I'm upgrading my old computer for the last time. I've been running parallel ATA hard drives since there invention and have decided to use the newer SATA drive this time around.
I only wanted to run one hard drive on this computer. The problem I have, are the choices I have with this motherboard. In the manual it says that I can use Raid 0 (Redundant array of independent drives), Raid 1 (Striping) Raid 2 (Mirroring), or JBOD (Spanning).
The way it is worded, it sounds like I must run two hard drives to take advantage of this SATA techno. Do I really have to buy a second hard drive to use SATA with this board? I only have/want to use one hard drive!
No you can just use one hard drive. RAID is for multiple hard drives and doesn't affect anything about single hard drives. All you need to do is plug the drive in and reinstall your OS and any applications you had before.
If you plan to install XP fresh onto your new SATA drive, you most certainly can do the AHCI driver installation from floppy so that the SATA drive can use AHCI mode. (On an older mobo there just might not be an AHCI option, they might call it just Native SATA.)
The other option, if it is in your mobo's BIOS, is to have the SATA drive pretend it is an IDE drive. Within BIOS Setup go to where the SATA ports are managed and make sure the SATA port(s) are Enabled. Look very close to there for a place to set the port mode. Options usually are IDE (or PATA) Emulation, Native SATA, AHCI, or RAID. If you set Native SATA or AHCI, you will have to load a driver from floppy in the Win XP Install process. But choose the IDE (or PATA) Emulation option and the BIOS will fool Windows into thinking the drive is only an IDE unit it fully understands, and no driver needs to be installed - it just works! Doing this means you do miss out on a few advanced features of AHCI devices, but if you don't care about this, this is a way to avoid the driver install from floppy step.