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Gigabyte BIOS won't switch HDs to AHCI? Weird!

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September 10, 2010 8:22:09 PM

I built a machine March this year with a Gigabyte X58A-UDR3 (rev1) mobo holding an i7-920. 6Gigs 1066 Crucial memory. Nothing unusual there, not overclocking at this time. Bought two Barracuda XTs for data as they were SATA-III and there are two SATA-III connectors on the mobo. Because I am re-installing Win7-64 now to start fresh and inserting a new SSD as a boot drive -- I have two or three questions scattered around Tom's Hardware in relevant forums.

This is one of them:

Why won't the HDs show a BIOS-chosen switch to AHCI during boot?

One of the reasons for the re-install is to get all drives on AHCI-based I/O. The BIOS has several places where you make this election. Each chipset involved gets its own choice of IDE/AHCI/RAID. The bridge handles 6 of the connectors, Marvell handles two, and another operates the last two. Seems each has a place in the BIOS. Makes sense, I guess. I re-read the documentation carefully and made sure I visited each choice, setting these for AHCI. The boot screen go by really quickly so I photographed them for later reading and information for Gigabyte. The two XTs show as IDE during the first screen. When the AHCI device page comes on there are three devices listed: another HD (a WD Velicoraptor that is meant to be the boot drive but not working -- that's another thread...) and my two optical drives. Then my external eSATA drive shows up on its own boot screen. (Cool!) All these used to be listed as different channels in IDE when I booted before, so some devices made the switch and the two XTs did not.

Unfortunately, it will take a while for Gigabyte to get back to me (sometimes days) so I am reaching out to you guys for another viewpoint. ...and I suppose I should also call Seagate and ask them about their take.

One odd thing shows in my Device Manager. The Marvell driver shows that it is "Not installed". I believe Win7 used to install these drivers as a second step in booting, and I never understood why. You see, right now because of a BOOTMGR is missing" error on the Velicoraptor I have to run Win7 from the OEM DVD. This is the controller these two XTs are connected to. Perhaps I will switch their cables to a SATA-II port and see if they show up as switched to AHCI.

OK, long post. Stop now. Thoughts?

jonathan7007

System:
Win-7 Home Premium OEM
i7-920 default clock
Gigabyte GA-X58A-3UDR (rev 1) BIOS F1
6 Gig Crucial RAM 1066
EVGA 250GTS
(2) Seagate Barracuda XTs JBOD
(1) WD Velicoraptor 150 for boot (visible but not booting now)
a c 236 V Motherboard
September 10, 2010 11:11:21 PM

Have you done the fresh install or did you just switch from IDE to AHCI without a reinstall to prep the system for the SSD

If the later, you have to switch back to IDE and follow the steps listed by Microsoft... http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976
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September 11, 2010 7:33:01 AM

Thanks for your reply! I switched all the drives to the connectors among the first six - all the SATA-II variety. Then those drives were recognized as during boot as AHCI, and in SeaTools the XTs were passed. Attached to the Marvell-controlled SATA-III they were IDE at boot, visible to SeaTools (DOS) but not "testable".

Now that I had everything fully recognized and interacting as AHCI I took the connector off the back of the Velicoraptor (the one missing the BOOTMGR) and placed the SSD in its place. I went ahead to re-install Win7-64 on the SSD (seems pretty sweet and fast so far!) and have been placing applications, drivers, and fonts back on the machine since! Yea!

Finally moving ahead... and leaving the problem with the Western Digital drive for another day. Since I do a lot of image processing I will use the Velo as a scratch disk for image versions that save in the background. ...assuming I can wipe it and reformat. Now that it is not the boot I am sure I can do that. I have Paragon Hard Disk Manager and some other tools.

What remains is to get an answer from Gigabyte about the way the Marvell chipset and Gigabyte's implementation of SATA-III was getting in the way of Seatools. Seagate was adamant that SeaTools was able to read/test/fix HDs on SATA-III. It also appeared that the SAT-III HDs could not be switched to AHCI. That is plain weird. Further, I bought that motherboard because it had SATA-III! So I really want to make it work, and I wish I had four SATA-III connectors.

The Crucial 300-series SSDs are SATA-III. I think I'd leave the boot drive on SATA-II as the need for fast I/O for minute-to-minute image processing is to/from the data drives. It's already clear the the SSD makes a big difference.

I am just glad to be moving ahead instead of trying to bring a mess (Velicoraptor) back to life. Now if we can just get Gigabyte to answer tech e-mails a little faster... (Sigh)

jonathan7007
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a b V Motherboard
September 11, 2010 12:28:17 PM

Have you checked for BIOS updates?
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September 11, 2010 7:47:52 PM

Yup- there are several, and that is the next step. Their ability to "fix" what I experience is not clear and I still have no answer from Gigabyte about any of my questions, one of which asked about how the updates would affect the IDE-AHCI switch, and how the Marvell chips might affect the drive tools and diagnostics AND that requested switch.

All of this I/O switch was to occur BEFORE re-installing Win7. I feel I have a temporary solution and could go ahead with the install. Not ideal. I like the Gigabyte product -- but feel they let me down on support.

jonathan7007
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!