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Si3112 on asus a7n8x-e not recognizing new HD volume size

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November 17, 2010 9:52:46 PM

Hi all, I just bought a 750gb HD for my older system, but the raid controller (si3112) does not recognize the volume size during the initial boot up. If I have the new HD plugged in, I cannot access the raid utility to attempt to configure it there, and it will just give my my primary drive and its volume, then the secondary drive without a volume quantity, and lock up. If I unplug the new drive, load as usual, then plug in the new drive after the OS (win xp, sp3) is up, I can find, format, and use the new drive. After doing this, the sata controller still doesnt recognize the drive size (and halts loading) on reboot. I get the issue weither or not the old drive is connected or not, IE if I attempt to just have the new drive connected, as if I were going to do a fresh install, it still wont get me past post into loading options (be it HD, floppy or cdrom). Regular system bios loads, then the raid driver, and this is where I am getting stuck.

I have had no luck with the silicon image or asus bios and/or firmware updates, either they dont work, are up to date as far as I can tell, or I cant figure out how to flash/install the new ones (very cryptic cmd instructions that I cant manage to figure out) that dont come in an executable package. I have a feeling this is purely a device driver issue with the raid controller, but cannot manage to find a workaround.

Any help would be appreciated. My end goal is to just copy the old drive onto the new one and remove the old drive. new drive is a WD SATA3 750gb 7200rpm black edition. I am attempting to use the WD Acronis true image software to do the imaging, but it always says a reboot is needed to complete the operation, which puts me back to square 1.

Thank you for your time
November 18, 2010 12:53:24 PM

Make sure the boot drive is on Port 1 of 2 (the front-most port, which is furthest away from the back of the case).

The computer searches upstream for bootable drives, according to the order set in BIOS. Once the BIOS settings dictate looking at HDD controllers, the computer will look at the first HDD controller (in your case the onboard SiI-3112) and if it finds no drives connected, it will look at the next HDD controller (if you have any add-in controller cards).

For each controller that it searches, it will start at the first port, usually labeled as Port 0 or Port 1, depending on the manufacturer's numbering protocol (Port 1 in your case) and work it's way up through any other ports on the controller (2, 3, and so on), before giving up and moving on to the next controller (if another one is installed).

Trouble will occur upon trying to boot if a non-bootable drive is located upstream of the drive that has the bootable OS on it.

If swapping the ports does doesn't work, try using Acronis on another machine that already has a boot drive / OS on it and that also has 2 additional open SATA ports. Make sure the existing boot drive is on the first port of the first controller. Make sure to boot from the existing OS drive and connect the other 2 drives. Connecting the other 2 drives can occur before or after start-up (after startup requires that the controller support hot-swapping, other wise connect them before start-up).

If the new hard drive is not malfunctioning, you should be able to use Acronis to clone the old drive to the new. When using Acronis in this manner, it will not require the machine to reboot to do the job. It only requires a reboot when cloning a boot / OS drive that is currently in use and running. Since this would not be the case, no reboot would be required. You should get a pop-up dialogue box that says "Operation Successful" when the cloning is done.

I have used Acronis True Image Home 9, 2010, and 2011. The are all solid for the job you are doing, but I recommend 2011 because they finally got the interface looking right and got the GUI bugs out that were plaguing 2010.

I don't think you should need to go into the RAID BIOS to do this job. I have a pair of machines using that motherboard and routinely do exactly what you are describing as part of incessant experimenting.

If you don't have a spare machine and you think the hard drive is good and you have exhausted all of your BIOS update and driver update options, then I would:

- Use a friend's machine to verify the drive is good;
- Put the drive in a USB enclosure and try to get it verified that way; or
- Install an add-in Promise SATA300 TX4 card and try using that to recognize the drive.

After dozens of hard drives, I have yet to find a functioning hard drive that cant be seen by the SiI-3112 or the SATA300 TX4 when used with that motherboard.

Hope you get it knocked on the head soon.



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November 18, 2010 5:02:22 PM

Thank you for the reply.

I will try using another HDD to boot my machine and get the swap done, and see if that works. The controller recognizes the drive, but cant recognize the volume of it. The port idea was a good one, but like I said, even when I completely unplug the old drive and just try to boot with the new one, it still cant see what the volume of the new one is. It gets the model and manufacturer information correct, but just cant see its size.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to upgrade the controller drivers/bios? When I go to the controller in my control panel, it reads all the drivers as unknown, and I cant get the flash option in that window to take any commands.
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a b G Storage
November 18, 2010 9:21:51 PM

I just had to update the firmware on mine to accept 1.5TB drives. I did have to set it as a single drive concatenation though.
you need windows to recognise the hardware then run the windows flash utility. Have you downloaded the drives for the RAID from SiI's website, then try the flash software.
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November 18, 2010 11:15:33 PM

which flash software are you referring to? So far I have found nothing that I can run in windows to flash my si3112 bios. Trying to do it through dos with a floppy has been an absolutely unsuccessful headache.....
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November 22, 2010 5:48:16 PM

That site has the .bin file I need, and also a program to flash an add-in card, but nothing to flash an on-board chip like my MB has. Right now the new HDD is just a big heat-sink for my old HDD, I've pretty much given up :( 
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a b G Storage
November 22, 2010 6:30:03 PM

cirale said:
That site has the .bin file I need, and also a program to flash an add-in card, but nothing to flash an on-board chip like my MB has. Right now the new HDD is just a big heat-sink for my old HDD, I've pretty much given up :( 


Which motherboard Bios do you have installed?
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November 26, 2010 4:43:50 AM

thanks for the help, ill check it out
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