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SATA questions?

MasumeMasume CreatorCaprica, FloridaRegistered User regular
Picked up a SATA drive over Black Friday weekend and had a few questions for you guys. Now offhand I know my systems inside and out, but for some reason I've been passing aside SATA for traditional IDE devices despite my board(s) supporting it. So I installed it this weekend and did some research into SATA finally, which brought me to a question or two.

1. I noticed SATA drives run at different transfer speeds (What doesn't?) and apparently my board supports a transfer rate of 1.5gb, where as the drive is a 3gb. I've been transferring hundreds of gigs to the drive without any issues, so I assume the drive downlocks. Is this a safe assumption, or is my MOBO going to have issues with this in the future?

2. Offhand, since I installed it, my HD light stays on, as in, never blinks or shuts off. Just plain on. Now, I doubt the drive is running constantly, I don't hear it offhand and I'm not showing massive system activity, so I'm figuring the board is having trouble interpreting the signals between mixed IDE and SATA inputs. Or, it could be related to question 1.

Any other SATA info would be helpful, although I usually do some solid research as I go along. ;)

Masume on
3DS Code - 5370-0463-9307
Wii U - 'Nocero'
XBox ID - therealmasume
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Posts

  • ROFISHROFISH AnehiixiiRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    1. SATA is backwards compatible both ways. Just like how IDE has 33, 66, 100 speeds.

    2. That's not normal. It's not enough to go out and do something drastic like get a new motherboard or anything, but it should blink like any other IDE drive.

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  • MasumeMasume Creator Caprica, FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Thanks ROFISH, and the joys of Wikipedia seems to answer 1 as well.
    SATA is designed to be backward and forward compatible with future revisions of the SATA standard.[9]

    According to the hard drive manufacturer Maxtor, motherboard host controllers using the VIA and SIS chipsets VT8237, VT8237R, VT6420, VT6421L, SIS760, SIS964 found on the ECS 755-A2 which was manufactured in 2003, do not support SATA 3Gb/s drives. To address interoperability problems, the largest hard drive manufacturer Seagate/Maxtor have added a user-accessible jumper-switch known as the Force 150, to switch between 150 MB/s and 300 MB/s operation.[2] Users with a SATA 1.5Gb/s motherboard with one of the listed chipsets should either buy an ordinary SATA 1.5Gb/s hard disk, buy a SATA 3Gb/s hard disk with the user-accessible jumper, or buy a PCI or PCI-E card to add full SATA 3Gb/s capability and compatibility. Western Digital uses jumper setting called "OPT1 Enabled" to force 150 MB/s data transfer speed.

    3DS Code - 5370-0463-9307
    Wii U - 'Nocero'
    XBox ID - therealmasume
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  • PrimesghostPrimesghost Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    What's the model number of the drive you picked up? A lot of SATA 3.0 drives have jumpers on the back that you can use to set them at 1.5 instead of letting the drive chose for you. And no, the fact that your hard drive light stays on solid is a bad thing. I've never had an issue installing a SATA drive next to an IDE one. You might want to check to make sure that your hard drive LED is hooked up to your board properly, long-shot but easy to check (maybe you got the power and HDD LEDs backwards). What OS are you using? Vista is hella-rough on hard drives, constantly trying to index, check disk and defrag them when it thinks you're not using them, especially if you're using their new drive encryption tool. If so, you might want to check Google for a few tips for easing the strain on your hard drives under Vista. Try unhooking the SATA drive and booting without it, if the problem persists then you know that it's a software problem somewhere. If it doesn't happen then you know that it's got something to do with the drive itself.

    Unrelated aside: I dig your avatar, that's possibly the best scene in the entire series :)

  • MasumeMasume Creator Caprica, FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Hehe thanks Prime, just got off a kick of rewatching the seasons I had since Razor came out. Gotta love the BSG. ;)

    The drive is a WD Caviar 400GB SATA 3gb 7200RPM. I don't recall the model number offhand but it falls in line with the usual WD naming convention. (WD4000 or somesuch)

    I'm installing the SATA on a pre-existing setup, built a Dual Core Rig off an Asus MOBO (A8N5X) which has XP Pro SP2 running. Already have two IDE drives and the drive light showed normal activity previously, so I know it's related to the SATA drive. I doubt I knocked the wiring around, but I'll try unhooking it and see if the drive activity returns to normal. Maybe I'll use the jumpers to downgrade it to 1.5gb just in case.

    3DS Code - 5370-0463-9307
    Wii U - 'Nocero'
    XBox ID - therealmasume
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  • MasumeMasume Creator Caprica, FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Problem solved! Nothing major, and to be honest the problem turned out to be helpful since it lead me to updating my Nforce IDE drivers, along with my BIOS.

    Updated everything, which (hopefully) increased the drive read speed since apparently the original MOBO driver CD didn't install Nforce controllers for the IDE, and updating the BIOS is usually helpful to avoid issues. Didn't help the HD light issue however, and thus I capped the SATA drive to 1.5 since the MOBO only supported up to that, still didn't work, so I unplugged it and found out it still stayed lit with the normal IDE. Led me to checking the LED wiring again, pushing them in tighter etc, and one seemed slightly loose, although not obviously so. Rebooted and viola, drive light was working fine. Guess it was being picky on me. ;)

    3DS Code - 5370-0463-9307
    Wii U - 'Nocero'
    XBox ID - therealmasume
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  • mausmalonemausmalone Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Another SATA question from a first-timer:

    I'm receiving the remainder of the pieces of a new computer this week and will be installing XP on it. I've never installed XP on a SATA drive and I remember from way back in the day that I needed special drivers for Serial drives in the install.

    So ... will I need to do anything special to install XP SP2 to a SATA drive as opposed to an IDE drive? This is on a brand-new shuttle, if it matters (nForce chipset).

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  • RandomEngyRandomEngy Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Yeah sometimes you have to put your drivers on a floppy disk and then press a certain button during the setup to be able to install XP on it. Though that might only be for certain motherboards. Vista handles SATA drives without any extra work.

    Profile -> Signature Settings -> Hide signatures always. Then you don't have to read this worthless text anymore.
  • mausmalonemausmalone Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    RandomEngy wrote: »
    Yeah sometimes you have to put your drivers on a floppy disk and then press a certain button during the setup to be able to install XP on it. Though that might only be for certain motherboards. Vista handles SATA drives without any extra work.

    eek .... I don't own a floppy drive in any way shape or form

    I haven't hooked one up in over 5 years.

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  • RandomEngyRandomEngy Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Well it looks like it's possible:

    http://news.softpedia.com/news/Install-Windows-XP-On-SATA-Without-a-Floppy-F6-47807.shtml

    But it involves creating a custom bootable install CD with the SATA drivers included.

    If you haven't bought the OS yet, you could just put Vista on it instead.

    Profile -> Signature Settings -> Hide signatures always. Then you don't have to read this worthless text anymore.
  • PrimesghostPrimesghost Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Build your computer as normal. When you go to install Xp if it says there's no hard drive (but it still shows up in BIOS) then you'll need to create a driver floppy with the motherboard install disk. At the very beginning of the Windows install it will say "Press F6 to load additional drivers". Go ahead and hit F6 and wait for it to load the installer then it will ask you to put the floppy with the drivers in and press "S" to pick the driver for your OS.

    You might also be able to change the SATA configuration in the BIOS to get around this issue. If your motherboard supports it you can change the SATA mode from SATA to PATA or IDE and it should detect in the Windows installer as an IDE drive. Unfortunately this will mean that you can only transfer at ATA100 speeds instead of the SATA 3.0gb that your drive will be capable of.

    For the record, I never build a system without a floppy drive. There are just too many troubleshooting and diagnostic tools that can be run from floppy easily.

  • mausmalonemausmalone Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Build your computer as normal. When you go to install Xp if it says there's no hard drive (but it still shows up in BIOS) then you'll need to create a driver floppy with the motherboard install disk. At the very beginning of the Windows install it will say "Press F6 to load additional drivers". Go ahead and hit F6 and wait for it to load the installer then it will ask you to put the floppy with the drivers in and press "S" to pick the driver for your OS.

    You might also be able to change the SATA configuration in the BIOS to get around this issue. If your motherboard supports it you can change the SATA mode from SATA to PATA or IDE and it should detect in the Windows installer as an IDE drive. Unfortunately this will mean that you can only transfer at ATA100 speeds instead of the SATA 3.0gb that your drive will be capable of.

    For the record, I never build a system without a floppy drive. There are just too many troubleshooting and diagnostic tools that can be run from floppy easily.

    Thanks for the advice. It actually went off without a hitch and I was able to install from my old XP SP2 disc without the need for additional drivers.

    I was mostly worried because (a) I don't have floppies, (b) I don't have a floppy drive, (c) the case/mobo didn't come with a driver floppy only a driver CD. I just couldn't try anything out until UPS brought the rest of the computer last night.
    RandomEngy wrote: »
    (snip)
    If you haven't bought the OS yet, you could just put Vista on it instead.

    Nope ... using an old copy of XP SP2. I'd rather not waste the license when I know my girlfriend isn't looking for anything too advanced. Heck ... I think that once she realizes how much hard drive she has (500GB) compared to what she used to have (40GB) she's gonna shit a brick.

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  • MasumeMasume Creator Caprica, FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    SP2 added SATA support from what I understand, thus why it worked out. ;)

    Yeah I'm wading in quite a bit of storage space now, even for me. The 400gb added on to my measely 250 I was juggling is quite a bit of breathing room. Makes me want to just install crap to use the space. :D

    I was debating on grabbing vista and just throwing it on the new drive just as a backup. I often put an OS on slave drives in case the main crashes/dies, that way I can hitch right into the backups and start fresh without much hassle. Vista is...alright, but I am still waiting for more updates etc, like a lot of folks, but that's a whole other thread.

    3DS Code - 5370-0463-9307
    Wii U - 'Nocero'
    XBox ID - therealmasume
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