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Guswah
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Onboard SSD card in a Dell T7600

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I invested in a pair of internal, single-TB SSDs that fit nicely in a QNINE controller expansion card.  I blithely plugged this into a slot on the motherboard of a T7600 and tried to boot.

Of course being a Dell, the main fan began roaring full throttle and made my office sound like the runway for Boeing 767.  And the computer simply refused to boot.

I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions on how installation might actually be possible, since apparently Dell machines are not well suited to peripheral improvements.

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bmcowboy
3 Argentium

Re: Onboard SSD card in a Dell T7600

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Hi @Guswah ,

I believe you need a proper diagnostic process against the SATA boot problem rather than a NVMe boot method. Better don't perform test base on "feeling like it would be a solution for all problems" or "guessing the root cause".

Back to you question, RAID card is not a must for T7600. It should be working fine with on-board SATA ports.

For diagnostic, try the followings:

- What if no hard drive attached? Does it POST after power-on? If no, hard drive is not the root cause. If yes, go to next steps below.

- Try to reset BIOS by the method of resitting CMOS battery.

- Check if your SATA SSD hard drive works fine in your another PC.

- Try swapping to other SATA ports on motherboard for hard drive connection.

- Try using another SATA cable.

“May the Force be with Dell.”
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rcubedjr
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Re: Onboard SSD card in a Dell T7600

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How recently has the bios been flashed? Can you list the troubleshooting you've tried so far?

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Guswah
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Re: Onboard SSD card in a Dell T7600

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The mobo BIOS is currently A13.  I realize that A15 is the most recent version, but I haven't been able to install an operating system and thus I'm unable to update the BIOS. 

There are dozens of websites that deal with another problem, but none has helped me.  While the BIOS recognizes any hard drive I install, Windows 7 installer simply does not. 

This is why I'm now trying to move away from the HDDs and SSDs that connect via SATA.  Since my other computer boots just fine from an SSD in a PCIe card, I was hopeful the Dell would do the same.  It apparently rejects the card and won't even boot.

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bmcowboy
3 Argentium

Re: Onboard SSD card in a Dell T7600

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Hi @Guswah ,

First of all, Precision T7600 with Intel C600 Chipset do not support PCIe NVMe drive as boot drive in a traditional way. However, you may try to make it work in a non-traditional way by a boot loader named Clover, refer to this thread for details.

Secondly, the latest BIOS for T7600 should be A16. But it doesn't mean that most updated BIOS do good to PCIe NVMe drive operation. Take my T5600 as example, I once go through a BIOS version testing described here and found that older version actually works better than those newer versions.

“May the Force be with Dell.”
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Guswah
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Re: Onboard SSD card in a Dell T7600

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Actually my other computer (with an Asus Z97 board) requires no Clover or any other means to trick it into booting from the PCIe NVMe drives.  I'm not versed in this department, so I have no explanation why it is so.  But I will consider your solution in earnest because I absolutely do not want to work in the old environment.

After my earlier message I was able to flash the Dell with the most recent BIOS (A16), and unfortunately it made no difference whatever -- meaning that the T7600 still refused to see the SATA drives and requests drivers to install Windows.  If only I could get to the heart of that problem, then I might be able to move on this next one.

I'll mark your answer as the solution if I'm ever successful in getting an OS installed.  With thanks.

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bmcowboy
3 Argentium

Re: Onboard SSD card in a Dell T7600

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Hi @Guswah ,

"Actually my other computer (with an Asus Z97 board) requires no Clover or any other means to trick it into booting from the PCIe NVMe drives.  I'm not versed in this department, so I have no explanation why it is so."

You answered your own question already. Your other computer works just because it's on Asus Z97! With Intel Z97 Express chipset, which officially supported for NVMe boot, acknowledgement on page 15 of Intel's Boot Guide for NVMe PCIe SSD.

"After my earlier message I was able to flash the Dell with the most recent BIOS (A16), and unfortunately it made no difference whatever -- meaning that the T7600 still refused to see the SATA drives and requests drivers to install Windows.  If only I could get to the heart of that problem, then I might be able to move on this next one."

A bit confuse here. Are you trying to install OS on SATA drive or NVMe drive? Anyway, no matter what version of BIOS, you cannot directly install Windows on a NVMe drive simply because Intel C600 Chipset do not support it.

“May the Force be with Dell.”
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Guswah
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Re: Onboard SSD card in a Dell T7600

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Sorry for the confusion.  I mentioned earlier that my desire to install the OS on the NVMe drive only arose because I have been unable to install on traditional drives through the SATA ports.  I felt that it might bypass all the problems that has presented if I simply ignore the standard drive connectors.  And that the Windows installation might include the missing drivers that have been causing so much grief.

It also appears that I'm trying to run my traditional drives without a RAID card -- maybe that's the problem.  Do you know if that's a mandatory item?

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bmcowboy
3 Argentium

Re: Onboard SSD card in a Dell T7600

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Hi @Guswah ,

I believe you need a proper diagnostic process against the SATA boot problem rather than a NVMe boot method. Better don't perform test base on "feeling like it would be a solution for all problems" or "guessing the root cause".

Back to you question, RAID card is not a must for T7600. It should be working fine with on-board SATA ports.

For diagnostic, try the followings:

- What if no hard drive attached? Does it POST after power-on? If no, hard drive is not the root cause. If yes, go to next steps below.

- Try to reset BIOS by the method of resitting CMOS battery.

- Check if your SATA SSD hard drive works fine in your another PC.

- Try swapping to other SATA ports on motherboard for hard drive connection.

- Try using another SATA cable.

“May the Force be with Dell.”
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Guswah
1 Nickel

Re: Onboard SSD card in a Dell T7600

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Thanks, bmcowboy.

I actually succeeded tonight in getting the board to acknowledge the hard drives.  I'm fairly sure the problem was that I was trying to install drivers for the PERC RAID cards when in fact all I needed were the plain vanilla F6 drivers.  Once I isolate those as the cure, I succeeded in installing them through a command prompt during the Windows setup.

All of this, of course, was a digression from the original problem with the NVMe card.  But I think I'll let this ordeal settle down now for a few days, and if I still feel I want to boot from an SSD I'll review your suggestion regarding Clover.

I much appreciate your efforts.