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New build - BIOS settings for SATA drives

Last response: in Motherboards
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September 9, 2009 3:36:50 AM

The build was ok. The boot was ok. The BIOS?
My main issue right now is setting up the BIOS and checking that my drives are set up properly to eventually run on Vista.

My motherboard and drives:

Gigabyte EP45-UD3P motherboard
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA ( intended as my main drive)
Western Digital Caviar Green 640GB SATA ( a data/storage drive)
Two Plextor SATA DVD Drives
I will be installing Vista, once the system is all set up. The HDs will NOT be RAID.


My drives are connected to the following yellow SATA ports:

SATA2_0…WD 1TB main drive
SATA2_1…WD 640GB storage drive
SATA2_2…DVD top
SATA2_3…DVD bottom

All the ports were listed in the BIOS as follows:

IDE CHANNEL 0 MASTER….WD 1TB main drive
IDE CHANNEL 0 SLAVE……..DVDR
IDE CHANNEL 1 MASTER….WD 640GB storage drive
IDE CHANNEL 1 SLAVE……..DVDR
IDE CHANNEL 2 MASTER…..NONE
IDE CHANNEL 3 MASTER…..NONE
IDE CHANNEL 4 MASTER…..NONE
IDE CHANNEL 4 SLAVE………NONE
IDE CHANNEL 5 MASTER…..NONE
IDE CHANNEL 5 SLAVE………NONE

Seems o.k. but…

a.) Shouldn’t the drives be listed as SATA PORT_0 through 3 instead of IDE CHANNELS? I poked around the other BIOS menus but couldn’t find anything to change it.

b.) If this is just the only way that the drives are recognized then shouldn’t the HDs be paired up as master/slave and likewise the DVDs?

c.) Just trying to get things set up properly for best performance from the start. Save me from having to redo things down the road. Any additional advice or suggestions for setting up the BIOS would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. I just threw the windows disk into one of the DVD drives to see what happens and it booted fine. However, I canceled the install. I will wait to hear any advice before going ahead with installing the OS and all.

Thanks
September 9, 2009 10:56:17 PM

Answer for part "b", sort of.

Did some more research on other forums. It appears that Gigabyte recomends connecting DVDs to the last two yellow SATA ports: SATA2_4 and SATA2_5.

I tried it and my DVD drives moved to

IDE CHANNEL 2 MASTER…..DVD
IDE CHANNEL 3 MASTER…..DVD

This seems like where they should be listed, but I am not sure if the system would care either way.

Still need to figure out best BIOS settings to take advantage of SATA and use the right drivers (windows vs. supplied driver disks).

any ideas?
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a b V Motherboard
September 10, 2009 1:27:09 AM

I have the same motherboard, and on the "Integrated Peripherals" page, SATA RAID/AHCI mode is Disabled. That sets the controller to "IDE mode". Since I had no intention of using RAID or command queuing or hotswapping, I didn't want to bother loading RAID drivers from a floppy or whatever prior the OS install.

The orange SATA ports are on a different controller, normally slightly less effective. So that's a good place to park opticals.
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September 10, 2009 4:17:06 PM

Looks like the IDE mode settings may be the safest way to go as far as Vista is concerened.

I plan on trying this:

SATA RAID/AHCI mode...........Disabled
SATA AHCI mode....................Disabled
SATA Port 0-3 Native mode....Enabled

Other options look like they are unnecessary since I also won’t be using RAID and I would rather not mess with tricky SATA driver installation during the OS installation.

My understanding is that operating a SATA device as an IDE dosn't make a noticeable differance in performance for average use.
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a b V Motherboard
September 10, 2009 4:57:50 PM

That is my understanding as well.
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a c 229 V Motherboard
September 10, 2009 10:06:40 PM

OS-X said:
Looks like the IDE mode settings may be the safest way to go as far as Vista is concerened.

I plan on trying this:

SATA RAID/AHCI mode...........Disabled
SATA AHCI mode....................Disabled
SATA Port 0-3 Native mode....Enabled

Other options look like they are unnecessary since I also won’t be using RAID and I would rather not mess with tricky SATA driver installation during the OS installation.

My understanding is that operating a SATA device as an IDE dosn't make a noticeable differance in performance for average use.
You are correct, but just in case you'd like to use AHCI, Vista already includes the drivers. After installation they probably should be upgraded to the latest version available from Intel.
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a b V Motherboard
September 11, 2009 1:53:21 AM

IDE mode for XP, Xp does not contain SATA or RAID drivers.
OR during install you must use the "f6" option and load the correct drivers or XP will not find your hard drive if it is set to AHCI mode.

Vista does contain SATA and RAID drivers. It will find your drives just fine without having to load drivers if you set them to AHCI mode.

Be warned, whatever you install with, you cannot change later. (well you can, but it is a lenghty, pain in the butt, registry editing type of ordeal, you can google for it.)
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a b V Motherboard
September 11, 2009 4:10:08 AM

jitpublisher said:
IDE mode for XP, Xp does not contain SATA or RAID drivers.
Vista does contain SATA and RAID drivers. It will find your drives just fine without having to load drivers if you set them to AHCI mode.
Be warned, whatever you install with, you cannot change later. (well you can, but it is a lenghty, pain in the butt, registry editing type of ordeal, you can google for it.)
Excellent summary. IDE mode is really only there for legacy support of XP or other older operating systems - if you're using Vista or Windows 7 and you're installing from scratch you should use AHCI mode (or RAID mode if you need it).
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September 11, 2009 5:03:57 PM

Oops. I had completed most of my installations before I had seen the new recommendations in favor of using AHCI mode. I had been afraid that the “F6” procedure would be required to setup AHCI on Vista. Sounded pretty tricky for me.

Regardless, this info is very helpful. Especially if I ever have to do a clean reinstall with this system. Hopefully, any difference in performance with IDE mode won’t be noticeable.

The good news is that the OS install and driver updates all went fairly smoothly and everything seems to be operating properly so far. Still need to install a few utilities and my main apps.
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September 22, 2009 2:46:58 PM

Ahci mode makes a huge difference in boot speed with Xp and 2k. No special risk associated. Definitely worth the F6 floppy operation, which is easy anyway.
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