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SSD Noob needs advice!

Last response: in Storage
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March 21, 2012 2:48:35 AM

just got a few things i want to ask before i actually purchase one. ive researched alot of vids and have built machines in the past so its nothing new except for the SSD part. I have a ASUS M5A99X EVO motherboard, im aware when installing the SSD i have to enable ACHI mode for the drive. Now i have 3 other drives in the machine now 2 are 250maxtors which are just for storage and also have a 320gb WD Blue SATA3. in my BIOS i con configure SATA ports 1-4, and 5-6. Before when i enabled ACHI mode, the 2 maxtors i had kept changing their drive letter everytime i rebooted. no matter how many things i tried they still kept changing. the data on them stayed but the drive letter would always change. not that big of a deal but still kinda pissed me off none the less lol. it didnt stop until after i changed the BIOS back to IDE mode. So heres what i am basically going to do and if its wrong lemme know.
Unhook my current windows drive.
ill set up ports 5-6 and hook the SSD to one of those ports.
install drive, reboot, install windows.
after that hookup my old drive and do whatever with it.
but the thing is, if i have ports 1-4 on IDE mode (cause of the random letter changes on those drives) will there be a problem just changing ports 5-6 to ACHI because the only thing on those port(s) will be my SSD. i just wanna make sure im not going to mess this drive up.


ports 1-4 will be my 3 drives and my CDROM drive on IDE MODE
ports 5-6 SSD with ACHI mode

just looked into my BIOS. seems ports 1-4 are the only ones that can be set to AHCI

heres how my drives are.

SATA1: Western Digital 320 drive
SATA2: N/A
SATA3: CDROM
SATA4: N/A

SATA5: MAXTOR
SATA6: MAXTOR


so in theory i can keep ports 5-6 on IDE mode np. i was reading somewhere in my motherboard booklet that u cannot use a CDROM drive in AHCI mode? is that correct?

Cause what i could do is after i install the SSD ill have that on port 1, my WD on port2, and my cdrom on port3, and have portd 1-4 set to AHCI mode. just trying not to have a conflict.

also this may sound noobish but i gotta ask alot of people are saying with this SSDs u have to update the firmware. now is that after u install windows on the drive? or do u need to hook it up and get the firmware installed first. if i could somehow get someone to maybe give me a quick setup check list it would really help me. thanks alot in advance

More about : ssd noob advice

March 21, 2012 11:38:49 AM

I have an older ASUS DVD/CD drive and it works just fine with AHCI selected as the controller mode in BIOS.

Check the SSD manufacturer's web site to see if an update is available. If so, I would attach the SSD, as is (ie out of the box,) to your existing system and flash the firmware before anything else. Sometimes the firmware flashes are destructive to data which would mean going through Windows installation again.
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March 21, 2012 8:00:17 PM

so just set my bios to AHCI, hook up the SSD, update firmware, then reboot and unhook all other drives cept the SSD and install windows?
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March 22, 2012 5:17:08 AM

I would change the order a bit:

If flashing SSD by booting from floppy/CD/USB thumb drive:
Turn off the computer & unplug power*
Hook up the SSD
Unhook all other drives except the SSD
Update the firmware on the SSD
Restart the computer, and set BIOS to AHCI
Boot to Windows 7 DVD and install Windows to the SSD

If flashing SSD from within Windows (sometimes there is a Windows utility you can use):
Turn off the computer & unplug power*
Hook up the SSD
Boot into your existing Windows installation
Update the firmware on the SSD
Shut down the computer & unplug power*
Unhook all other drives except the SSD
Restart the computer, and set BIOS to AHCI
Boot to Windows 7 DVD and install Windows to the SSD

*I'm old-fashioned, and therefore ultra-cautious about installing hardware with the power plugged in. Many (most?) boards still keep power supplied to the motherboard when plugged in. With AHCI, you can hot-plug drives' SATA cable, but to me the power cable should be plugged/unplugged only with mobo power off. YMMV :) 
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