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Single WD1002FAEX caviar black - AHCI or IDE?

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October 1, 2011 2:38:57 PM

Hi,
I've tried to find an answer to my question by searching, and while several discussions have come up, they all deal with systems containng more than one HDD or one HDD and one SSD.

I've bought a WD1002FAEX caviar black 1TB 64MB cache 7200rpm, sata3. I do not have any other hard drives and do intend to buy an SSD in several months when prices further decline, but for the coming 4 months the single WD will be woking solo.

The question that rises is, should I config it as AHCI or IDE and what do i stand to gain or lose from either?

I will be running Windows 7 with a Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 motherboard.
In addition I will be using a rather cheap LG DVD RW - not sure if this influences the decision in any way.

I'd also like to know whether the decision is influenced in the event that I do purchase an SSD. As I see it, if i were to purchase an SSD i'd most probably want the OS to be located on it so that I boot from SSD, which would mean that either way I will end up reinstalling windows.

I guess the simplest way to ask this questions is: What are the pros and cons of of IDE vs AHCI in a system with 1 HDD and how does this change when including an additional SSD.

I'm new to this and this is my first build so I'm trying to get it all right however it's a steep learning curve. I extremely appreciate this forum and it's members for the helpful spirit and the immese amount of knowledge offered.
Thanks.
a c 415 G Storage
October 1, 2011 3:16:16 PM

If you're using Vista or Windows 7 then configure it as AHCI. The only reason motherboards support IDE Emulation mode is for old operating systems like Windows XP that didn't come with AHCI drivers out of the box. And even with Windows XP it's probably worth configuring the motherboard as AHCI and loading the required drivers manually during the install.

AHCI is a more modern, superior protocol that supports some performance features such as NCQ (Native Command Queuing).

The only caution is that if you've already installed Windows then it will fail to boot if you switch modes. But that can be solved with a Registry tweak.
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October 1, 2011 3:23:32 PM

I haven't installed windows just yet. However I'm wonder, if I specify AHCI, will I have to provide pre-OS drivers to get the HDD working? or will I be able to immediately install windows onto it?
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a c 415 G Storage
October 1, 2011 8:47:20 PM

Which OS are you planning to install? Windows 7 contains AHCI drivers for most modern motherboards and it will install on its own without any issues, but if you're going back as far as XP when you may need to load drivers manually during the installation.
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October 2, 2011 1:47:53 PM

I intend on installing Windows 7, so I'm hoping that it recognizes and installs the SATA drives automatically and recognizes my HDD. I have downloaded the latest drivers that require pre-installation from my Motherboard's company site just in case. Just trying to figure out if i'll need to use them or not.

My googling has revealed that several people installing Windows 7 still had trouble recognizing their HDDs in AHCI, when they were new HDDs onto which they wanted to install the OS. I'm hoping that the windows version i get will already include the necessary drivers.
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a c 415 G Storage
October 2, 2011 5:21:57 PM

I'd be pretty surprised if you ran into any issues. A lot of hard drive recognition problems end up being caused by other issues such as cabling or attaching the drive to the wrong controller. Give it a try and let us know how it goes.
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February 16, 2012 1:49:54 PM

sminlal said:
If you're using Vista or Windows 7 then configure it as AHCI. The only reason motherboards support IDE Emulation mode is for old operating systems like Windows XP that didn't come with AHCI drivers out of the box. And even with Windows XP it's probably worth configuring the motherboard as AHCI and loading the required drivers manually during the install.

AHCI is a more modern, superior protocol that supports some performance features such as NCQ (Native Command Queuing).

The only caution is that if you've already installed Windows then it will fail to boot if you switch modes. But that can be solved with a Registry tweak.

Hi There: How can I tweak the registry to change from IDE to Ahci...I have a HDD with Win7 already installed, but the Bios are set to IDE, and if I swap to Ahci, the system crashes!
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