Precision 690 Workstation - How to reinstall Os??!

HI all,

I hope someone can help me as I'm have a few problems with my Precision 690 system, mainly with the SAS drives/controller.

The system has been working for 2-3 years and recently my boot drive failed Smiley Sad  As it was running Vista Ultimate 32bit I've decided to upgrade to 64bit  now also as I already have a disk of Vista 64bit hanging around.

The system is using SAS drives via a SAS controller ( integrated in Motherboard). As it seems SAS drives disappeared as soon as they arrived, I can't find/afford a replacement (especially considered the capacity of drives).

So first question is can I run my system using standard SATA drives?  I noticed that the 690 has a 3 SATA slots on the mother board (top left corner). Although I have tried theses and on running setup of Vista Business 64bit  it can't detect the drive although Bios does..

I've gone into Bios and changed SATA operation to ATA and still no effect.

Also disabled SAS controller and still can't see drive in Vista setup.

I have downloaded from Dell the SAS controller drivers to see if this helps, but does not.

Any help would be great.

My system actually has 2 SAS drives (they were not RAIDed) as I said the boot drive has failed (it reports as found and list serial numbers etc, but reports capacity as 0bytes).

I would like to be able to use the 2nd SAS drive to at least get access to the files on that drive etc. Is it possible to to boot from a SATA drive and have the SAS controller still work so I can access the other SAS drive?

Please help as this is my primary machine and I'm stuck at the moment.






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3 Replies

Re: Precision 690 Workstation - How to reinstall Os??!

Just because you're using a SAS controller doesn't mean you're using SAS drives.  SAS drives haven't "disappeared", in fact, they are the new standard for high-performance (non-SSD) storage on workstations and servers.  If you are sure you are using SAS drives, then there is no way they are connected to the motherboard - they have to be connected to a SAS controller.  I would also assume you have a SAS 5/iR or SAS 6/iR and not a PERC, since you said they were not "RAIDed".  SAS controllers will also handle SATA - it's part of the spec.  You do likely need to load the RAID driver in order to see the drives.  If you are using the PERC (and just didn't realize they were "RAIDed"), then you have to configure the drive before you can see it in Windows.  Before we go much further on speculation and assumptions ... what RAID controller do you have?  You should be able to see during POST as all the devices are loaded ... or you can go to support.dell.com, enter you Service Tag, go to Warranty Status (link on the left), Original Configuration tab, and paste what you see there (minus your Service Tag).


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Re: Precision 690 Workstation - How to reinstall Os??!

Hi, Yes the drives I have are SAS and are connected to the Motherboard (HDD0 & HDD1) which I believe is the SAS 5/iR controller built into the M'board. No matter what I tried I could not get Vista (32 or 64bit) to install to a SATA drive (either connected to HDD0 or SATA_0. The installation would not accept it as a "vaild drive".

So I gave up! Smiley Sad

Then I tried XP Pro and it worked straight away, no drives loaded or anything!?!

This is what I did to get it to work. HOW TO BOOT TO A SATA DRIVE AND STILL ACCESS YOUR SAS DRIVE =========================================================

1. Using a SATA drive I plugged it into SATA_0 and my SAS drive into HDD1 (second slot). NOTE: this is a mixed drive setup using both SAS and SATA drives. According to the manual with this setup the SATA drive MUST be the boot drive, this is perfect for my setup.

2. I ran the SAS controller utility CTRL-C after post and turned off the interrupt hook, I think it is called bypass interrupt.

3. Rebooted PC with XP pro CD in drive (using PATA connected CD drive).

4. XP pro setup loaded let it run through and press ENTER to install and specify the SATA drive to install to. The setup knows there is another unknown drive in the system but can't use it as no drivers are loaded.

5. Once XP has installed go to Dell and downloaded the drives for the system. Start off with the NIC diriver (you'll need another pc to downloaded it). Transfer driver via USB stick and install. Then go to Dell site on newly installed system now with a NIC to run the drivers installs from the web page (selecting RUN when you press download). For some reason the drivers could not be downloaded on the other PC and transfered via USB as they were always corrupted?

6. Once you install all the drivers and installed the SAS controller driver the 2nd drive, the SAS drive is accessible. I am assuming that I can now add additional SATA drives to the setup by adding them to the SAS controller although have not tried yet. It stated in the manual you cannot connect hard-drives to SATA_1 or SATA_2 only Non-hard-drive SATA devices can be connected to these (like a DVD drive).

So to answer my own question:-

Q1: Can you boot to a SATA drive?

A1: Yes as long as the SATA is connected to the SATA_0 blue socket.

Q2: Can you Mix drives (SATA & SAS)?

A2: Yes you can (re how to above).

Q3: Is Vista ruubish?

A3: Yes it is! Smiley Wink I hope this helps some people out there as I couldn't find this information anywhere and most of what I found is contradicting.



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Re: Precision 690 Workstation - How to reinstall Os??!

Sorry to contradict but in my Precision 690 the sas1068 controller is built into the mother board.  The SATA drives can be connected to it by plugging the in on the upper right of the motherboard, or into the motherboard without the sas controller on the upper left.  The SAS slots are numbered 0-4 starting on the right .   The SATA slots on the upper left corner are, from right to left, hd0, hd1, and hd 2.  The CD/DVD drives are ide and are plugged into the lower left.

PS. If you break the SAS array it is highly likely that the drives will be erased when you set up a new array.  - be sure to back up.

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