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HP Workstations Owners Club

Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
489 (0.28/day)
Location
Hungary
System Name Detox sleeper
Processor Intel i9-7980XE@4,5Ghz
Motherboard Asrock x299 Taichi XE (custom bios with ecc reg support, old microcode)
Cooling Custom water: Alphacool XT45 1080 + 9xArctic P12, EK-D5 pump combo, EK Velocity D-RGB block
Memory 8x16Gb Hynix DJR ECC REG 3200@4000
Video Card(s) Intel Arc A770 LE 16Gb + CMP 100-210 (Tesla V100 16Gb)
Storage Samsung PM9A1 1Tb + PM981 512Gb + Kingston HyperX 480Gb + Samsung Evo 860 500Gb
Display(s) HP ZR30W (30" 2560x1600)
Case Chieftec 1E0-500A-CT04 + AMD Sempron sticker + Titan fan controller
Audio Device(s) Genius Cavimanus
Power Supply Super Flower Leadex 750w Platinum
Mouse Logitech G400
Keyboard Dell Oem + Focus Fk2000 plus
Software Windows 11 Pro x64
Still dont give up.
unsupported 4 way cpu from amazon servers, ATX mod, bios from z640, the FrankenZ440
7600GT from trash
but not all pcie lanes works with this cpu, something is not right
139440_20230706_184819.jpg

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139440_20230706_185123.jpg
aws1100c1.jpg
aws1100q1.jpg
 

techiesami

New Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2023
Messages
1 (0.00/day)
Hello,

I love my Z620. Unfortunately, I didn't know that there was an Ivy Bridge version of this workstation at the time of the purchase. I'm thinking about upgrading it and maybe buy another Z640 ( hope it has just one version?) . This is for home lab use NAS, VMs and use TrueNAS SCALE if possible. I see they are available on Ebay with various options.

The question - Is it worth to invest in these Z workstations not knowing the quality or lifespan of the h/w on Ebay?

Also thinking about building one using SuperMicro workstation/NAS gears.

Thanks for your time and suggestions.
 
Joined
Jul 5, 2013
Messages
25,559 (6.49/day)
The question - Is it worth to invest in these Z workstations not knowing the quality or lifespan of the h/w on Ebay?
The short answer is yes. As long as your expectations are realistic you shouldn't have any serious issues.

BTW, welcome to TPU and this thread! :toast:
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2022
Messages
664 (0.90/day)
Location
London, UK
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D
Motherboard ASUS B550M-Plus WiFi II
Cooling Noctua U12A chromax.black
Memory Corsair Vengeance 32GB 3600Mhz
Video Card(s) Palit RTX 4080 GameRock OC
Storage Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB + 980 Pro 2TB
Display(s) Asus XG35VQ
Case Asus Prime AP201
Audio Device(s) Creative Gigaworks - Razer Blackshark V2 Pro
Power Supply Corsair SF750
Mouse Razer Viper
Software Windows 11 64bit
Today, I used a HP Z4 with Xeon w7-2495X (24/48), 128GB Ram and RTX A4000 16GB.
It looks fine, it's not that fast (matching a desktop 7950X) but it's decent enough.
You can hear it when it's pushed (rendering) but I wouldn't call it loud.

My company will purchase some workstations and we have demo PCs to try them for a couple of weeks. A Lenovo P620(?) is coming next week, I think.
 
Joined
May 18, 2023
Messages
139 (0.41/day)
System Name HP Z400
Processor Intel Xeon X5687
Motherboard Z400 6 DIMM Version
Cooling Stock High Performance
Memory 6 x 4GB 1600MHz (Total 24GB)
Video Card(s) Nvidia Quadro K4000 3GB
Storage Samsung 830 256GB - Patrion Burst 128GB - Crucial MX500 1TB
Display(s) 3 x HP EliteDisplay 241i
Case HP Z400
Audio Device(s) Onboard
Power Supply Stock 475 Watt
Mouse Logitech M500 Corded
Keyboard HP KU-0316
Software Zorin OS PRO 16.3 / Fedora 38
Added a HP Z210 to the collection.

CPU: i5-2400
RAM: 4GB
HDD: For this moment a 160GB SATA HDD. (New Lexar SDD that came with it (4 hours worked) gives troubles, system hangs, cursor only at startup BIOS etc.

What would be a good choice for GPU? (Wish is at least 2DP and 1 DVI, or 3x DP)
I'm going to look around for a "last hour" Windows 7 ISO with all updates in it. The system will stay offline from Internet.

photo_2023-09-04_22-37-28.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 5, 2013
Messages
25,559 (6.49/day)
Added a HP Z210 to the collection.

CPU: i5-2400
RAM: 4GB
HDD: For this moment a 160GB SATA HDD. (New Lexar SDD that came with it (4 hours worked) gives troubles, system hangs, cursor only at startup BIOS etc.
That's a good system! Unless you intend to use XP with it, it could use a RAM upgrade.

What would be a good choice for GPU? (Wish is at least 2DP and 1 DVI, or 3x DP)
A GTX 670, GTX 760 or GTX960 would be a good choice.
 
Joined
May 18, 2023
Messages
139 (0.41/day)
System Name HP Z400
Processor Intel Xeon X5687
Motherboard Z400 6 DIMM Version
Cooling Stock High Performance
Memory 6 x 4GB 1600MHz (Total 24GB)
Video Card(s) Nvidia Quadro K4000 3GB
Storage Samsung 830 256GB - Patrion Burst 128GB - Crucial MX500 1TB
Display(s) 3 x HP EliteDisplay 241i
Case HP Z400
Audio Device(s) Onboard
Power Supply Stock 475 Watt
Mouse Logitech M500 Corded
Keyboard HP KU-0316
Software Zorin OS PRO 16.3 / Fedora 38
Got it up and running :love:


CPU: i5-2400
RAM: 4GB
HDD: For this moment a 160GB SATA HDD

pc2.png



A GTX 670, GTX 760 or GTX960 would be a good choice.

And a 1050Ti?
It also comes with the 6 pin PEG
 
Joined
May 18, 2023
Messages
139 (0.41/day)
System Name HP Z400
Processor Intel Xeon X5687
Motherboard Z400 6 DIMM Version
Cooling Stock High Performance
Memory 6 x 4GB 1600MHz (Total 24GB)
Video Card(s) Nvidia Quadro K4000 3GB
Storage Samsung 830 256GB - Patrion Burst 128GB - Crucial MX500 1TB
Display(s) 3 x HP EliteDisplay 241i
Case HP Z400
Audio Device(s) Onboard
Power Supply Stock 475 Watt
Mouse Logitech M500 Corded
Keyboard HP KU-0316
Software Zorin OS PRO 16.3 / Fedora 38
And here it is :D
HP Z210 Workstation

photo_4_2023-10-08_18-08-16.jpg



photo_1_2023-10-08_18-08-16.jpg



hwinfo.png
 
Joined
Jul 5, 2013
Messages
25,559 (6.49/day)
Did anyone ever test more than 32gb ram on HP Z230 SFF? Thanks
The chipset and CPU lineup both support upto 32GB. That seems to be the hard limit for that series of CPU's.
Are you looking to buy one of those workstations or do you already have one? Do you need more than 32GB for a certain task?
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2010
Messages
291 (0.06/day)
The chipset and CPU lineup both support upto 32GB. That seems to be the hard limit for that series of CPU's.
Are you looking to buy one of those workstations or do you already have one? Do you need more than 32GB for a certain task?
Thanks for the advice. I just wanted to know if anyone tested 32GB modules is all. Looking to buy a z230 sff & just because the modules are so dirt cheap, I wanted to upgrade to 2x 32GB modules. It's a DDR3 rig am I right? It's a Intel C226 chipset.
 

silentbogo

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 20, 2013
Messages
5,473 (1.44/day)
Location
Kyiv, Ukraine
System Name WS#1337
Processor Ryzen 7 3800X
Motherboard ASUS X570-PLUS TUF Gaming
Cooling Xigmatek Scylla 240mm AIO
Memory 4x8GB Samsung DDR4 ECC UDIMM
Video Card(s) Inno3D RTX 3070 Ti iChill
Storage ADATA Legend 2TB + ADATA SX8200 Pro 1TB
Display(s) Samsung U24E590D (4K/UHD)
Case ghetto CM Cosmos RC-1000
Audio Device(s) ALC1220
Power Supply SeaSonic SSR-550FX (80+ GOLD)
Mouse Logitech G603
Keyboard Modecom Volcano Blade (Kailh choc LP)
VR HMD Google dreamview headset(aka fancy cardboard)
Software Windows 11, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
Briefly left the club, since I no longer have my Z620, but I've got a newcomer Z240 few days ago. Not a whole thing, but just the internals. Currently rocking core i5, but I plan on upgrading it to Xeon E3-1270v5.
Maybe later I'll try to dig into BIOS and see if it's possible to add 8th/9th gen support to it.

I didn't know that there was an Ivy Bridge version of this workstation at the time of the purchase.
It's a bit complicated, but it's possible to flash rev1 board to rev2.
My old Z620 was rev1, but I modded my BIOS to have Ivy Bridge support(with proper Turbo Boost) and NVME.
PCIe 3.0 also works on CPU slots.
I already sold mine, but you can look up some info in my build log.
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2020
Messages
14 (0.01/day)
System Name HP Z440/Z460 "Franken"station purchased on Ebay for $152 w/bad motherboard, plus motherboard for $62
Processor Xeon E5-2667v4 3.2ghz/3.6ghz Turbo, 8 core (16 with hyperthreading)
Motherboard HP Z460 with Intel C612 chipset, can use Xeon V3 and V4 processors
Cooling Using stock Z440 cpucooler, Z460 dual fans the Z460 motherboard requires, using 2nd fan inside case.
Memory 64Gb DDR4 2400MHz REG ECC SERVER MEMORY $70+40 (4 16gb sticks) used on Ebay
Video Card(s) EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB Gaming
Storage 1Tb Nvme SSD, 4x6Tb SAS drives=18TB RAID5, 4x8Tb SAS=24TbRAID5,3x18Tb enterprise Sata=32Tb RAID5 NAS
Display(s) TCL 65P635 65 inch 4K HDR TV via HDMI (4K@60hz) (upgraded from 55" last year,net cost $200)
Case Stock Z440 case with z640 motherboard (2nd z460 cooling fan blowing on HP P812 SAS Raid controller)
Audio Device(s) Denon AVRS730H 7.2ch AV receiver with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
Power Supply stock Z440 700W 90+ efficient PSU
Mouse Logitech M570 trackball
Keyboard Logitech K350 Wave
VR HMD SAS drives are in 2 external 5 bay enclosures connected via the HP P812 SAS RAID controller
Software Windows 10 Pro (enterprise) OEM license that came with motherboard.
Benchmark Scores Using a HP Smart Array P812 PCI-e SAS Server RAID Controller with capacitor buffer backup, $15 Ebay
I am still very happy with my Z460/Z440 Frankenstation. The prices on V4 xeon CPUs has gotten quite reasonable, so my latest upgrade was to a xeon e5-2667 v4 (8 cores/16 with hyperthreading, with a base speed of 3.2ghz and turbo of 3.6ghz). Noticeably zippier than the E5-4655 v4 that it replaced (which was faster than the e5-2630 v3 it replaced)..

Current specs for the machine are:
- Z640 motherboard in a Z440 case with the stock 700W power supply.
Since the Z640 bios complained about only having one exhaust fan, I installed the dual exhaust fans from a z460, and use the 2nd fan to blow air across the HP p812 SAS Smartarray server controller that likes to run kinda hot. I also soldered two speaker pins onto the motherboard where the z440 normally has them (in the bottom front corner of the motherboard), so I wouldn't have to run wires across the motherboard to the front panel header). Both locations are active on the motherboards....
- A 1TB NVMe SSD on a generic NVMe SSD card for the OS (Windows 10 enterprise PRO using the original license that came with the motherboard).
- 64GB DDR4 PC2400 ECC server ram (4 16GB sticks)
- A 12TB raid 5 array using 3 enterprise 6TB SAS drives in an external enclosure
- A 16TB raid 5 array using 3 enterprise 8TB SAS drives in an external enclosure
- An LG Blu-ray/DVD Writer Optical Drive (4K blu-ray read-write capable)- WH16NS60
- The original HP DVD laptop style read-write burner
- An HP p812 SAS Smartarray server controller (2 internal and 4 external mini-sas ports).
- A stock HP serial port add-on bracket that plugs into the serial port header on the motherboard.
- An EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB GAMING, ACX 2.0 (Single Fan), 3GB GDDR5 video card capable of running 4k video smoothly, and provides digital surround sound to my Denon HTPC receiver.
- A 4 molex port header bracket that I use to supply power to 2 external 5 bay SAS/SATA drive enclosures. I use a molex to sata power cable to run power from this bracket to the enclosures. Note, to supply enough power for more than 4 drives in these enclosures, it requires drawing the 12v power from 2 different internal sata power legs coming from the power supply, otherwise, the 18 gauge wire coming from the power supply doesn't carry enough current for all the drives. A person could instead tap an unused 6 pin video card power lead (the power supply has two of these), but the pre-built sata power extension cables are easier to come by so that's what I used. So two of the 4 external molex ports are connected to one power supply leg, and the other two are connected to the other power supply leg.
- A Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1250 (Model 79xxx, Hybrid ATSC/QAM) TV tuner card
- A TBW-110UB TRENDnet Low Energy Micro Bluetooth 4.0 Class I USB dongle. (The class 1 bluetooth dongles are much more powerful than the typical class 2 dongles -- providng bluetooth connectivity up to 100 feet away instead of the usual 33 feet).

With this hardware, I don't see the need to have to do a major upgrade for a number of years....

I am on the prowl for a cheap Thurnderbolt card for the machine. If anyone knows of a source for one that will work, please PM me.

Philip
 
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silentbogo

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 20, 2013
Messages
5,473 (1.44/day)
Location
Kyiv, Ukraine
System Name WS#1337
Processor Ryzen 7 3800X
Motherboard ASUS X570-PLUS TUF Gaming
Cooling Xigmatek Scylla 240mm AIO
Memory 4x8GB Samsung DDR4 ECC UDIMM
Video Card(s) Inno3D RTX 3070 Ti iChill
Storage ADATA Legend 2TB + ADATA SX8200 Pro 1TB
Display(s) Samsung U24E590D (4K/UHD)
Case ghetto CM Cosmos RC-1000
Audio Device(s) ALC1220
Power Supply SeaSonic SSR-550FX (80+ GOLD)
Mouse Logitech G603
Keyboard Modecom Volcano Blade (Kailh choc LP)
VR HMD Google dreamview headset(aka fancy cardboard)
Software Windows 11, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
I just wanted to know if anyone tested 32GB modules is all. Looking to buy a z230 sff & just because the modules are so dirt cheap, I wanted to upgrade to 2x 32GB modules.
Nobody tried it, cause that platform does not support 'em. The "cheap" modules you see are FBDIMMs, which are only compatible with LGA2011 Xeons. I don't think there ever were 32GB UDIMMs.
 
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
1 (0.00/day)
HP Z420 CASE + MACHINIST E5-D8-MAX
Loading an E-ATX class motherboard into an ATX-spec HP case

Modification points
Power supply screw location
Metal cutting near the drive bay of standard case
Adding case airflow and front fans
Front IO panel USB and power switch

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Motherboard series: X99-D8-MAX
CPU pin: LGA2011-3 socket
Chipset: X99
Memory support: DDR4 ECC server memory and DDR4 desktop memory
Memory slot: DDR4*8 eight channels, support 2133/2400/2666/3000MHZ frequency memory, maximum support: 512G(desktop general memory/ECC memory)
Storage interface: SATA3.0*10, M.2 NVME protocol interface*2
Expansion interface: 4*PCI Expressx16
Onboard network card: 2*reaItek8111 Gigabit network card
Power interface: 24pin+8pin+8pin
Fan interface: 4pin*2, 3pin*2
PCB layers: 12-layer PCB+12-phase power supply
Motherboard size: 330mm*305mm
Motherboard specification: E-ATX

Front Panel IO

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Power supply screw location ATX power supply mount conversion plate for HP z420

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CPU fan and case fan are Chinese 120mm SNOWMAN
Very quiet design, low price and good performance


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Joined
Jan 7, 2022
Messages
118 (0.14/day)
hi people, me again.

recently got this Zbook 17 G3.
all is well except the Fn keys for brigthness do not work.
volume and keyboard lighting work but brightness adjustments DO NOT. (which is REALLY annoying for me)
especially when running remote desktop on this G3- i need to minimize the remote session to access the brightness bar ... really tedious.

2024-04-14 22_24_16-Window.png


kept looking on forums etc, people say about an old version of HotKey driver:

sp76021.exe

which could not find it..

other guys mention other drivers, made a mess of it all.

tried installing the very first Intel uhd drivers, hotkey driver (1 version only)...

still nada.

will talk to my it guy - he should be able to fix it - i will post it if he does..
but MAYBE someone else had this issue..


i see it occurs on G4s too..

pretty bad stuff.

thanks!
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2020
Messages
14 (0.01/day)
System Name HP Z440/Z460 "Franken"station purchased on Ebay for $152 w/bad motherboard, plus motherboard for $62
Processor Xeon E5-2667v4 3.2ghz/3.6ghz Turbo, 8 core (16 with hyperthreading)
Motherboard HP Z460 with Intel C612 chipset, can use Xeon V3 and V4 processors
Cooling Using stock Z440 cpucooler, Z460 dual fans the Z460 motherboard requires, using 2nd fan inside case.
Memory 64Gb DDR4 2400MHz REG ECC SERVER MEMORY $70+40 (4 16gb sticks) used on Ebay
Video Card(s) EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB Gaming
Storage 1Tb Nvme SSD, 4x6Tb SAS drives=18TB RAID5, 4x8Tb SAS=24TbRAID5,3x18Tb enterprise Sata=32Tb RAID5 NAS
Display(s) TCL 65P635 65 inch 4K HDR TV via HDMI (4K@60hz) (upgraded from 55" last year,net cost $200)
Case Stock Z440 case with z640 motherboard (2nd z460 cooling fan blowing on HP P812 SAS Raid controller)
Audio Device(s) Denon AVRS730H 7.2ch AV receiver with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
Power Supply stock Z440 700W 90+ efficient PSU
Mouse Logitech M570 trackball
Keyboard Logitech K350 Wave
VR HMD SAS drives are in 2 external 5 bay enclosures connected via the HP P812 SAS RAID controller
Software Windows 10 Pro (enterprise) OEM license that came with motherboard.
Benchmark Scores Using a HP Smart Array P812 PCI-e SAS Server RAID Controller with capacitor buffer backup, $15 Ebay
HP Z420 CASE + MACHINIST E5-D8-MAX
Loading an E-ATX class motherboard into an ATX-spec HP case

Modification points
Power supply screw location
Metal cutting near the drive bay of standard case
Adding case airflow and front fans
Front IO panel USB and power switch
Wow! That's quite the build!

You must really like the HP workstation cases to go to all this effort to retrofit the equivalent of a z640/z840 into the z420 case.
Or did you get a "steal of a deal" on the motherboard, and that's what prompted this build?

I am running a z440/z640 "frankenstation" currently with one E5-2667 V4 8 core CPU in a z640 motherboard (without the 2nd cpu daughterboard) in a z440 case with the z440 700 watt powersupply, and the z640 dual rear case fans (because the bios puts out an error if you try to use the z440s single rear case fan.) I've posted several times in this thread about my entry into the HP zx40 workstation world, and consequent upgrades.

While the Z440/z640/z840 motherboards don't have a built-in NVMe slots like your motherboard has, you can use an inexpensive PCI-e adapter to boot off of an M.2 NVMe SSD. There's no need to try to find a rare and often expensive HP branded PCI-e NVMe card. The generic cards that that cost around $8 work fine. The BIOS on these motherboards natively supports NVMe drives when it sees them on the PCI-e buss.
 
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Joined
Nov 14, 2020
Messages
14 (0.01/day)
System Name HP Z440/Z460 "Franken"station purchased on Ebay for $152 w/bad motherboard, plus motherboard for $62
Processor Xeon E5-2667v4 3.2ghz/3.6ghz Turbo, 8 core (16 with hyperthreading)
Motherboard HP Z460 with Intel C612 chipset, can use Xeon V3 and V4 processors
Cooling Using stock Z440 cpucooler, Z460 dual fans the Z460 motherboard requires, using 2nd fan inside case.
Memory 64Gb DDR4 2400MHz REG ECC SERVER MEMORY $70+40 (4 16gb sticks) used on Ebay
Video Card(s) EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB Gaming
Storage 1Tb Nvme SSD, 4x6Tb SAS drives=18TB RAID5, 4x8Tb SAS=24TbRAID5,3x18Tb enterprise Sata=32Tb RAID5 NAS
Display(s) TCL 65P635 65 inch 4K HDR TV via HDMI (4K@60hz) (upgraded from 55" last year,net cost $200)
Case Stock Z440 case with z640 motherboard (2nd z460 cooling fan blowing on HP P812 SAS Raid controller)
Audio Device(s) Denon AVRS730H 7.2ch AV receiver with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
Power Supply stock Z440 700W 90+ efficient PSU
Mouse Logitech M570 trackball
Keyboard Logitech K350 Wave
VR HMD SAS drives are in 2 external 5 bay enclosures connected via the HP P812 SAS RAID controller
Software Windows 10 Pro (enterprise) OEM license that came with motherboard.
Benchmark Scores Using a HP Smart Array P812 PCI-e SAS Server RAID Controller with capacitor buffer backup, $15 Ebay
Hello again fellow HP workstation enthusiasts.

I thought I should post a note about a disconcerting issue I ran into when doing the last upgrade to my z440/z640 "frankenstation".

Background:
For this upgrade, I decided to expand the two raid-5 arrays I had by adding an additional drive to each of them. Expanding my 12Tb array with 3 6tb drives into a 18tb array with an additional 6tb drive, and expanding my 16tb array with 3 8tb drives into a 24tb array with an additional 8tb drive.

As usual (for me), I sourced retired enterprice grade datacenter SAS drives for this that matched the existing drives in the arrays. These are much more robust than any regular desktop SATA drives are, with around 2 million hours mean-time-between-failure (MTBF) specs. So even though they have been spinning for several years in some server farm, these used drives have better longevity than the usual desktop drives or even red "raid" drives do. There are equivalent retired enterprise grade SATA drives out there, but they often go for more money than the SAS drives do, and the SAS drives usually have a bit more throughput than the SATA versions do. Yes, the SAS drives require either a PCI-E hardware RAID controller, or a non-raid SAS HBA (or RAID controller running in HBA mode), but recycled datacenter PCI-e controllers can be found for very little money.

I'll make another post discussing some considerations regarding these controllers....

So here's the issue I ran into:
First off, let me be clear that this is not a hardware issue -- the Zx40 workstations have no issue with large drives. It is a Windows OS issue, specifically, a Windows NTFS volume cluster size issue.

So in my situation, I successfully expanded the raid 5 arrays in the raid controller configuration utility, but when I attempted to expand the Windows NTFS volume to the logical drive's new larger capacity, I got this somewhat cryptic and worrisome error message from the Windows DISKMGMT utility: "The volume cannot be extended because the number of clusters will exceed the maximum number of clusters supported by the file system."

What the heck?!?!

At first I thought the error was saying there was an NTFS limit (which IS, after all, the "file system"), which didn't make sense because I recalled that Microsoft was very verbal about NTFS volumes being able to be defined in Petabyte (1024 Terrabyte) sizes. Some research on the web finally lead me to the real culprit -- the fact that NTFS volumes with a cluster size of 4KB (the Windows default cluster size) can't be expanded beyond 16TB.

When a NTFS volume is formatted that is less than 16TB, the Windows default cluster size of 4KB is used (unless you specify something different, which most people don't do).
This isn't discussed much in many forums because most folks haven't (yet) tried to upgrade/expand existing drives beyond this limit. When you insert a new single drive larger than 16TB, and format a volume on it, Windows will automatically assign a default 8KB cluster size when formatting the volume (again, unless you specify otherwise). So when building a NEW system with or ADDING a new drive and volume >16TB to an existing system, the issue doesn't surface.

The issue only surfaces AFTER you upgrade an existing drive, whether it is a logical drive (like a RAID array) or a physical drive, beyond this 16TB limit, either by expanding a the logical drive of a RAID array or trying to upgrade a smaller single physical drive with a larger single drive (>16TB), which is typically done using a disk cloning utility, often a branded version of Acronis supplied by drive manufacturers, or some other utility like Macrium.

In both of these cases, the drive upgrade will be successful, and the volume will show up in windows as being the same size as before the drive upgrade. This is normal and expected, and requires the additional step to "expand" the size of the volume to incorporate the added storage..

When looked at in the Windows Disk Management Utility (Diskmgmt), it will show the drive as being the new larger size, but the volume will be the original size, with unformatted space following the existing volume. The usual choice for most folks is to use Windows' Diskmgmt to expand the volume, telling it to add that unformatted space on the drive to the existing volume.

That's when you get the above message if the expansion will push the volume past the 4KB cluster size 16TB limit..

Unfortunately, the various disk backup/cloning software utilities (such as Macrium or Acronis) don't deal with this limit either -- they just restore the cloned volumes to the same cluster size the original volume used. I know most of the various disk partition utilities can't do this either. Although some of the paid ones may look like they might, I doubt they can safely do this. I know that the open source Gparted utility can't do this either -- I checked with the developer.
(A word of caution regarding these partition utilities: They make "in-place" modifications to the volumes, and so if they fail, the volume will likely be corrupted. If you haven't done a backup prior to running the utility, you could lose all of your data.)

So how to fix this?
The easiest solution would be to live with this 16TB cluster size limit, and define another volume using the unfromatted space, and live with the data being split into multiple separate volumes -- but that makes things unecessarily complex in the long term.
If you really want to upgrade your existing volume to be >16TB, it seems the only way is to do it manually using the following steps:
1A. If you are working with a logical drive like a RAID array, do a full backup of the existing drive contents using a utility that is known to be trustworthy (not all are), and verify the backup worked. Make sure you can "mount" the backup and access/copy individual files from it. I use the free version of Macrium for this. I have had some issues with Acronis failing to access some backups in the past, so I don't trust that utility any more. An alternative is to not do an array expansion, but instead to define an entirely new array with different drives, keeping the original as the source "backup" (this is a much more expensive option because you have to have and use an entirely different set ot drives).
1B. If you are upgrading a single physical drive, then you can use the original smaller drive as the source "backup", and no separate backup is needed.
2A. For a logical drive, after doing the successful backup and you have verified it and know you can "mount" it in Windows, delete the existing array, and redefine it with the additional drive(s).
2B. For the single drive upgrade, install the new larger than 16TB drive in the system
3. Format a new NTFS volume on the new/expanded drive in Windows. Windows will automatically choose the 8KB default if it sees the volume is going to be >16TB. You can specify it manually as 8KB too.
4. If your original drive was the boot drive with Windows installed on it, you will likely have to reinstall windows and your programs, unless you pay for and use a specialized system copying utility to move the operating system, programs, and windows system registry and user registry files over to the new drive. Such utilities exist, but they are not free and are expensive, and they often don't do everything correctly or the way you want them to. The safest way is to do a "clean" installation of windows, reinstall your programs, and then proceed to step 5 after that. If your drive was NOT the boot drive with windows on it, then you skip this step and go straight to step 5..
5. If using a backup, then mount it in windows so you can access the files in the backup. If you have the original smaller drive, keep it installed on the system, but don't boot from it.
6. Manually copy all directories and files from the mounted backup or original "source" drive. Each file will be copied to the new drive using the larger cluster size. The creation and file modification dates will be the same as on the original drive or backup, but all directories will have the date and time stamp of the time of their creation on the NEW drive. There may be some 3rd party file copying utilities that will preserve the directory dates, but I don't know what they are (if any).
Suggestion: If your drive has a lot of files and directories at the root level, I recommend printing a list of the items in the root directory, and breaking up the copy process into multiple parts -- copying one subset of them at a time, because it will be easier to monitor that the copying is successfully working, and you'll know where you left off or where to restart if something fails (like the system hangs or a power failure occurs). If a failure happens in the middle of copying a directory, then just recopy the whole directory and tell it to "replace" any files that it finds are duplicates. This is safer than trying to figure out where to restart in the middle of a directory.

This copying process will take a long time -- probably twice as long as the regular disk cloning operation would have taken. But I believe it is the safest way to do this. In my situation, it took several days to get it all done.

Note that it is likely that the copy process will identify that there are some duplicate files (usually named "desktop.ini"). You can safely chose to skip these files, or to replace them with the ones from the backup. These desktop.ini files are where Windows stores the viewing preferences for each directory, so I recommend copying them from the backup to retain any custom views you might have made. Note also that it is not unusual for there to be a significant delay (sometimes several minutes) after the last file is copied before the copy windows disappears. Don't worry, just wait until the copy window closes before continuing.

If you are expanding your boot drive (assuming you have done a clean installation of windows, and resinstalled your programs on the new or expanded drive), here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Many programs store data in the special "appdata" directories -- for instance, your web browser bookmarks, history, extensions and settings are usually stored there. Depending on whether you have the option in the directory "view" settings in windows file explorer set to "Show hidden files and folders" or set to "Do not show hidden files or folders", the "appdata" directories won't be seen or copied.
I don't recommend wholesale copying of them. However, for particular situations (like your web browser settings and bookmarks), you might want to copy a certain particular program's directories over from the original drive.
The pathname for these "appdata" files are usually as follows:
C:\Users\<yourusername>\AppData\Roaming\<programname>
or

C:\Users\<yourusername>\AppData\Roaming\<companyname>\<programname>
Sometimes a program's settings are stored in the AppData\Local directory instead of the Appdata\Roaming directory -- the Google Chrome browser uses the local variant.

For example, for the Firefox browser, it's data is stored in the folder
C:\Users\<yourusername>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox
So, after copying all of your files, if you want to recover your Firefox settings, bookmarks and history, you would copy that directory from the backup/source over to the new volume appdata directory after you complete the rest of the copying. Make sure Firefox is NOT running when you do this copy. Then the next time you go into Firefox, all this stuff will be back to what you remember.
For the Chrome web browser, its settings, bookmarks and extensions can be copied from the following appdata directory:
C:\Users\<yourusername>\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome
Note, if you have the directory view setting "Do not show hidden files or folders" turned on, you won't see the appdata directory. You can either switch that setting to "Show hidden files and folders" so you can see it and then browse it in Windows File Explorer, or you can use a "shortcut" to go directly to the AppData\Roaming directory by typing the following into the file pathname field at the top of any Windows File Explorer window: "%appdata%" (without the quotes) and press <enter>. The shortcut for the AppData\Local directoriy is "%localappdata%".
Suggestion: You might want to make and keep a copy of the old appdata directories from the backup saved somewhere in case you later discover that there's another program whose settings you want to copy over to the new volume.
2. Please do NOT copy the following directories and files from the backup to the new volume:
/Windows and it's subordinate directories
/Program files and its subordinate directories
/Program files (x86) and its subordinate directories
/users/<yourusername>/NTUSER.DAT <===== This file is a part of the Windows Registry
/users/<yourusername>/appdata and its subordinate directories, with the exceptions noted in number 1 above.
3. Make sure you have not unchecked the folder view option "Hide protected operating system files" so you won't accidentally see and copy those files.

I hope this helps others deal with crossing this little known NTFS 4KB cluster 16TB limit.

Philip
 
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