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Boot from SATA PCI Card

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October 25, 2009 6:06:02 PM

Hi guys,

I have an MSI865PE Neo2-P Platinum Motherboard
http://eu.msi.com/index.php?func=proddesc&maincat_no=1&...

Recently the onboard sata controllers stop working; i could not boot from my HDD so i bought a PCI Sata card to resolve my problem but i having a lot more problems now :ange: 

The PCI SATA card has an VIA VT6421a chipset and looks like this one: http://www.consolesource.com/ecomm/images/D/pci-sata-vi...

I have an IDE HDD and i installed XP on it; i installed the PCI SATA drivers on it and the SATA HDD is recognized in XP without any problems; i transfer some important files to the IDE one with no problem.

The problem is when i try to boot from the SATA HD connected to the PCI card, i simply can't. I tried an clean install of Win. XP on the SATA drive and it worked fine: i pressed F6 insert an Floppy disk with the drivers and the XP installation recognized the SATA disk with no problems. The problem came when in the reboot cause the BIOS can't recognize the SATA disk and cannot boot from it, it simple can't recognize the PCI card.

I tried to update the BIOS to the latest version and it won't work either.

I read that some PCI cards have embedded BIOS but this seems not to have one; many users said to change the boot sequence to SCSI but my motherboard hasn't that option.

I really appreciate any help.

More about : boot sata pci card

a b V Motherboard
October 26, 2009 1:12:58 AM

Go into Computer Management, Storage - verify the SATA is an Healthy, Active Partition.

The picture is great, but a spec page is more useful! Let's assume it's like this Rosewill card.
http://www.rosewill.com/products/d_461/productDetail.ht...

You press the TAB key during the BIOS/POST process to enter the card's BIOS. This card says if you want the SATA to boot, gotta change the boot order in the BIOS. This implies the BIOS should be able to see the drive after correct installation. Maybe getting into the card BIOS will help with that.

On my IDE RAID controller, which I never use for RAID, the drives connected to it do show in a screen right after the memory POST test. Yours should also.

This forum entry seems to describe a program you can use to force booting - I wouldn't try this unless all else fails.
http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/464269

Your manual goes into much detail regarding IDE vs S-ATA use - I'd try lots of different combinations of those settings.

I didn't see anything regarding boot order of hard drives, but should be there. Look hard, make sure you scroll down to below bottom of every BIOS page.

It also has this:
TryOtherBootDevice
Setting the option to Yes allows the system to try to boot from other
devices if the system fails to boot from the 1st/2nd/3rd boot device.
Turn that on!

October 26, 2009 1:01:43 PM

Thanks for replying.

I've tried what you have said but the problem, and i forgot to said it earlier, is that the PCI card is a cheap one (OEM), with VIA VT6421a chipset. This card has no BIOS. And more i search in every place in BIOS but i can't change the board to boot from other SCSI devices, and it has no SATA RAID option, so it can't recognized the PCI card.

I searched a lot and one possible solution is to force booting as you said. You can see it here: http://im0.freeforumzone.it/up/17/12/242121744.pdf
It is the solution (unofficial) presented in VIA forums.

I tried to change the BIOS (with amibcp) but it says that there is no space to integrate the PCI card module, and i would have to delete modules and i don't want to do that (tried to delete the OEM logo but amibcp crashes); one more problem i discover while searching is that for some MSI bios amibcp corrupt the BIOS and can send my board to trash (http://www.wimsbios.com/phpBB2/topic3209.html).

Don't know if getting a better PCI SATA card (a bootable one) could solve the problem or not; i think i'm going to buy an IDE HDD :sarcastic: 
Related resources
a b V Motherboard
October 26, 2009 1:13:23 PM

Never looked at anything to actually modify the motherboard BIOS - I'd be leary of anything like that.

Yeah, that Rosewill I listed also uses the same chipset.

I'm looking at the listed specs for that card you showed picture of - is that the actual card you have?
http://www.consolesource.com/ecomm/catalog/PCI-SATA-Car...

If so, it mentions being able to use it to set up different RAID configs - that means it MUST have an accessible BIOS on it. Gotta be some key to press when booting that lets you get to it. I'd dig deeper.
October 26, 2009 1:18:42 PM

Yeah, that's exactly my card.

It should have a BIOS but i've tried some combinations (Tab, Ctrl+F,Ctrl+I,Ctrl+L,etc) and none work. I only say that it hasn't any BIOS cause i searched a lot and many people with a card like this (or with VIA VT6421a chipset) can't boot from it.

If my board at least recognized it, or if i could change to look for other SCSI devices it should work but i can't.
a b V Motherboard
October 26, 2009 7:29:53 PM

I've read more and you're right, there seem to be a lot of these cheaper versions of the VT64121a out there with no BIOS. Really odd. All these folks trying to remove portions of their motherboard's BIOS to get a really inexpensive PCI card to work - boggles the mind! I'd stay clear of it.

Return the card if you can.

Since the MB Bios can't ever "see" the drive, due to lack of firmware in the card, booting from it is never an option. The drive doesn't really exist until Windows finds the card and installs the drive for it. That's why setting to SCSI or "other devices" doesn't work.

One possible solution for you is the reverse of the IDE-to-SATA convertors I use for hooking up my IDE drives to my SATA connectors. Newer motherboards only support 2 IDE drives usually and I have a LOT of IDE drives I plug in now and then. The $11 Masscool convertors work great for this.

They also have the reverse:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This likely won't work for an optical drive but should do fine for your SATA drive. Yes, it's ugly and likely fragile, so don't plan on removing it a lot. If you have a real computer guru shop locally, might check there as the shipping will increase the price of a device like this.

One thing to keep in mind is that your "SATA interface isn't working" on your motherboard. Since you don't know what's wrong with it, you don't know whether it will affect other things too. And whether the whole motherboard might just die soon also.
!