Drobo

Drobo S and Dell Precision T5500

Hi guys,

I’m trying to connect my Drobo S to a Dell Precision T5500 (Windows XP 64bit) via the built-in eSATA port.

First time I hooked it up, Drobo Dashboard detected the drive and told me it needed to be formatted. Fair enough - I let it do it’s thing but it failed at the end saying it couldn’t create a partition, and that I should use Windows Logical Disk Manager service to create one.

Checked the LDM, no sign of the Drobo drive, and ever since, the Drobo S isn’t detected on this PC - the dashboard just stays at ‘Ready for Connection’.

Fine - I took the Drobo to a Windows 7 box, installed an eSATA card and connected it. Not formatted - so I formatted it and bingo, the Drobo worked on this Windows 7 PC.

Took the box back to the Dell - hooked it up - no joy, still not detected.

I’ve tried booting the Drobo and then turning the PC on, tried turning the PC on and then booting the Drobo - nothing. I know it must be compatible with the eSATA port because it worked the first time.

Any suggestions?

What is the chipset for the Dell machine?

Yeah, apparently the fact that the Drobo S relies on port multiplier (PMP) functinality in eSATA can make it not work on some systems.

It’s not necessarily that many of them don’t support PMP (most do) but for some reason a lot of eSATA chipsets have bugs in their PMP implementations. I have come to learn this the hard way, as apparenlty AMD’s SBx00 (SB600, SB700, etc.) southbridges suffer from this bug making it difficult (or impossible, I haven’t quite settled this yet) to make PMP work over eSATA. I discuss this in more detail in my own eSATA woes thread. I am - however - not certain which chipset the T5500 uses for eSATA.

If this T5500 has available PCIe expansion slots, the easiest thing you can do to solve the issue is probably to get one of these, as they are cheap enough…
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816132020

This is one of the eSATA cards that has been tested to work with the Drobo S by Data Robotics.

Before doing any shopping - however - make sure your workstation has all the latest drivers just in case.

I am not as lucky. I purchased a compact Dell Zino HD to use as a Linux server in my closet. It has the AMD 7x00 south end chipset, and thus I can not get eSATA to work on the Drobo. Since it is a small form factor, it has no PCIe expansion slots, so I can’t just install the card above to fix it.

The Drobo S works perfectly over eSATA on my Desktop, (an Intel X58 Express based system) but once I connect it to the Linux Server it doesnt respond.

My options are to either live with USB transfer rates (1/3rd of eSATA) or to build myself another server from scratch (which is what I should have done from the beginning, but I was drawn in by the Zino’s small size)

Maybe I can use the cute little Dell as an HTPC instead :stuck_out_tongue:

Hi folks, and thanks for the answers. I’ve had to go down the Firewire route - the eSATA controller on the Dell’s motherboard just isn’t going to work, and there are no expansion slots that will suit a plug-in eSATA card.

Thanks again