How to Setup RAID on Dimension 8400

We have a Dimension 8400 that came with a single SATA drive. Recently, we retired some IDE drives that we want to add to the system. These IDE drives are kinda old, so the reliability is a concern. If we can set these IDE drives up as RAID 1 (Mirror), it would give us some kind of protection if one of the drives fails. Dimension 8400 has an onboard RAID controller for SATA drives. However, the spare drives are all IDE. The solution is to buy SATA to IDE adapter to conver these IDE drives to SATA drives. When buying the SATA to IDE adapters, make sure you have the Y-split power connectors and SATA cables. Some adapters don’t include these, and you might need to purchase them separately.

Once we got all pieces together, we ran into another problem. During boot, we didn’t get to the screen where you can setup RAID volumes. It turns out, you need to go to the bios setting to enable it. The option you need is Drives->SATA Operation. Select the third option “RAID on”. Save the bios setting and boot again. You’ll see the RAID configuration screen right after the Dell logo. Press “Ctrl-I” immediately to setup the RAID volumes.

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