is nonsence as I got it through proper channels sealed up in a proper box. They will say anything except answer my question which i have pointed out and repeated a few times. I did actualy ring them, and broke the world record for time spent on hold. Then got dissconnected. So it's nice to break free from there are get some straight talking advice from somebody that understands. Thank you.
 

arunphilip

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I echo all of drtweak's advice.

Its more of a convention (not a rule) that you keep your OS/system drive as SATA0, secondary HDD as SATA1 and optical drives as SATA2. However, that has usually been the case because motherboard manufacturers tended to make the lower numbers (SATA0, etc.) as the higher speed ports. Dell have their motherboards built exclusively for them, and its very peculiar that they've gone against this convention.

Go ahead and connect your SSD to SATA1 or SATA2 to benefit from the 6 Gbps bandwidth. Once your OS is up and running, just cross-check using your SSD utility to confirm the SATA connection speed (i.e. not a benchmark, but just a detection). For instance, I have a SanDisk SSD, and the SanDisk SSD Dashboard application shows me "SSD Capability 6 Gb/s; Connection 6 Gb/s" thereby confirming that I am using the SATA III gen port.
 

friendly1uk

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It's all good :)
I used the samsung software to mirror the old hdd to the new ssd(which I put in an external caddy for the operation). Then pulled out the hdd. Moved the dvd drive over to sata channel zero. Put the ssd in channel one. Turned it on and the samsung software reports 6gb just as you say. Also that the bios is set suitably. I have not even had to look. Though I will :)

17 seconds from pressing the power switch to seeing the desktop. At 22 seconds the mouse pointer stops wurring around and I'm away :)
That's a fresh install, so it will slow down as I add other tasks to do during boot, but I'm feeling rather heroic :D lol
 

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