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I have a PowerEdge 2950 (not III) rack-mounted server with a 3.5" SAS backplane. I'd like to put one or two Intel X25-M drives into it for hosting of a few virtual servers on faster disk. Can this be done? Is there hardware that would allow me to install 2 of these 2.5" drives into an existing 3.5" slot?

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10 Answers 10

up vote 5 down vote accepted

What you are looking for is an ICY DOCK MB882SP-1S-1B.

I've also had recent luck with the StarTech 25SAT35HDD.

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Can you confirm this worked without issue, JoshL? I think others might be running into the same issue (myself included). – Jeff McJunkin Apr 18 '11 at 3:49
That product supports SATA I and II, but not III, so don't get it if you're looking for SATA III performance. – Dan Aug 2 '11 at 5:06
@Dan SATA III had only recently been released when this question was answered. – Joseph Aug 2 '11 at 22:52
"Icy Dock EZConvert" is also on Amazon, and may be more cost-effective: – Jay Taylor Feb 9 '15 at 17:23
@JayTaylor I've added your link to my answer plus an alternate suggestion. – Joseph Feb 9 '15 at 18:39

I've done this kind of thing (only as a trial) and it worked fine...BUT please take into account that when 'driven' hard SSD's can get as hot as 70C, while even 15krpm disks rarely go over about 55C - so ensure you have the airflow.

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I'm in the process of fitting several Intel x25-E drives into the 3.5" bays of 'spare' PowerEdge 2900, itself in the process of becoming a (hopefully) hi-performance iSCSI SAN based on Openfiler.

I located new (empty) Dell drive trays and corresponding Interposer cards for use with SATA drives in Dell servers. I sourced Dell CC852 Tray and PN939 Interposer kit from Discount Technology for US$89.95. These are great for any 3.5" SATA (or SAS) drive (including SSDs) but require some extra holes to mount 2.5" SATA drives. I'm mounting the 2.5" drive using the 4 holes on its flat side (not its edges).

I wouldn't use an MLC SSD like the X25-M in a server application. Server vendors that offer SSDs all offer SLC SSDs such as the Intel X25-E.

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You can do this with a simple and cheap 2.5" to 3.5" adapter. Just search "2.5 to 3.5 drive adapter". Obviously you will be giving up the density advantage of 2.5" drives.

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Josh, do you know if this will work with the backplane in the PowerEdge server? – JoshL Jun 2 '09 at 23:27

The Vizo Ares II seems to do what you want. I googled "dual 2.5" drive" to find that product.

I'll make an offhand suggestion that you use X25-E drives (with SLC flash instead of MLC) if you really want faster IO.

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X25-E is way more expensive, and I don't have a need for much parallel drive access, which is why I'm looking at X25-M (which is what I run in my workstation and laptop) – JoshL Jun 2 '09 at 23:26
Yes, they are more expensive, but they are faster! – kbyrd Jun 3 '09 at 0:00
The Vizo Ares II won't work in a backplane - if you look at the gallery of photos at the link above, it requires two power and two sata connections, so it physicall won't work in a 3.5" slot – Daniel Lawson Jun 28 '09 at 1:33

You may wish to check this out: SSDx2 Adapter which allows mounting 2 SSD's or 2.5" HDD's where a single 3.5" once lived. It's an open frame design which gives good airflow for cooling. My entry level Intel 1U rackmounts only had room for 2 SATA drives, but with these brackets I'm able to run a small SSD for OS, a 1TB mechanical 2.5" for backups, and 2 more SSD's for data. Very fast and low heat. I'm sure if the Dell will hold 3.5" drives then the SSDx2 bracket would fit your application as well.

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SATA power cables are both 5V and 12V, so they are fine being plugged into desktops.

Are you asking if its possible or asking if there are mounting brackets available to install a 2.5" HDD into a 3.5" bay?

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SSD drives don't have moving parts and don't vibrate. In difference to HDDs they don't require fixed mounting.

Just fix them with one-two screws or even just glue with some scotch or so. Don't waste a money for the adapters, they may prevent a heat circulation. If you strongly need to have it looking "cool", find a simple mounting plates and use one for each drive. However you'll need to make a cable management by yourself, you can't just split a data connector.

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The retail price of connectors, cables and tools necessary to put them together will likely be close to the price of the mentioned adapters. – Mastermind Jun 28 '09 at 9:16

I don't know of anything that will allow you to connect two 2.5" SSDs inside a single 3.5" backplane slot, and actually use both of them. If you were wanting to put two 2.5" drive into a single 3.5" standard drive bay (eg, without a backplane), then there are plenty of products.

I may be wrong, but make sure you check that whatever products you are looking at have some kind of SATA/SAS expander in them - if they only have one SATA port on the back, then it'll possibly work. If they have two SATA ports, you're out of luck.

I'd strongly recommend getting 2.5" to 3.5" brackets and only using one drive per bay.

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In case anyone is still looking, like I was. You actually want one of these:

It's a Dell adapter bracket model# 9W8C4. It screws into the sleds and allows them to accommodate the 2.5" drives.

Benefits are that there are no electronics to fail, no cooling issues, and they're only 10 bucks currently.

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