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EX58 Extreme - How many HD's?

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March 6, 2010 5:27:54 PM

Howzit

Been collecting hardware for building my new PC, got a Gigabyte EX58 Extreme and 9 x SATA HD's, but no matter what I do, the BIOS (and of course Windows / Disk Manager) will see only 8 of them at once. I thought I had a dodgy cable, so I replaced ALL of them - still no joy! The MB has 10 x SATA ports, so why will it not see 9 HD's? They are not in RAID (I don't need or want RAID). Could it be that *any* MB will see a maximum of 8 drives, no matter what (Like in the old days you could attach only 4 IDE drives at a time)? Checked all settings in BIOS, read the manual, says it supports 6 x SATA drives on 1st controller, and 4 x SATA drives on 2nd controller (total = 10 x SATA drives), but it just won't see my 9th drive (and while I've been playing about, it's not ALWAYS the same drive it doesn't see, Now, it might not see drive #4. Then it won't see drive #7. Etc.). BIOS version 11 (newest, I think - flashed it yesterday - no help)

Any experts here able to suggest why this is happening? Driving me nuts!

Bannor

More about : ex58 extreme

a c 234 V Motherboard
March 6, 2010 6:28:13 PM

Note 4 in the specs reads: A JMB322 chip supports two SATA 3Gb/s connectors, so the four SATA 3Gb/s connectors are divided into to two pairs: GSATA2_0 and GSATA2_1 as a pair and GSATA2_2 and GSATA2_3 as a pair. What's the setting for "Smart Backup Config"? Is it set to Normal?
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a c 177 V Motherboard
March 6, 2010 7:22:12 PM

Drives 'winking' in and out of existence usually turn out to be dodgy power connections; if you're using MOLEX to SATA adapters, I've got a pile of bad ones, and they're the devil's own trick to troubleshoot - bend or stress 'em one way - work fine, bend 'em a different way (or, even worse, let 'em 'relax' into a slightly different shape) and - OOPS - drive gone! Mine are from three different manufaturers, but all of them have exactly the same mold marks on the SATA end - bad molding die somewhere in mainland China? :??:  crappy inserts?? :sarcastic: 
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March 7, 2010 11:06:59 AM

bilbat said:
Drives 'winking' in and out of existence usually turn out to be dodgy power connections; if you're using MOLEX to SATA adapters, I've got a pile of bad ones, and they're the devil's own trick to troubleshoot - bend or stress 'em one way - work fine, bend 'em a different way (or, even worse, let 'em 'relax' into a slightly different shape) and - OOPS - drive gone! Mine are from three different manufaturers, but all of them have exactly the same mold marks on the SATA end - bad molding die somewhere in mainland China? :??:  crappy inserts?? :sarcastic: 


Thanks for the reply!

I've got a pretty good power supply, 'BFG 1200W' I think it's called. All modular power cables - no molex / SATA adaptors. I'll try to see if I can get any spares to test the modular cables, hopefully this evening when I get home.

Bannor
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March 7, 2010 11:09:04 AM

GhislainG said:
Note 4 in the specs reads: A JMB322 chip supports two SATA 3Gb/s connectors, so the four SATA 3Gb/s connectors are divided into to two pairs: GSATA2_0 and GSATA2_1 as a pair and GSATA2_2 and GSATA2_3 as a pair. What's the setting for "Smart Backup Config"? Is it set to Normal?


Wow! That was quick!

I can't remember what this setting might be - I'm at work now. Certainly I haven't changed it from whatever the default might be; I have no need (or wish!) to fiddle with it. I'll check when I get home.

Thanks for the reply!

Bannor
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a c 234 V Motherboard
March 7, 2010 11:45:43 AM

Since you're connecting hard disks to the GSATA ports, you need to know how it's configured.
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a c 177 V Motherboard
March 7, 2010 2:47:00 PM

Ghislain has a point: at some juncture, and for some boards, GB seems to have thought they would 'simplify' settings for the jMicrons by removing the RAID settings, and calling them 'Smart Backup'; far as I can tell, all they've done is obfuscate matters :heink: 

For normal, seperate drives, on the "Integrated Peripherals" page of the BIOS, I think you want the "Onboard SATA/IDE Device" "Enabled"; the "Onboard SATA/IDE Ctrl Mode" set to "IDE" (unless you want AHCI 'hot-plug', in which case I believe you need to put in the 'per-load' (F6) drivers in all OS (seven has 'native' AHCI for the Intels, but I don't think for the jMicrons...); and both the the "Smart Backup Config"s (...reached by selecting the bottom "Smart Backup" item...) set to "Normal (Port Multiplier)"; if you look on page 63 in your manual, you will see that these ports have a 'monitoring' function as well, that should tell you the status of drive attached (or, at least, tell you if one is 'defuct'!)...

That's a really good power supply - I'm looking at, and collecting info on, one of its 'brothers' for a server board setup - I'd be really surprised if a modular plug turned out bad - but I suppose anything is possible. The problem I cited seems specific to those damned MOLEX to SATA 'patch plugs', and, like I said, they're a picnic to 'catch'!! :kaola: 



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March 7, 2010 3:05:55 PM

GhislainG said:
Since you're connecting hard disks to the GSATA ports, you need to know how it's configured.


I checked the original settings, it was set to RAID 0. Changed it to 'Normal', saved & exited the BIOS menu - no improvement. However, after doing this I think I have definitely removed possible faulty power / data cables from the equation. There are 10 SATA ports, let's call them 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 5A and 5B, with drive pairs 1 - 3 connected to the 1st controller (blue ports), and pairs 4 & 5 being connected to the second controller (white ports).

I have discovered that if I connect drives to 4A and 5A at the same time, they work. Connect them to 4B and 5B at the same time, they work. But connect them to 4A and 4B, only 1 will work - and likewise connecting to 5A and 5B.

During the POST, the following IDE channels are 'seen':

Channel 0 Master - [Drive]
Channel 0 Slave - [Drive]

Channel 1 Master - [Drive]
Channel 1 Slave - [Drive]

Channel 2 Master - [Drive]

Channel 3 Master - [Drive]

Channel 4 Master - [Drive]
Channel 4 Slave - [Drive]

Channel 5 Master - [None]
Channel 5 Slave - [None]

Note: NOTHING for Channel 2 & 3 'Slave'.... Don't know if this is an indication of anything or not (not exactly a 'rocket scientist' on this stuff!)

If I plug in my DVD drive, it will show up in Channel 5 Master. I am currently using only 1 DVD drive.

The details above don't seem to change, no matter where I plug drives in - if they are seen at all, it is in the above configuration. Therefore I think we can eliminate cables as a possible cause (besides having swapped both power and data cables as well, just to check). Never seen any 'Slave' for Channels 2 or 3. I have checked everything I can think of in the BIOS, have absolutely NO idea what might be going on. Damned annoying!!! :( 

Any suggestions?

Bannor
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March 7, 2010 3:15:08 PM

bilbat said:
Ghislain has a point: at some juncture, and for some boards, GB seems to have thought they would 'simplify' settings for the jMicrons by removing the RAID settings, and calling them 'Smart Backup'; far as I can tell, all they've done is obfuscate matters :heink: 

For normal, seperate drives, on the "Integrated Peripherals" page of the BIOS, I think you want the "Onboard SATA/IDE Device" "Enabled"; the "Onboard SATA/IDE Ctrl Mode" set to "IDE" (unless you want AHCI 'hot-plug', in which case I believe you need to put in the 'per-load' (F6) drivers in all OS (seven has 'native' AHCI for the Intels, but I don't think for the jMicrons...); and both the the "Smart Backup Config"s (...reached by selecting the bottom "Smart Backup" item...) set to "Normal (Port Multiplier)"; if you look on page 63 in your manual, you will see that these ports have a 'monitoring' function as well, that should tell you the status of drive attached (or, at least, tell you if one is 'defuct'!)...

That's a really good power supply - I'm looking at, and collecting info on, one of its 'brothers' for a server board setup - I'd be really surprised if a modular plug turned out bad - but I suppose anything is possible. The problem I cited seems specific to those damned MOLEX to SATA 'patch plugs', and, like I said, they're a picnic to 'catch'!! :kaola: 


I'm no expert on these things, but could the lack of a driver prevent the BIOS from seeing my drives? Windows, possibly - but the BIOS?

Bannor
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a c 177 V Motherboard
March 7, 2010 3:33:38 PM

Nah - you've got it right; anything in the BIOS is 'sans' drivers, as they never get loaded until an OS - should definitely 'appear' there...
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a c 234 V Motherboard
March 7, 2010 3:46:29 PM

Bannor said:
I'm no expert on these things, but could the lack of a driver prevent the BIOS from seeing my drives? Windows, possibly - but the BIOS?

Bannor

I would contact Gigabyte support and ask them how to make it work. People using that many hard disks usually buy a RAID controller.
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March 7, 2010 3:53:49 PM

GhislainG said:
I would contact Gigabyte support and ask them how to make it work. People using that many hard disks usually buy a RAID controller.


I've done that on Friday, waiting for their reply. As for a RAID controller - I believe my MB has onboard RAID. And anyway, I don't want or need RAID - just lots of independent hard drives! :)  The 10 SATA ports is the reason I chose this board in the first place....

I'd just love to know what's causing this issue - bugging the hell out of me!

If you can think of anything else I can try / look at, please don't hesitate to tell me about it! :) 

Thanks for taking the time to try to help - it's much appreciated!

Bannor
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a c 177 V Motherboard
March 7, 2010 4:52:45 PM

Quote:
I believe my MB has onboard RAID

Yup - butcha don' wanna see what it will do with multiple drives! First off, the max RAID setup you can do is six drives, off the ICH - the remaining ports only work in pairs; second, doing anything past RAID0 or RAID1 is a real let down - the CPU has to 'take up the slack' to do the parity calcs, which slows everything down disgustingly; third, even to 'bump up' speed by striping a RAID0, anything beyond a pair of drives at a time also slows things down - I can get pretty close to 200M/S avg reads off a pair of Velociraptors, but putting four in RAID0 slows things down to below 140... The thing about (good - not cheap, either :(  ) RAID cards is they 'off-load' the IOPS and parity calculations to a dedicated processor, and usually have a goodly 'chunk' of cache-RAM (...newer Arecas come with 4G!) so 'commits' are pretty much instantaneous, at PCIe8X speeds...
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March 7, 2010 6:05:19 PM

bilbat said:
Quote:
I believe my MB has onboard RAID

Yup - butcha don' wanna see what it will do with multiple drives! First off, the max RAID setup you can do is six drives, off the ICH - the remaining ports only work in pairs;


Does this explain my problem - these ports will ONLY do RAID? I hope not.... :( 

Have you ever used these ports for 'unRAIDed' drives?

Bannor
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a c 177 V Motherboard
March 7, 2010 6:55:29 PM

Quote:
Does this explain my problem - these ports will ONLY do RAID?

No - not at all - any port should do 'individual' drives quite nicely; they take specific configuration, and, usually, drivers to do anything else...
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March 7, 2010 8:31:18 PM

bilbat said:
Quote:
Does this explain my problem - these ports will ONLY do RAID?

No - not at all - any port should do 'individual' drives quite nicely; they take specific configuration, and, usually, drivers to do anything else...



#$%%@^#!!! <== Expletives censored!

Thanks for the info! :) 

Bannor
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a c 177 V Motherboard
March 7, 2010 8:41:43 PM

...I think that may be one reason I don't get along too well with the 'moderators' here - I'm opinionated, anything but 'moderate', and usually don't censor my expletives:p !
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March 9, 2010 4:43:58 AM

I happened to notice, that in the screen for the 1st Intel controller in the 'Smart Backup' menu (where you can view / change the RAID options), TWO drives are listed. So it looks as if the BIOS actually *IS* seeing the drives, sort of.... I cannot access them in any way, however. And they don't show up in the POST.

If I unplug 1 of them (connected drives = 8), total drives in the POST and in Windows = 8. With both plugged in (connected drives = 9), total in POST = 7.

(In the 2nd screen for the 2nd Intel controller only 1 drive shows - which is correct; I have only 9 drives, not 10.)

If I connect 8 drives, then the POST shows 8 drives - 6 will be connected to the Intel ICH10R South Bridge controller, and 2 to the JMicron GSATA controller.

If I connect all 9 drives, then only 7 show up in the POST (6 connected to the Intel ICH10R South Bridge controller, and 1 to the JMicron GSATA controller).

With 9 drives connected, a total of 3 show up under Smart Backup in the BIOS. I have set both options to normal port multiplier mode. The POST & Windows Disk Manager show only 7 drives (6 + 1).

I'm sure if I can get the BIOS to see all 9 drives at once, sorting out Windows will be a cinch! I might need to install the driver, that's all. But if the BIOS doesn't list them, Windows never will. :( 

No helpful reply yet from Gigabyte.

If I wasn't clueless before - I am now!

Bannor
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a c 177 V Motherboard
March 9, 2010 12:41:02 PM

Quote:
I happened to notice, that in the screen for the 1st Intel controller

Now, I'm thoroughly confused... There shouldn't be a 'Smart Backup' anything for the Intel controller, much less the "1st" one - there is only one Intel controller, and it uses standard RAID terminology, in a seperate 'chunk' of the BIOS ROM, that is only activated when RAID is enabled...???
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March 11, 2010 7:08:50 PM

Solved!!

Actually was easier than I had imagined! Apparently the 'extra' drives do NOT have to show up in the POST, or with the other drives in the BIOS, to be available in Windows. Why the hell Gigabyte couldn't just explain this up front I have NO idea.....

After having set 'Smart Backup' to 'Port Multiplier' (*DON'T* do this with drives attached to these ports!!!!) and installing 'JMB36X_WinDrv_R1.17.55_WHQL' they appeared in Windows. These drives are now listed under 'Safely Remove Hardware' in the system tray. Looks like all my drives are recognised and accessible in Windows. Small question - how do I make the other 6 drives also removable should I want to?

Now I've just got to sort out the drive letters as I want them, and I'll reinstall Windows (about time for it anyway!).

My only problem now is that I made the mistake of changing the settings under 'Smart Backup' while a drive was plugged into the port - and it deleted the partition! :(  I'm trying 'O&O Format Recovery' to get my data back - but it's taking an absolute AGE!!! I don't really mind, even if it takes a week - as long as it is successful. Anyone here can recommend something else?

Thanks everyone for trying to help!

Bannor
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a c 177 V Motherboard
March 11, 2010 7:38:49 PM

To get 'hot plug' for the Intels, they need to be set to AHCI (first item on the page); the drivers are 'native' to seven, but I'll have to hunt a bit to see if you can simply enable AHCI, and expect them to keep working...
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March 11, 2010 9:25:04 PM

...and if I'm not using 7? (using XP Pro - don't laugh!) :) 

And what's the best way to either 'undelete' a deleted partition, or recover data from a deleted partition? I haven't done anything with the deleted partition yet, so the data should (theoretically!) still be intact.

Bannor
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!