Can I use a SATA drive as a simple, ordinary slave storage drive in conunction with my three IDE drives (one of which is the master)?
I have an A7N8X-E motherboard with three IDE drives installed (with one as the master and the other two as slaves, obviously). I have a fourth drive, a 750GB WD SATA drive I'd like to add as a third slave. I connect the data and power cables and jumper the drive to run at 150 MB/s. The computer boots, gets past the initial post screen. The next screen reads "SiI 3312A SATARAid BIOS Version 4.2.27"... "Press <Ctrl-S> or F4 to enter RAID utility." Then it lists the correct model info for my SATA drive.
I press Ctrl-S and/or F4 and nothing happens. I cannot enter the RAID BIOS. Nor can I continue the boot process. I'm frozen on this screen. The only way to boot into Windows is to turn off the computer, disconnect the SATA drive, and boot again. When I boot without the SATA drive connected, everything works normally, but I still can't get into the RAID BIOS. When I hit F4 or Ctrl-S during boot, it just tells me that there are no RAID drives installed and continues with the boot process.
I tried the same process as above with the jumper removed. There was no change.
I've googled the heck out of this problem. Some sources suggest that this motherboard will not permit the use of a SATA drive except in a RAID configuration and that it will not permit a RAID configuration with just one SATA drive. If they're right about this, then the hang at boot is the BIOS's way of saying "Where the hell is the other SATA drive? We're not going anywhere until you install it." Since I don't have another SATA drive, I'm SOL.
Other sources seem to imply that what I'm trying to do is possible and focus on getting the correct Windows drivers installed. Of course, if I can't get the BIOS to recognize the drive, then Windows drivers aren't going to do me any good.
I've considered flashing the main BIOS, but have no solid reason to think that would solve the problem, so the risk seems unwarranted at the moment. I'd consider flashing the RAID BIOS if only I knew how.
Someone suggested disabling RAID altogether. I thought this an excellent idea, but there's no jumper setting for that on the motherboard. And one forum post I read indicated that the RAID BIOS, even if I *could* get into it, can't disable RAID either.
So... my questions.
1. Is there any way to get my motherboard to add this single SATA drive as a slave without buying additional equipment?
2. Will a SATA card or some other device solve this problem? If so, which one(s) would you recomend?
3. If I did have a second SATA drive and set up a RAID configuration, would I have to use one of the drives as a mirror of the other or could I store different data on each? (Would this be called 'striping without mirroring'?) If the latter.. could the second drive then be a different size than the first?
Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.