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Installing SSD in Dell Precision T3600

If you planned to install a SSD drive in the Dell T3600 Workstation, I hope the article below would help ease the process.

 

I’ve purchased a Samsung 830 256GB Solid State Drive and intended to use it as my main boot drive and programmes. Data and program cache could go into the 1TB storage drive instead. On the contradictory,  I’ve been told by an online Dell rep that I am unable to use both SSD and SATA Drive together whilst another said it should be fine. Anyway I thought the first suggestion was strange and I was pretty sure it should work although I had my reservation as there may be hardware conflicts in workstation systems. With the current SSD price drop and Samsung’s £20 cash back offer, it’s a no brainer to get one these days. I ordered a £6 plastic bracket to hold the drive and fits snugly in Dell’s slide-in bracket. So no issues here.

I though it was going to be a quick painless installation and how wrong I was. This could be due to the additional PERC H310 RAID card that came with the workstation. Also bear in mind, you may not have the same issue I had but if you do then I hope this would help. I had the system booted up with the Windows CD and initiated a clean installation, however I was unable to detect the Solid State Drive despite it showing up in the BIOS. At this point I thought ‘Great! The Rep may be right’ but I wasn’t going to give up.

 

So here is what I did:

I made sure it was properly formatted by going to the command prompt (under repair disk – before installation).

Type in DiskPart

Type List disk

Type Select disk 1 (or which disk the SSD is showing)

Type Clean

Then type Create partition primary align=1024 

Type Format fs=ntfs quick

Active

 

If for any reason you are unable to list disk and it shows no drive, I suspect it could be due to the RAID card. I had the initial problem until I loaded the drivers for PERC H310 available from the Dell support site. Make sure if you have downloaded and extracted the drivers to a USB stick or CD beforehand. Going back to the installation, don’t panic if you don’t see any drives showing up. Just click load Drivers and point to the USB stick and it should then detect the SSD. You could then repeat the steps above to create a partition align. Installation should be straight forward from here.

Now when the system reboots to continue with the installation, it may say ‘No System Boot‘. Don’t panic yet as I did. Just make sure you hit F12 when booting up and choose the SSD drive as your boot up drive. However I suggest that you change to UEFI because by default the system is being set to Legacy boot in the BIOS. To do this either hit ‘delete’ key when booting up or F12 and choose BIOS Setup. Under Settings -> General -> Boot Sequence -> Boot List Option -> UEFI

 

There should not be any issues after this and everything should work the way it is. I have kept mine on dual boot with Windows 7 on SSD and Windows 8 Preview on SATA drive and just alternating between both by choosing the boot sequence through F12.

 

Before SSD  :-/

 

After SSD :-)

Hope it helps.

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25 comments on “Installing SSD in Dell Precision T3600

  1. Glen Metz
    September 12, 2012

    Do you have a direct download link for the windows setup drivers for Win 7 x64? I’m trying to find them on Dell’s site at the moment?
    Excellent post, thank you.

  2. kelvw
    September 12, 2012

    I presume you were looking for the PERC H310 Drivers?
    If so then it’s under SAS RAID header

  3. Glen Metz
    September 12, 2012

    Thank you, that did the trick. Dell’s drivers download site is a major PITA.

  4. TAF
    November 19, 2012

    I am having similar issues installing an OCZ Agility 3 SSD on my new T3600. Did you connect the SSD to the RAID card or did you plug this into the SATA0 or SATA1 ports on the motherboard? Thanks!

    • kelvw
      November 19, 2012

      The SSD connects directly to the RAID card. Ensure you have the RAID card driver on an USB stick.

      • TAF
        November 19, 2012

        Thanks. Tried this as suggested, but did not work for my approach of cloning my boot partition from the factory HDD to the SSD, removing HDD, and repair of the boot record with a win7 repair disk. Essentially, the repair disk could not find my OS even after pointing it to the drivers/setup info on the RAID controller. So, my SSD simply would not boot.

        This approach worked fine with my win7 velocity micro system with the same SSD, so I imagine there are continued issues with the RAID controller. I’ll try a clean win7 pro install next.

  5. danf
    November 30, 2012

    I recently got a T3600 with an SSD as the only drive. I wanted to put in a second SSD but was unable to configure it like that during the online ordering process. The Dell rep told me that it is not possible to put two SSD drives in. That sounded strange, but possible.

    I just looked at the spec sheet, and it says “Storage Options / Up to two 3.5″ or four 2.5″ internal SATA, SAS or SSD drives. / … SSD 256GB” – see:
    http://i.dell.com/sites/doccontent/shared-content/data-sheets/en/Documents/Dell-Precision-T3600-Spec-Sheet.pdf

    So, from the spec sheet it certainly sounds like it should be possible to put in two SSD drives, though I’m not sure if the max size it will take is really 256 GB.

    Has anyone tried this? Any thoughts on it? I don’t want to end up buying one and then not being able to use it.

    • kelvw
      December 3, 2012

      I am pretty sure you could get 2 SSD running together. I was told by the Reps that I couldn’t run 1 SSD and 1 3.5″ SATA together and there were no options to configure that way online. But well someone got to try ;-)

  6. Dong Anh
    December 10, 2012

    My Dell Precision T3600 did not detect any HDD or SSD now. I tried to change a lot of them but no way. The thing is I am able to install the samsung SSD for my T3600 before. Do you know what the problem is?

    • kelvw
      December 11, 2012

      have you checked if it’s detected in the BIOS?

      • Dong Anh Nguyen
        December 15, 2012

        Thanks for your response. My SSD is working now. I followed your instruction by using Raid card driver an put it into USB. Can you tell me where you bought 3.5” Tray for SSD. I tried couple 3.5” trays on Amazon but they did not fix the case.

  7. rlf
    March 4, 2013

    Plug the SSD in Sata 0 instead of the blue (raid) socket, ;)

    Then it worked for me (even with Windows 8).

  8. kenny
    March 9, 2013

    Hi Kelvin,

    Please can u specify the exact SSD tray u purchased?

    A web link will do.

    Thanks

  9. james
    May 18, 2013

    I have a Crucial SSD drive I’m trying to install in a T5500. After several unsuccessful attempts installing Win7, I tried your DISKPART suggestion and after typing in the “create partition… 1024″ I get the following virtual disk service error: “The specified alignment is not a multiple of the sector size”. The LISTDISK shows my drive as 223G for the size and 223G for the free. Any suggestions?

    • james
      May 19, 2013

      Actually I figured out the problem… after checking out Crucial’s website for help, I discovered that my computer wasn’t set to run in AHCI mode (set in the bios). After changing the setting I was able to get Win7 successfully installed.

  10. Jan
    July 9, 2013

    Okay guys, I’m having the same problem. Exact same PC and SSD as the article is talking about, but when I try to load the drivers from the USB stick I get the following error:

    To continue installation, use the Load Driver option to install 32-bit and signed 64-bit drivers. Installing an unsigned 64-bit device driver is not supported and might result in an unusable Windows installation.

    I am using the Load Driver option and I tried selecting the 32 bit as well as the 64 bit individually or all together. But nada. Same error over and over and over again.

  11. JT
    August 14, 2013

    I have a T3600 with a Perc H310 Card and a 128gb SSD card which contains the OS, and no other hard drives in the workstation. I want to change to a 256GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD for my OS and Programs. Then I want to also add a 2TB WD Black SATA HD for my general everyday work Files. Can any one give me an idiots guide to ‘how best to do this’, what cables I need, where to put them and should I remove the Raid card and just plug the drives directly into the Motherboard?

  12. MMR
    October 7, 2013

    Excelente post, muchas gracias me fue de mucha ayuda. Nuevamente gracias.

  13. Tom Kenney
    October 18, 2013

    Just did this last night. I have a T3600, BIOS A09, and had the PERC H310 card. Here’s a quick’n’dirty procedure for moving the boot SSD to the onboard SATA III port:

    1) Download Intel C600 driver: https://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&ProdId=2475&DwnldID=23257&keyword=%22AHCI+SATA+Driver%22&lang=eng

    2) Shut down machine and remove PERC H310 card

    3) Plug SSD into first SATA II port on MB (next to DVD drive)

    4) Plug any other drive (new SSD, old HDD, whatever) into one of the SATA III ports

    5) Boot machine

    6) Install Intel C600 driver

    7) Shut down machine and move boot SSD to first SATA III port

    8) Boot and rejoice!!!

    I did notice, after doing this, that my WEI score for the drive went from 7.9 to 7.8, but I haven’t noticed much performance drop. I’m not doing any heavy disk loads in my daily workflow, so it’s not much of a loss for me. YMMV.

    If you read this thread at Dell:

    http://en.community.dell.com/techcenter/enterprise-client/f/4448/t/19467923.aspx?pi22196=1

    …you will learn that the 4 SATA III ports are disabled by the BIOS if you install the PERC H310 card. After doing this surgery, I was livid! The Dell Premier machine configurator would not let us order stations with boot SSDs unless we added the PERC H310 card. WTF???

  14. mor2346
    November 27, 2013

    Plug the SSD in sata 1 and boot from original system. After booting, update the C600 driver and you can see the ssd dirve in device manager. Here is my steps
    http://morsiblogger.blogspot.tw/2013/11/dell-t3600-with-intel-ssd.html

  15. Patch the Pirate
    March 22, 2014

    Thank you so much; this is exactly the article I needed! However, I don’t understand how to load the drivers for PERC H310 to a USB drive; I tried copying the driver .exe from Dell Support to a USB with no success, so I unzipped the .exe with 7zip, but “Load Driver” did not recognize it. How did you load the driver in the windows installer? Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • kelvw
      March 23, 2014

      That is odd. You should be able to load it during windows installation. Maybe you could try burning the driver on a CD?

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This entry was posted on September 10, 2012 by in Technology and tagged , , , , , , .
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