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MA790FXT-UD5P - SATA issues

Last response: in Motherboards
December 15, 2009 8:54:42 PM

I have a system containing the Gigabyte MA790FXT-UD5P motherboard which I intend to use as a file server using OpenSolaris and ZFS from a pool of 7 Samsung EcoGreen drives apart from the system drive which is a Samsung SpinPoint.

Besides the OnChip SB750 sata controller providing 6 sata ports, there is also an additional OnBoard controller, which is a JMicron JMB36X controller providing 4 additional sata ports using port multiplicators (denoted as GSATA_n).

I have serious issues with the JMicron controller; OpenSolaris consistently refuses to boot, I get occasional DISK BOOT FAILURE messages when powering up from standby (i.e. using the motherboard power button and not the PSU power switch) and sometimes the hard drive disappears from the BIOS (when listing the channels in the BIOS setup).

When running Samsung's ESTOOL which is a boot CD with diagnostics software specifically made for diagnosing Samsung drives, I consistently get failure on the MULTIPLE READ TEST.

I have tried all drives using different cables, same thing on all of them. I have systematically tested options such as S.M.A.R.T enabled/disabled, Native IDE / ACHI yielding the same results. None of these problems occur when I connect the hard drives to the SB750 controller. OpenSolaris boots fine and the Compatibility check tool reports that all hardware is fully compatible, the drives pass ESTOOL diagnostics with no failures, ...

I returned the motherboard to the dealer but they said that they couldn't find anything wrong with it. And yet I see other people reporting the same errors in the newegg reviews.

Does anyone know what's wrong and how I can fix it? I really need all ports to work properly.

More about : ma790fxt ud5p sata issues

December 15, 2009 9:01:24 PM

Oh, and I think we can rule out boot sequence issues. I usually have CD-ROM as the first boot device and the hard drives second, but I have tried using the hard drives as #1 yielding the same results.

I have tried the latest drivers from JMicron's and Gigabytes website (where applicable) and I have flashed the BIOS to the currently latest version (F8C).
a b V Motherboard
December 16, 2009 12:40:50 AM

I know that the Jmicron is a secondary controller on these systems and that it has lower bandwidth available to it due to how many lanes were available. Roughly half the bandwidth available to the SB750, however there is a difference in raid features available as well.
As you can wire the SB750 externally as easy as the jmicron have you considered switching over?
You beat me on the last one as I just saw updates to the controller today dated nov or dec on the website.
Not knowing Solaris I was guessing the limited bandwidth might be choking this aspect.
Related resources
December 16, 2009 4:26:10 PM

I'm not sure what you mean with "lanes" and choking due to limited bandwidth. The board has 2xPCIe x16, 3xPCIe x1 and 2xPCI slots altogether.

I have only connected one XFX Radeon HD5770 on one of these slots. I also tried with an old Matrox Millennium II card which is a PCI card, and I yielded the same results as before. I don't believe that any of these graphics adapters demands so much bandwidth that they tend to choke the system, especially not in DOS and especially not with the over 10 years old Matrox card.

I also really don't think this is a driver issue since even the BIOS occasionally reports "BOOT FAILURE" and fails to acknowledge hard drives connected to the JMicron controller when entering the BIOS or viewing the AHCI boot screen when using that mode. I'm not interested in using hardware RAID and I have only tested the drives one-by-one and two-by-two.

I need at least 8 ata ports for my 8 hard drives and the SB750 only provides 6 ports so I really need all sata ports to work properly. And then again, why should I accept that a part of the motherboard is not working?
a b V Motherboard
December 16, 2009 6:05:20 PM

The jmicron on that board cannot communicate at the same rate as the SB750 controller as it has less Lanes to communicate with. There are reviews from professional sites that can define it better, however that won't change anything.