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Packard Bell Ixtreme e303 Eberly Bios Sata Controller Conflict

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July 9, 2010 9:02:49 AM

G'day.

Folks, i am in deep. The guts of my computer are showing as i attempt to fix it and i am not entirely sure what has gone wrong ( I know- not a good place to start!)

I was trying to upgrade the hard drive of my Packard Bell iXtreme E303. It has an AMD Athlon 64 3400+ processor, and running an Eberly Bios 4.0e version. I purchased a WD10ears Sata HDD, to replace a 160GB IDE (PATA) drive. I wanted to install the same operating systems on the SATA as i had on the PATA drive - Dual Boot XP Home and Windows 7 Home Premium. The idea was to use the 160GB as a backup destination only.

The first challenge i faced was that my computer did not have a SATA port. After reviewing the adapters available, i figured on going for a SATA VT6421a PCI Card. It has 2 Sata ports and a IDE port. I inserted the PCI card, with WD10ears attached and booted up fine. first into Win 7, the drivers were found and the hard drive located. i initiated the drive, but did not format it. I then restarted and booted into XP. The add new hardware wizard was being a nightmare, it did not locate the necessary drivers. i installed the setup software that came with the PCI card and rebooted as required. I could no longer access the partitions on the 160GB PATA hard drrive on the next reboot. The PATA HDD was connected to the mobo's IDE port, not the pci cards ide port.

On attempting a reinstall to the SATA drive, i am greeted with BSOD's in XP, with messages about DRIVER IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL, or ATAPI.SYs issues. When attempting to install Win 7 i am greetded with the message "windows cannot be installed to this disk. this computers hardware may not support booting to this disk. ensure that the disks controller is enabled in the computers bios menu." I can see the drive on both attempgts. I am not sure what i have done wrong.

My fear is that even if i make it through a successful install of the XP setup, on restart i will still not be able to boot from the SATA drive. I did select F6 and installed the necessary driver btw.

I think i need an updated BIOS as the version has a release date of 02/25/2005 and does not have a SATA option.

Can anyone please help? There is no PB support for my version that i have been able to locate :( 

Thankyou in advance - i know you guys won't let me down!
July 9, 2010 6:38:21 PM

So far looks like your motherboard isn't compatible with the newly added hardware. You were probably better off getting another IDE hard drive.

At any rate, now you're probably better off selling the motherboard/CPU/RAM, and recylcing the PSU, hard drives, DVD drives and getting a new motherboard and CPU.
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July 10, 2010 12:24:45 AM

Cheers for the reply mate. not exactly what i wangted to hear though :D 

I've since identified that the mobo is a gigabyte GA-K8VM, so am about to try updating the bios. its still a 2005 version, but a december 7th version (10moths newer). Any ideas if this will help install drivers in the CMOS that swill detect a sata pci card and hence add the sata hdd option on the bios' boot order, and thus also enable the hdd controller for windows 7 to install to the new sata drive?
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July 10, 2010 4:45:46 AM

It is occassionally possible to flash the bios of an OEM product with the bios of a similar retail product from the same manufacturer BUT YOU RISK KILLING THE BOARD in doing so. It is unlikely that your OEM board even has a socketed bios chip so if the bios update fails the board is shot.

http://www.motherboards.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4699...

Normally the BIOS should come from Packard Bell as they might have tweaked the chipset from Gigabyte's reference mob0 (like DELL does with their motherboards).

But if you're willing to risk losing the motherboard to a bad flash attempt (which will force you to upgrade to a newer better mobo), then go for it.
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July 10, 2010 6:14:18 AM

yeah, thought that was strange too. i tried their bios from within the windows 7 command prompt, but the autoexec file could not locate the necessary flash executable. i booted up ubuntu, taught myself about wine and dosbox (enough to get started), the autoexec.bat file worked but the gui said incorrect chipset detect and that the bios was write protected. checked bios and flash was definately enabled. just cant figure out why, when my old ide drive is connected to the new pci card, the bios can see the drive with an option to boot off it, but booting fails and goes straight into the realtek network crap, and windows 7 cant see the ide, but can see the sata drive but says bios controller not enabled for booting off drive. driving me nuts!
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July 10, 2010 6:16:14 PM

owlcave said:
yeah, thought that was strange too. i tried their bios from within the windows 7 command prompt, but the autoexec file could not locate the necessary flash executable. i booted up ubuntu, taught myself about wine and dosbox (enough to get started), the autoexec.bat file worked but the gui said incorrect chipset detect and that the bios was write protected. checked bios and flash was definately enabled. just cant figure out why, when my old ide drive is connected to the new pci card, the bios can see the drive with an option to boot off it, but booting fails and goes straight into the realtek network crap, and windows 7 cant see the ide, but can see the sata drive but says bios controller not enabled for booting off drive. driving me nuts!


That's the whole idea of upgrading - to drive people nuts so they will have to uograde. It's not meant to happen for tech from 10 or even 5 years ago to match up nicely, work with new components of this year. Give up the ghost of that old PC and reincarnate it into a quadcore (less than hundred bucks now or even a tricore will do). You'll thank yourself later.
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July 11, 2010 12:27:17 AM

and i thank you sir, for your advice.

Am a little hesitant to upgarde the unit. i really want to build one from scratch, but seeing the troubles with installing one hdd, i think i'll need to do that in some vacation time :) 

As for now, think i'll settle fcor a Ubuntu o/s booted off thumb drive (if i can get that working), at least i'll be able to close her up and get the office back to tidy, if not clean!

Thansk again mate. :sol: 
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