Need help, lost setting up second SATA HDD!

Hi folks,

Got a new rig last Friday; having some snags getting a second HDD setup. I'm fairly certain the problem is me and not the hardware--I'm far from current on the latest standards. Basically what I'm after is some instructions on how to set up and enable a second SATA-only HDD now that Windows is installed and updated.

Bare Specs:
Biostar TA780G w/ AMD 6000+
80GB 7200RPM SATA II U300
Echo Star 600 Watt Power Supply
WinXP Pro SP2

My board has 6 SATA ports. My objective was to set up my secondary SATA hdd for media and game storage. (HDD in question is the Raptor 150GB)

I'll try to make this short. I declined to have a Vista OS installed since I own a copy of XP Pro. As such, the tech that put my barebones together only flashed the Bios and plugged my little Samsung HDD into the Sata #1 port. My plan was to use this Samsung for the OS and program file storage.

The first thing I noticed while examining the wiring was that my Echo Star PS has only ONE black SATA connector on the daisy-chain; this is currently being used by the Samsung. Planning for the second drive, I went to the local tech shop and grabbed an IDEtoSATA conversion cable (consists of female 4 pin on one end and black SATA connector on the other) and SATA cord for the second drive.

Computer posted fine and I got WindowsXP SP2 installed on the Samsung no problem. Then proceeded to install all hardware drivers on the T-series mobo CD--except those for RAID.

Until this point I had assumed that I would have no problem running two seperate HDD in SATA without having to use the RAID system, which is a storage method I know little about. As such, when the T-series mobo CD warned me that the RAID drivers would have to be accessed by hitting F6 during setup, I got worried and opted not to install them yet.

When I physically installed the raptor hdd(SATA port #2 on the mobo), it was not recognized in the BIOS or the OS; SATA2 port shows no device present. After some research today I believe that this MIGHT be due to the fact that my BIOS are currently set to "Natural IDE"--no RAID or AHCI enabled:

From Tom's forums:
Basically this setting determines what driver is required to use the SATA ports. If you put the chipset in "IDE" or "Legacy IDE" mode, then no special driver is required - Windows XP and Vista will both use a generic IDE driver to install the OS and to access other hard drives on the SATA ports. However, you do not get the advanced features of SATA (hot swap, NCQ) in this mode.

Putting the chipset in "SATA" or "AHCI" mode gives you those extra features, but you need the manufacturer's special driver instead of the generic IDE driver. If you want to boot your OS off a HD that's connected while the selector is in this mode, you have to load the driver during OS setup using F6.

Currently my BIOS shows SATA-IDE Combined mode as 'enabled'.

I'm confused in that my little Samsung was setup at the vendor and shows up under SATA1 with no issues--what's my major malfunction in figuring out how to add another?

If I sound like a rookie so far my apolgies--I am a rookie on the new standards for storage. The last CPU I put together was back around 2001.


1.What is the difference between Natural and Legacy IDE?

2.Are these IDE-->Sata conversion jumpers safe in most applications? Most stores I called had never heard of nor carried such a conversion cable.

3.I don't have an old floppy drive on this rig. I don't want to use RAID. It seems that installing driver's for AHCI or RAID after the OS is already present could be problematic... This is based on some XP issues I've been reading about:

From WIKI:
Enabling AHCI in a system BIOS will cause a 0x7B Blue Screen of Death STOP error (INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE) on installations of Windows XP where AHCI/RAID drivers for that system's chipset are not installed. Switching to AHCI mode requires installing new drivers before changing the BIOS settings.

....If I already have one drive running in SATA, does this not mean AHCI is already enabled? If all I have to do is install some drivers and then enable AHCI in the BIOS, I will feel more than a little foolish...

4. Is running two SATA drives without RAID simply not feasible nowadays on an XP system? I have no plans to go to VISTA just yet.

5. I'm not home right now, but I do believe I recall seeing an option for 'Legacy IDE' under my BIOS. Is it true that legacy IDE mode will allow my OS to access other hard drives on the 5 remaining SATA ports, at the cost of some of the 'advanced features' on the drive?

Sorry to be long winded--I'm just terribly confused right now. My inclination is to change the BIOS from 'Natural IDE' to one of the other settings. However, I'm worried my ignorance is going to lead me to the 'blue screen of death'...

Just as a side note--I do realize my choice of a Raptor is questionable considering some of the reviews out on them. One goal I had for this rig was to play an MMO coming out that costs an obscene 30+GB of disk space; Raptor may have quality and reliability issues but I was willing to risk it in order to compare the 10K RPM speed as far as load times. (I'm sure RAID would help there, but again I'm not quite ready to do a RAID setup)

As it happens, I'm also RMA'ing the raptor due to issues involving the silica bag breaking open and contaminating the entire static enclosure. I've read this has been happening w/ some OEM Raptors from Newegg. I suspect the thing is DOA; prior to OS installation I swapped the drives out...The samsung shows up in BIOS but the raptor does not. Hopefully by the time the new one arrives I will have learned something about SATA and be better armed to try again. I'm curious about the speed but willing to go with another type of HDD if the second Raptor is also junk on arrival.

Thanks in advance for any guidance you folks can offer a newbie!

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  1. 1. No difference, really - that's just the nomenclature that was selected by the BIOS manufacturer. It means the same thing - the SATA ports are being operated in IDE mode, and don't require any special drivers. This is how your Samsung is currently set up.

    2. It's not really an IDE->SATA conversion cable, it's just a power adapter from standard Molex to SATA. Most of the SATA hard drives that you buy in retail kits come with one.

    3. No need to install AHCI or RAID drivers. Due to the silica problem and the fact that when you put the Raptor on SATA port 1 and it still wasn't identified by the BIOS, I'm betting that the Raptor is bad.

    4. Not at all. Multiple SATA drives should work fine without RAID.

    5. I looked in your motherboard manual, and there is a setting for the SATA mode that has both a "Native IDE" and a "Legacy IDE". Unfortunately, the manual doesn't explain the difference. Native IDE is the default, so I'd leave it there. It could be that the Legacy IDE setting allows only two ports to be used, emulating a real IDE controller that would only support 2 devices.

    Anyway, I'm betting that when you get your RMA'd replacement Raptor and plug it into SATA port 2, that it will show up. After that just go to Disk Management and partition & format it.
  2. Thank you for taking the time to look into that for me SomeJoe7777, I really appreciate it! You've cleared this issue up for me quite a bit.

    I knew this could not be as complicated as I'd convinced myself it was. ;-)

    Hopefully the next raptor is good to go, but I'm not holding my breath. Some people on newegg got like 4 or 5 bad ones in a row....ugh.

    Just curious--do you actually own this Biostar mobo or is the manual available in an online archive somewhere? I'd love a link if it is--could be handy when away from home...
  3. Biostar TA780G M2+ Manual. No, I don't own this motherboard.
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