Thank you for your postings about the problems and solutions you encounter about the External SATA2 Port Multiplier and the time you took to explain the difficulties you encounter with your two DELL XPS computers.
I know and share your frustration fully, as I went through the very same process you did and I have nothing to show for it...except frustration and still more frustrations.
My efforts where fruitless and the problem still exists on my DELL XPS 420 machine and this is why I mentioned in one of my first posts that: "...I am wondering where is DELL in all of this? "
Contacting the manufacturer about this "birth defect" of my XPS 420 was an exercise in futility and, like in my case, the tech support people had to consult a lot internally but never offered a solution. Maybe they still do not know what we're talking about.
I haven't given up yet, despite the level 3 technicians not calling me yet.
To Dell technicians: To reiterate, you can telephone me between the hours of 1 pm to 6 pm MDT (13:00 to 18:00, -0600 GMT/UTC). Do not call before 1 pm.
To see my current date & time, look at my main webpage (URL is in my signature below).
2009-May-05 Edit. I took my homepage link out of my signature because Dell seems to think that it is advertising.
Consider using a hardware port multiplier solution instead of the software raid implementation of SATA controllers and port multipliers using Silicon Image chips. A 4x1 eSATA/USB Hardware Port Multiplier (HPM) that is OS independent and will work with any eSATA port is an alternative solution. The 4-port SATA integrated HPM with an Oxford OXUFS936QSE chipset uses hardware raid technology.
RAID mode selection is done using a rotary switch and setup is completed by pressing a raid setting button. Once configured all is needed is to connect the HPM to your system via USB 2.0 or eSATA and detect, partition & mount the RAID volume.
RAID mode supported are FAST2 (2 drive RAID 0 Striping),, SAFE2 (RAID1 Mirroring), SAFE FAST (RAID 1+0 Mirrored Stripped), BIG 2 (2 drives Concatenation), FAST4 (4 drive RAID 0 Striping), BIG 4(4 drives Concatenation), RAID 1+0, RAID 5 over 4 drives, or RAID 5+S.
Connecting the HPM to onboard SATA ports on the motherboard is possible by using 2 eSATA ports PCI slot mounting bracket with two eSATA connectors to convert internal Serial ATA to eSATA.
2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB & 8TB Turnkey RAID solutions utilizing the 4x1 eSATA/USB Hardware Port Multiplier (HPM) are available at
The way software RAID works using SI controllers and port multipliers (PM) is that, you use the SATARAID5 array manager installed in Windows to see and configure as a raid volume all 5 drives connected to the PM. If the PM is connected to non-PM aware controller card (legacy) it will only detect one drive out of the 5.
But using a Hardware Port Multiplier which uses an integrated hardware controller, the raid setup is done on the HPM itself. So once you connect it to a SATA port, it will be seen as a single RAID volume.
The Raid Box has it's uses, as well as NAS (Network Attached Storage), but they don't quite fit for my purpose, and they cost too much.
My dual docking station for hard drives fit my purpose well, since I temporarily attach client hard drives a lot. If I had known that the "dual" part would not work on my computer, I would have bought a single, instead of a dual. I did my due diligence, contacting Dell first to ask if it would work, and was told "Yes". The specs for the SATA Controller says it has port multiplier support. Yet it doesn't work.
It has been 11 weeks now since my case went to "Level 3 Support", and I have not heard from them at all.
did your esata port multiplier issue was resolved? My PrecisionM6400 covet does the same thing...
I'll start a new thread, just to wake them up.
By the way, my friend has a Acer laptop, and he uses port multipliers with no problems....make me angry..Grrrrrr!
Thanks for your information and I am very sorry to report that my problem has not been solved either and all the promises made where not kept.
It's a sorry thing and I applaud very much your continued efforts to get at least some serious answers from DELL on this External SATA Port Multiplier Box 1-to-5 SATA2 Port Multiplier problem.
I would have thought that DELL would be seriously interested in this problem as it seems to have a future for us customers. Maybe not for DELL, however azs they seem not to think that this has a future. But....will they??
Since it had been three months since I last called Dell, I did so again today. XPS technical support. Talked to a female technician who was probably in North America.
No explanation as to why "Level 3 Support" hasn't gotten in touch with me. She told me that there is a note in the file that they apparently tried to phone me and couldn't get ahold of me, but the technician didn't say when that was. They certainly didn't leave a voice mail message if they did.
I was given a "Service Request Number" to quote in addition to the Case Number, and she told me that she was then going to try to contact her superiors in "Level 3 Support", and find out who was dealing with the case. While I was on hold waiting for this, someone transferred me to "Advanced Software Support" without talking to me first. Since the technician didn't say she was going to do this, I'm going to assume that another technician transferred the wrong line.
The technician I was talking to told me that she would call me back if we were disconnected somehow, but she didn't.
So I called XPS technical support again. This male technician was overseas could not get ahold of the female technician I was talking to earlier. He also could not figure out who in "Level 3 Support" was dealing with the case, and wasn't going to try. He wanted to transfer me to "Dell On Call". I told him that I had already talked to "Dell On Call" before with this case, and they had transferred me back to "XPS Support". He kept insisting that I should be transferred to "Dell On Call". I told him no.
I told him that the female technician had told me that "Level 3 Support" had supposedly tried to get ahold of me before at some time, and if he could see that in the case notes. He said yes, so I asked him for the date and time of that call (which I should have asked the female technician about), and he gave me a time one hour ago, when I was talking to the female technician. When I reiterated what call I was talking about, he still gave me the same date and time. Only to him, it was tomorrow's date, since he was overseas.
I'm giving up for today. I'll try calling again next week, but this time in the morning.
On my side, i had a long chat with a tech support guy that know alot about eSata. He gave me some interessting informations. By what he has seen in the tech support database, no problems with eSata has ever been reported!!! I pointed him to your thread, told him that i had the same exact issue with my machine, he just changed the subject!? They are lost!?!
The information he gave me that i have found to be of a certain intrest is the fact that eSata is NOT hot swap and never was! So in order to get a eSata to work ok, you need to powerdown the machine, then plug the eSata cable to the machine, power up the eSata device and power up the laptop. Works good for a single drive and even a second drive plugged into my pcexpress eSata raid card. I did not had time to try doing the same procedure with my addonic 1-5 port multiplier...maybe i'll try later tonight and let you know the results.
I find it surprising that the eSata is not hot swap because i have plugged it many time (hot swap) with my laptop booted up and it did work most of the time. I also talked to a friend that wrote drivers for about 20 some years, and real fast he told me that it looks like a driver problem and we should try to contact Intel, the writers of the Intel Martix drivers. If i got time in the weekend i'll try to call them.
So, i'll let you know my findings and results, and hopefully get that thing working....
Have a great day...