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SATA/IDE interop?

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October 12, 2009 7:25:34 PM

i want to install an SATA drive as the boot drive, with an IDE drive as secondary, into an Aopen AK1379G mobo (nforce2 spec). i have an SATA 1.0 controller card installed into a PCI (NOT PCI-e). will this work? will it work with a SATA drive newer than SATA 1.0, or am i limited to that?

More about : sata ide interop

a c 113 B Homebuilt system
October 12, 2009 7:31:41 PM

I think not, although I'm not positive.

Your controller card needs a driver to operate I think, so the OS must load before the drive can be accessed.
October 12, 2009 7:33:27 PM

darn, i bet you're right. i didn't think of that... i hope not, though.
BTW, sorry i posted this twice - the website told me the first one did not post....
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 12, 2009 7:39:11 PM

If it's a host adapter card that's worth anything, it will have it's own BIOS utility that will allow you to configure its attached drives. This allows you to configure drives (or RAID arrays) so they will show up as usable volumes to the motherboard BIOS. As for using SATA II drives in a SATA I host, I've never tried it personally, but theoretically the SATA standard is backwards compatible. I've done the opposite with no problem, SATA I drives work just fine in SATA II ports.
October 12, 2009 8:15:30 PM

that makes sense - I've noticed since i installed, there's a RAID prompt during boot that wasn't there before. i've ignored it until now, but i bet that's what you're talking about. so if i installed the drive, it should be seen during boot.
i think worse case, i'd be stuck with the IDE as the boot drive, and the SATA as a secondary.

thanks!
joe
a b B Homebuilt system
October 12, 2009 8:31:28 PM

Since you plan on making this a boot drive, that may make things a bit trickier. Some 3rd party controllers are instantly recognized by Windows during install, but others aren't. You ever notice that when a windows install disc is preparing, it asks for you to insert any 3rd party RAID controllers and host adapters? that would be the time to insert the driver disk. You didn't mention what OS you were installing, but if it's XP, you will need to have a 3.5" floppy with the adapter drivers on it, XP won't let you use anything else. Hopefully this will not be an issue as some controllers are recognized, but if you have to go to the IDE for boot drive route, don't feel too bad. SATA I drives aren't exactly lightning fast, and depending on how old it is, it may not be all that much better than your IDE drive.
October 13, 2009 5:06:08 AM

the OS is XP Pro SP3. i guess i wasn't clear on the SATA drive: It is NOT going to be an SATA1.0 drive. i want to put a current generation (SATA 3G?) drive on an SATA 1.0 PCI controller card. that was one of my questions, will this combination of drive and controller work?

you do bring up a good point. i assumed a modern SATA drive would be faster than an IDE drive, even if throttled back by an older controller. is this not the case?
because you are right, if i'm not going to get a significant advantage this way, then it's a waste of time - i can just put an SATA drive as the second drive and keep using my IDE drive as boot.
thanks!
joe
a b B Homebuilt system
October 13, 2009 6:09:27 AM

Depends on the drives themselves. But since nobody makes new IDE drives, I'd say that very likely SATA drives are faster. And supposedly nothing but the fastest stuff saturates the 1.0 bandwidth.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 13, 2009 12:11:43 PM

yeah, dmitry is right about that. I was also incorrectly assuming you were putting in a SATA I drive. I'm not too sure on the exact capabilities of SATA spec, but SATA II translates to a theoretical 384 MB/s, and SATA I, a theoretical 192 MB/s. You lose a little to data overhead, and then also I think that's total bandwidth in both directions, but not completely sure. Either way, a newly built average SATA II drive like a Caviar Blue has a read/write that will barely saturate the 1.0 bandwidth.

However, I forgot to consider the fact that you are funneling this bandwidth through a 32-bit PCI bus, on top of that, your PCI bus might be sharing its bandwidth with other cards and/or devices you have. I'd say it's a toss up between which of your two drives will be faster. Would be interesting to see your results.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 13, 2009 2:26:33 PM

Putting a SATA II drive (or even 3) on an original SATA (I) controller MIGHT work with no intervention, or you might need to do a little tweak. Some new SATA drives are smart enough to figure this out and slow down to SATA I speed. On the other hand, several drive makers provide a way for you to force your SATA II drive to run at the slower speed. Seagate and WD, I believe, do this with a jumper on pins, a bit similar to the jumper system used for setting Master etc on IDE systems. (BUT these do NOT set up a Master or Slave!) Other makers may provide a software tool you use to write a setting into the drive's board's PROM. Check details of how you can do this if necessary from the maker's website BEFORE you buy.

Using a drive connected through an add-in controller board on the PCI bus as your boot drive may be done two ways. Some controller cards have a BIOS that can integrate with the mobo BIOS so that all the system resources appear to the OS as just part of the whole system. To do this you also need a mobo BIOS that is designed for that. You need to check details with both your controller card and your mobo makers to see if this can work for you.

The other way is, as wathman says, you can load the necessary driver into Windows XP SP3 at the right point when you are INSTALLING it. That way the driver becomes part of Windows and it can use the drives for anything, including booting. But, as wathman says, XP ONLY can load this from a Floppy disk during the Install process.

The related issue is - it's SATA! Windows XP only knows how to deal with IDE HDD's. One way recent mobo BIOS's avoid this is to have the disk controller in the BIOS Emulate an IDE drive for an actual SATA drive, so Windows does not know the ugly truth. But your add-on controller card may not have that capability. To use a real SATA drive in Windows you need to install a driver, by that same process during the Install routine.

Bottom line looks like you will need to do a fresh install of Win XP SP3 to your new SATA drive connected via a PCI card, and during that you probably will need to use a floppy disk to install at least two drivers - one to gain access to the PCI controller card, and a second to let Windows build in SATA device use so that it can boot from that device. All that means, of course, that you need to find those divers from the controller card manufacturer and get them onto a floppy disk before starting. Oh, I've presumed you have (even temporarily) a floppy disk drive in the machine?

By the way, if you set it up as you plan, do NOT get confused between IDE Master and Boot Drive. Any IDE channel MUST have one device jumpered as the Master for that channel, and may also have a Slave on the same port / cable. This has NOTHING to do with which drive unit is your boot drive - that part is set separately in the BIOS. So, even though you boot from a SATA drive on a PCI card, the IDE drive will still have its jumper set to be the Master of its channel.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 13, 2009 2:43:01 PM

Paperdoc's post explains exactly why I hated using RAID arrays as primary drives under Windows XP. If you do decide to go with the IDE drive as your primary, The XP install will be a breeze, and once the OS is up and running, installing the drivers for the PCI card and getting the SATA drive working is a lot easier.

I've gotten lazy when it comes to dealing with old hardware personally... if this was a system I was working on, I'd ditch the core components for modern ones :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
October 13, 2009 4:03:09 PM

Wathman's right. It IS much easier to use an IDE drive to boot from. Then during the boot process, it loads the drivers you've installed for any other devices and they all become usable. Those drivers can be installed in Windows any time - they do NOT have to become "internal" in Win.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
October 13, 2009 8:31:51 PM

This has been a good education, thanks guys.
!