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Question about SSD and AHCI with other sata devices

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April 24, 2012 2:25:33 AM

Okay I am getting an SSD very soon
I currently have a 250gb Sata 3gbps Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 as a boot and a 200gb IDE Maxtor for backup storage (dont laugh)
I also have two sata II DVDrws

Now when I get the SSD I am supposed to set it to AHCI for best performance
on my sata controller (Asus M4A77TD mobo) I have the option for sata ports 1-4 being AHCI and sata 5-6 being IDE

question is
will my barracuda and two DVDrw drives work with AHCI on?

I know if I try booting off of the barracuda with AHCI on it BSODs on me
so I was wondering it and the DVDrws will work in AHCI mode

thank you for your time

Best solution

April 24, 2012 2:39:25 AM

Yes it will work but ahci needs to be set before you install Windows on your SSD. The HDD and dvdrw work on ahci but your HDD may have to be formatted but I'm not 100% so try it first without reformat. More often than not setting a boot drive to ahci after it has been installed with OS in native ide results in bsod (even with SSD)
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April 24, 2012 2:58:27 AM

very cool
so if I understand right if I install Win7 on SSD with AHCI selected then all should work fine
not worried about the barracuda since I plan to format and use for apps
thank you very much
that answered my question

one more question my IDE drive will have to be on sata channel 5 or 6 set to IDE or will it work under AHCI?
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April 24, 2012 3:03:25 AM

You use an ide to sata converter or something? Set it to Ide then if you don't have an ide connector on the mobo.
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a c 362 G Storage
April 24, 2012 4:31:44 AM

I suspect you are confused between IDE ports and the IDE Emulation Mode on a SATA port. You have a Maxtor IDE drive that must be connected to an IDE port, I assume. You will NOT make any changes to that, and it still will work.

When SATA drives were introduced at about the same time as Win XP, there was a problem. Win XP in all its versions knows how to use IDE hard drives, but does not understand AHCI devices (the proper way to use SATA drives) unless you install the AHCI device driver, and that requires a particular process when installing the OS itself to the boot drive. (This problem does not exist in Win Vista or Win 7.) So BIOS makers provided a work-around. On most mobos now where you configure the SATA ports, you have an option for the mode it operates in - AHCI or a mode usually called IDE Emulation. In IDE Emulation mode, the BIOS intervenes and makes the actual SATA drive appear and behave exactly like an older IDE drive, so Win XP can deal with it happily. If you're using Vista or Win7 you do NOT need to do this.

So, you plan to install an SSD and re-install your OS to that, plus applications, I presume. Then you plan to wipe the 250 GB SATA Barracuda clean and re-Partition / Format it to use for data. This can work, but there could be some tricks in the transition. If you want to save anything from the Barracuda, you will have to read that stuff off while its port is still set to IDE Emulation mode, and that means BEFORE you change your ports and install the SSD unit. So you will need to make your complete backup of the Barracuda first. If the Maxtor has enough blank space on it, you may well be able to do that to that drive.

There is one way you could avoid this. Your mobo allows you to configure the SATA ports 5 and 6 separately from the first four. So you could install the SSD to SATA1, for example, and the Barracuda to SATA5. Then you configure SATA1 through 4 to operate in AHCI mode, and SATA 5 and 6 in IDE Emulation mode. That way you should be able to use the Barracuda as it is now, at least until you've finished moving all its data off. THEN you can wipe it out, change its connection to one of the first 4 SATA ports, and start fresh to Partition and Format as an AHCI device.

I have assumed that your OS is NOT Win XP. If it is, you CAN arrange to use the SSD in AHCI mode, but it requires a bit more fiddling. What OS are you going to install?
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April 24, 2012 12:50:43 PM

I am installing Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

so if I understand correctly the AHCI mode is more dependent on OS than the Hardware

also I have a IDE header on the motherboard for the Maxtor
and I already moved data off of the sata barracuda to an external USB drive
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April 24, 2012 9:22:24 PM

Best answer selected by king smp.
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