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I have an old HP Proliant DL385. Can I use the drives (36.4 GB - 10k, ULTRA320 SCSI) on a custom build, or is the interface a proprietary HP specific one? What support do I need from the motherboard? Thanks.

edit: corrected title as per t1nt1n

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ULTRA320 isnt SATA its SCSI..... You would need a SCSI card that supported ULTRA320 – t1nt1n Sep 5 '12 at 12:48
thanks, if you put this in an answer i'll be able to formally accept it. – ran Sep 5 '12 at 12:52
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The original HP ProLiant DL385 was available in legacy U320 SCSI and SAS models. The chassis design was lifted from the ProLiant DL380 G4 systems.

The disks you're speaking of will work in a hot-plug SCSI environment. They are 80-pin SCA connectors (see the top drive in the photo below), which provide SCSI and power over a single interface, instead of a separate 68-pin SCSI port and separate 4-pin MOLEX for power.

Nothing unique to HP about them, except that it's old technology. The industry made a shift away from parallel SCSI in 2004/2005, so your real limitations are that drives aren't available in anything greater than 300GB, and overall throughput is low, compared to SAS/SATA.

enter image description here

If you wish to use the drives somewhere else, it's less about the motherboard or SCSI card, and more about the drive bay. These SCA drives are meant to be installed in special hot-swap drive bays with SCA backplanes, usually with a drive sled/carrier. They're not engineered for use in a typical computer chassis. The 68-pin SCSI connector/cable would interface with the drive cage, not the individual disks.

So the chances that the drives would be usable in a custom build are very slim, unless the chassis is design specifically for this type of disk.

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thanks, great answer. i took the top off the server and i see what you mean. so theoretically i could reuse the entire backplane from the proliant and stick the scsi interface from the backplane into a scsi host adaptor right? (Of course I'm not going to do this because SCSI PCI express cards are expensive.) – ran Sep 5 '12 at 13:23
Yes. That's the idea. You'd need to also find a way to provide power to the backplane and drive cage. It's more effort than it's worth, though. You can BUY a compatible drive cage that would fit in a standard tower. And the HP/LSI PCIe SCSI card isn't expensive. – ewwhite Sep 5 '12 at 13:29

Those drives should work with any compatible SCSI controller. Just take the drive out of the HP carrier and you'll get standard SCSI connectors.

Outside of server-specific motherboards, you will likely not find on-board SCSI controllers. Therefore, you will need a SCSI add-in card.

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These are probably 80-pin hot-swap SCSI disks. They would need a special backplane to be used anywhere else. – ewwhite Sep 5 '12 at 13:05
@ewwhite aww crap, i forgot about that. you're right. – longneck Sep 5 '12 at 15:13

Ultra320 is a SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) technology. Most motherboards now have SATA or Serial AT Attachment. SCSI and SATA aren’t compliable. You could buy an add in SCSI card but if you are building a new PC it would probably be cheaper and better for upgrades etc to use a SATA drive. AS most motherboards now only support PCI Express and most older SCSI cards are PCI.

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Not to mention that SCSI controllers are expensive and 40GB drives are old and therefore unreliable. My suggestion: Dump them. – Sven Sep 5 '12 at 12:53
did you mean to end with "most older scsi cards are PCI."? – ran Sep 5 '12 at 12:59
Thanks - Corrected – t1nt1n Sep 5 '12 at 13:03
An add-in card would not interface with these drives. It would need to interface with a specific drive cage with the right backplane. – ewwhite Sep 5 '12 at 13:10

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