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How do I know I'm running SATA?

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February 8, 2011 3:12:28 PM

Hi, I've been trying to figure out if I'm running full out SATA II or Native IDE on my Windows Xp Pro. I just installed a copy of Xp 2 days ago and I used a SATA II HDD and it installed fine without installing outside RAID drivers (F6 prompt). I've been trying to figure out if I'm using IDE or SATA II on my OS. I have doubts thats its not running SATA because I've heard you need to install the drivers from a floppy on the OS installation, so I assume since I did not do that then I'm running IDE In my BIOS the HDD shows up on SATA 1 Port and I have all SATA options "enabled" and IDE Disabled.

My System:

Q6600 Core 2 Quad
MSI G41TM-E43 Motherboard
Hitachi 1TB 7200RPM 36mb Cache HDD
Windows XP Professional 32 bit

Thanks

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a c 300 G Storage
February 8, 2011 4:56:10 PM

The odds are that the disk is running in IDE mode, as that was the default for SATA ports until recently. For a good reason, I may add; some CD and DVD drives did not work with AHCI mode.

The good news is that you are running full-out SATA II transfer speeds. The way to see and set the disk mode is somewhere in the BIOS (I'm feeling to lazy to download the manual for your motherboard) where you can set the onboard SATA ports to IDE, AHCI, or RAID mode. AHCI mode enables some additional features: TRIM, which only matters for SSDs, Command Queueing (someone correct me if this works with IDE), and some others.

The bad news is that, with XP, it is not trivial to take an install that was done with the ports set to IDE mode and run it with the ports set to AHCI mode. There are four choices:
1) Live with it in IDE mode, as this does not slow the transfer rate to EIDE rates.
2) Set the motherboard to AHCI mode and do a clean install.
3) Get the AHCI drivers for your motherboard, open the correct entry in Device Manager, and change the drivers. Then shut down, change the mode, and reboot. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS WITHOUT BACKUPS. You have one try to get it right before the disk becomes unbootable. I did it once just for sh1ts and giggles.
4) Get someone here who knows a better way than I do to help, or someone who can better explain the differences in modes. I was happy with IDE mode until I got an SSD.

Have fun
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February 8, 2011 5:32:14 PM

Thank you very much for your response!!

My BIOS settings are set as the fallowing:

On Chip SATA Controller [Enabled]
On Chip IDE Controller [Disabled]
RAID Mode [IDE]


I think I'll just leave it alone, all I was worried about was transfer speed, I thought if the HDD was in IDE mode instead of SATA that I wasn't getting the full performance as far as transfer rate goes. You say the transfer rate is unaffected right?

-Thanks again
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a c 348 G Storage
February 9, 2011 7:03:47 PM

WyomingKnott is right, and you are right to stop worrying. You ARE getting all the SATA II speed. By using IDE Emulation Mode on your SATA ports (the easiest way to use SATA and Win XP) you are missing out on a VERY few features of AHCI. Among these ARE one or two items (like Command Queing) that MAY help with speed on certain types of file access, but will not make a large difference in the overall scheme of things. Don't worry, be happy!
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February 15, 2011 11:57:16 PM

Best answer selected by iceman09.
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