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Can't find AHCI in bios, what can I do and how will IDE effect my SSD?

Last response: in Storage
August 23, 2013 8:47:53 PM

I posted over in the motherboard forums because I figured bios = motherboard issue, but no one was able to help me.. so here I am. I bought an SSD and was trying to go through all of the tweaks to optimize it when suddenly I realized I don't have an option to change to AHCI in my bios. I've checked everywhere, I'm certain the option is not there. Since I haven't been able to find a solution over the past few days I just went ahead and tweaked everything else and installed programs that I wanted on the SSD. At this point, everything is basically done except that, as far as I know, I am still running in IDE.

I ran a check to see if TRIM was enabled, and according to CMD, it is. Am I correct in assuming that even though TRIM is enabled, it cannot function properly unless I'm running in AHCI?

Also, I'd like to know if there is a way to flash my bios to a version that will have AHCI support, because according to my GoogleFu research, this mobo should support AHCI and it seems like it's just an issue of neutered bios. Problem is, I have never had to flash bios and while I know what doing so means, that about sums up my knowledge of the matter. In other words, I have no idea how exactly to flash bios, or if doing so will even solve the problem.

Last question, if I do end up just being stuck in IDE, will this degrade the SSD more rapidly than in AHCI? When Googling my bios issue I have seen it mentioned that running in IDE can prematurely degrade the SSD but I'm not sure if that is just a rumor or what. There is certainly a lot of smoke and mirrors on the web when it comes to SSDs.

Mobo: ASUS P5QL-M EPU (P43)
OS: Win7x64
SSD: Samsung 840 120gb

Thanks in advance!
a c 85 G Storage
a c 194 V Motherboard
August 23, 2013 8:51:43 PM

What make/model of motherboard are you using? Also, you usually set AHCI in what is referred to as "SATA Mode".
a b V Motherboard
August 23, 2013 8:55:38 PM

Go to sata controller then select AHCI for SSD and IDE for Optical Drive. Is this a fresh windows install or you have already installed windows? If you didnt enable ahci as windows was installed then dont enable it now as windows was installed with IDE and it wont be able to boot with ahci controlled and will give Stop Errors at boot.
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a b G Storage
a c 103 V Motherboard
August 23, 2013 9:05:10 PM

Your SSD will work OK in IDE mode. Trim works too as long as you have windows 7 or 8. You will just have slightly slower read/write speeds.

To change your system to AHCI from IDE: run regedit

In the registry, navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\msahci

Then right-click on the word Start on the right-side and click Modify. Change the value to “0” and click OK. Exit Regedit, reboot the system, and change your sata controller to AHCI, save & exit then boot into Windows.
August 23, 2013 9:15:21 PM

Sorry, don't know how I left that out. Mobo is an ASUS P5QL-M EPU with a p43 chipset. OS is Win7x64. SSD chosen is a Samsung 840. If I do ever find a way to change to AHCI I do know how to change the registry before making the switch as to avoid BSODs. My only problem currently is finding the damn option to change it. As I mentioned, I have looked under every single setting/page/you-name-it in the bios.. so unless they gave it some weird different name, it's not there.

As far as the system currently in IDE mode, it is noticeably faster than the previous Barracuda that was in it. I won't say it's everything I expected, but it's still a vast improvement. I have not experienced an SSD in AHCI mode so I really can't compare whether or not the difference is significant enough for me to go through all this trouble.

EDIT: I just had a random thought. I currently have my SATA cables in position 5 and 6 on my mobo because my graphics card sits directly on top of the 1 and 2 ports. As far as function goes, everything is fine and I've had this setup like this for years.. but is it possible that this could have anything to do with it? Dual 90 degree cables would probably allow me to move back to 1 and 2.. but I'd really rather not buy cables and all that just to find out. I can't imagine this would be the case but I figured I'd throw all the cards on the table and see if anyone can come up with a solution.
August 23, 2013 9:46:28 PM

Ahh, read my mind. Or I read yours. I was just looking through the manual. Here is what I found. As you can see in the manual, my screen should read as follows:

Storage Configuration
- Sata Configuration
- Hard disk Write Protect

Now, taking note of the fine print in the manual, it looks like installing the correct driver manually could magically make this setting appear in bios? Am I reading this right?

And for those who insist I am just missing it (wink wink, just playing), here's a picture of the storage config in bios. As you can see, Sata config is missing.

a b G Storage
a c 103 V Motherboard
August 24, 2013 11:26:22 AM

Looks to me your MB BIOS does not have AHCI mode at all. Your MB is a LGA 775. Probably no sata3 either. So you will only get the sata2 speeds. But on the bright side, the ssd will work in IDE mode and you should see some speed improvements.

Best solution

a c 85 G Storage
a c 194 V Motherboard
August 24, 2013 1:38:05 PM

Make sure you are running the most current BIOS (0601). That may enable the features to configure the SATA mode.
August 24, 2013 4:12:08 PM

I've been trying to find a more recent bios version, but I'm concerned because all I can find from ASUS is P5QL/EPU BIOS 0408 which is dated before the bios version that I have, albeit the one I have is numbered 0221. I'm working up the courage to try it out but I'm really worried about having the wrong version and bricking my system. I do plan to upgrade the mobo/CPU in this system next, but I really just don't have the money to do so any time soon - it's gotta last me a while.

I'm "pretty sure" it's the right one, but I guess I'm just trying to wait for absolute certainty.
a b G Storage
a c 103 V Motherboard
August 24, 2013 4:20:31 PM

Your MB is a micro MB? The "M" in the model number usually means this. The bios you are looking at is not for a micro board. Be careful. Look at your MB and find the exact model and revison numbers.
August 25, 2013 11:50:14 AM

Just and update: I did find the correct BIOS version (0407) and flashed it successfully. Unfortunately, this did not solve my original problem. My BIOS is still missing an AHCI function so I guess it's safe to assume that my mobo just does not support AHCI.

Spook2th, I'm unsure if the mobo is micro or not, as I'm not really familiar with the size difference. I believe the case is a mid tower, and it's pretty tight inside there. I would say it's a definitely possibility. I did find a different version of the BIOS which was specific to the -M designation so I would say you were probably correct.
October 15, 2013 2:43:53 PM

I think I have the same BIOS as you, and the SATA configuration should be located in the first tab (the one with all HDDs and other drives).