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Honor Student
Posts: 3
Member Since: ‎05-04-2013
Message 1 of 3 (6,324 Views)

HP Z600 - BIOS Options and a Few Questions

Hi All,


I have recently been given a HP Z600 (used) machine with the following specs :

2 x Quad Core Intel Xeon E5530


with graphics and 2 x 2TB SATA DISKS


First time with HP Workstation so a few questions :


Q1 : In BIOS - there are only TWO(2) modes (i)IDE or (ii) RAID AHCI - Does that mean that if I select RAID-AHCI it will enable AHCI and it's optional to either use RAID or not ?


Q2 : Drive Trays / Caddies / Cage are missing from this z600 so I have to put a packagin piece in between hard drives so that they don't take the sata controller off due to their weight. Can I order drive trays / caddys - are they very expensive or bearable ?


Q3 : I also pulled out all of the RAM and inserted only ONE 8GB NON-ECC Module (Kingston) and it worked - does that mean I can populate all 6 RAM SLOTS with 8GB and it will become 48GB ? I don't really need ECC as this will be purely LAB purposes.


Any other advises you may have ?


I have installed ESX 5.1 on it from VMWare ISO instead of the HP ESX ISO - and all hardware components were detected fine.


Will be grateful for your responses -


Kind Regards


PS : I was told to post my questions here on the Z-series workstation forums as well - which is why I am posting


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Grad Student
Posts: 234
Member Since: ‎11-18-2008
Message 2 of 3 (6,288 Views)

Re: HP Z600 - BIOS Options and a Few Questions

I'll try to answer your questions:


Q1:  Yes, selecting RAID-AHCI will enable AHCI and it is optional to use RAID.  This is the default setting, and almost everyone should use it.  IDE is for old, legacy disks that were created using IDE mode.  If you choose IDE mode, and your disks were created using RAID-AHCI mode, the OS will BSOD, FYI.


Q2.  You can order spare parts from the HP Parts Store, 


Put in Z620 in Product name, click the arrow, then select one of the many systems, then do a Category search for Drive Parts (drop down menu), and look at part number 596022-001 Hard drive carrier assembly.  Check the picture to see if this is what you want.  Or just try this link,  


Q3:  Maybe, but it is not supported.  HP tests all memory we ship with workstations, to make sure they meet all quality and reliability requirements.  HP spends many months testing memory, because we do find problems with some vendors, so that is why we quality all memory HP sells.  HP supports only ECC memory on the Z600.  Are you using registered memory or unbuffered?  From the Z600 specs, only registered 8GB DIMMs are supported.  Again, this does not mean others won't "work", but it was not tested.  (HP does not test Kingston memory - I know many buy memory from Kingston, but HP does not officially support it)


Let me know if this helps. 

I am an HP Employee.
My opinions are my own, and do not express those of HP.

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PhD Student
PhD Student
Posts: 938
Member Since: ‎09-18-2011
Message 3 of 3 (6,079 Views)

Re: HP Z600 - BIOS Options and a Few Questions

A few clarifications:


Always update your BIOS to the most recent version.  I have seen the terminology under the SATA Emulation part of BIOS change with new BIOS updates (if the original was very old).


In the older xw workstations such as the xw6400/6600/8400/8600 the BIOS area having to do with SATA emulation gave you the options of RAID + AHCI, IDE Separate, or IDE Combined.  From the xw4600 and going forward into the Zx00 and Zx20 workstations you get the choice of RAID + AHCI and IDE, or RAID, AHCI and IDE.  It varies from workstation to workstation and it is unfortunate that HP did not settle on one convention.  This all took a long time to figure out.


The "RAID" option always includes AHCI, and I wish they had left that one as "RAID + AHCI".  If there is an "AHCI" option alone that will be AHCI alone.  But, in fact, if you choose RAID, RAID + AHCI, or AHCI you'll always also get the Legacy (IDE) drivers installed.  You need to set this part of BIOS correctly before the install because in XP it is virtually impossible to add in the other drivers after the fact, and with W7 it is possible but difficult.  If you get directly from HP your install will include all the drivers and you can switch between SATA emulation modes freely.


Intel recommends that you choose RAID + AHCI or RAID (which includes AHCI) during an OS install.... that gets you everything and keeps your options open in the future.  HP sends out these workstations with the factory clone builds set that way, also.


How all this impacts you is if you are doing a clean install from scratch, which is what many of us are doing while we upgrade from XP or Vista to W7 or W8.1.  Example..... if you have your BIOS SATA emulation set wrong (such as to IDE or IDE Separate or IDE combined in your xw6400) the W7 installer sees the hardware differently than if you had it set correctly to RAID + AHCI or RAID (depending on the box or the BIOS version).  The installer will only load the IDE drivers if you set it wrong, and later if you change your BIOS SATA emulation to RAID, RAID + AHCI, or AHCI then your boot drive will not have the drivers to allow the boot to proceed and the workstation will blue screen crash.  You recover from that by rebooting into BIOS and set back to a Legacy IDE setting, but you're stuck with the slow legacy mode.


When you load properly you can shift between all options without blue screen.... Dan is wrong on that in his post (very rare event).  I do that when needed.... my clean W764 installs have SATA emulation set to RAID + AHCI before the OS load, and if I need to change SATA emulation to IDE Separate later for a special reason it works fine.  I later switch back to the original for normal function.


The cases where I need to switch to IDE Separate in my xw6400 and xw6600 builds revolves around having certain bootable CDs or DVDs that will boot properly if set to that, but not if SATA emulation is set to RAID + AHCI.  In my xw4600 builds of W7 there is a medical monitor firmware updater bootable CD I use that will only work properly if those workstations are set to IDE.  It may have something to do with the W7 install having good enough optical disk drivers for that drive to allow it to work if the optical drive is seen from IDE perspective, but not from AHCI perspective.  A bootable CD firmware update for Intel SSDs also needs that trick.


Hopefully you got your sleds for your Z600 drive mounting by now.  I have posted a bunch in here on 3.5 to 2.5" adapters that let you mount a 2.5" drive or SSD into the HP sleds/drawers properly, but you need to get the sled/drawer as your first step.

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