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Athlon 64 Mobo With Sata Hotswap Support...

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Don't know if anyone cares or even if this is the first such mobo to support this but the upcoming ASRock K8S8X supports Hotswap/Hotplug functionally on its two SATA ports claiming full SATA v2.0 support. ASRock is a division of Asus so the quality is top notch, the chipset is rock stable and the fastest around (I use the Southbridge in my Intel SiS mobo), locked AGP/PCI bus for overclocking if that's your thing. Just out in Europe, trickling into Canada, and in the US probably end of next week.

Just wanted to pimp what will be the premiere Athlon 64 mobo until at least Q3 when Socket 939 shows up. Even better, they've stripped out all the crap, kept the price low, and have 10/100 ethernet connected directly to the Southbridge to eliminate those nasty PCI bottleneck issues (the N/S Bridge Interconnect is plenty wide don't you worry - this ain't no Intel board :P )

Check out the goodness and spread the love:

http://www.asrock.com/product/product_k8s8x.htm

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Actually SATA hot plug is not a feature of the hardware, it's a feature of the driver. All SATA is hot plug capable (although some drive makers don't want to say they support it).

The problem is, if you're using a SATA controller built into the motherboard chipset's south bridge, that's emulating PATA, you can't hot swap because PATA doesn't support it. When operating in non-RAID mode, the south bridge SATA is emulating PATA and thus doesn't hot swap.

As long as your SATA devices are using a SCSI miniport driver, you can hot swap. ASRock's advertising is deceptive in this regard, because I'm 99% sure that SiS doesn't have a SATA SCSI miniport driver for SATA drives that are running as individual drives. You'd have to run them in RAID 0/1 to use their SATA RAID SCSI miniport.

Anyway, it's a good thing that somebody besides ECS PCChips has decided to do a SiS 755 board. It's a shame though that SiS doesn't have non-PCI gigabit ethernet like the i875, or more than two SATA ports like the i915/i925 due 4/1ish.

Still, I wonder why Asus decided to release this as an ASRock board instead of a real Asus branded product. While it might work OK with 32-bit software, somehow I doubt ASRock has the weight or the inclination to do any BIOS development or fixes for 64-bit operating systems.

KC

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If the driver for it doesn't support a 64bit OS, it's rather a pointless feature surely? Sure, you can have the hotswap hardware, but you can't use it because no-one's written the software for it...

Seems rather stupid to release a 64bit board without 64bit drivers.

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Seems rather stupid to release a 64bit board without 64bit drivers.

Only if you use a 64-bit OS. :)

I wonder how many that buy an Athlon64 will be purchasing 64-bit WinXP to play their 32-bit games?

Dogeared

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Just wanted to pimp what will be the premiere Athlon 64 mobo until at least Q3 when Socket 939 shows up.  Even better, they've stripped out all the crap, kept the price low, and have 10/100 ethernet connected directly to the Southbridge to eliminate those nasty PCI bottleneck issues (the N/S Bridge Interconnect is plenty wide don't you worry - this ain't no Intel board  :P )

oh.. just Fast Ethernet :( My next board MUST have GbE in the SB or some nice Expansion slots (PCI-X or PCI-E)... anyway, I am waiting for Socket 939...

thanks for the heads up though :)

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The problem is, if you're using a SATA controller built into the motherboard chipset's south bridge, that's emulating PATA, you can't hot swap because PATA doesn't support it.  When operating in non-RAID mode, the south bridge SATA is emulating PATA and thus doesn't hot swap.

Why not?

Why do you need a SCSI-like driver?

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The previous AthlonXP Asrock model k7s8xe+ has S-ATA hotswap support as well...

Something must have got lost in the translation.. S-ATA hotswap is a feature of S-ATA II (not to be confused with S-ATA 2.0) and does require some amount of hardware support other than the basic S-ATA 1.0 spec.

The S-ATA II defines optional features not included with S-ATA 1.0... this includes NCQ, port multipliers, hotswap, external connectors, staggered spin up...

A drive/comtroller does not need to support all of these features to claim S-ATA II compatibility... much the same as the USB 2.0 and E-IDE standards a device can support one or some of these features and still claim that it features this standard.

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im looking for gig-e support in my next computer... I sure dont want it to be 32/33 PCI... especially if I have other devices on the PCI bus.

After my favorable experiences with the Asrock k7s8xe+ and SiS's recent chipsets I'm inclined to get Asrock's new k8 board. However, I'll have to wait awhile for the funds (and the need) to upgrade.

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Thanks a lot for all the info guys, very interesting reading.  btw, why the big deal about gigE support?

i think more and more people are centralizing their data storage (like me) and would like to have fast access to it. It takes 'ages' to xfer a 60MB file over 100Mbit.. should be somewhat faster with GbE, i hope.

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That's my use. I am centralizing data into a file server...

I have over 300GB there already on dual 100Mbit.

I was considering a Dlink switch with 1000baseT uplink and 8 100baseT 10/100 ports, but I think I'll just wait and get a proper 5 port gig-e switch w/ jumbo frame support and use a bridge for my 100baseT devices.

If need be I can always add another 100baseT NIC to the server in the mean time.

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The problem is, if you're using a SATA controller built into the motherboard chipset's south bridge, that's emulating PATA, you can't hot swap because PATA doesn't support it.  When operating in non-RAID mode, the south bridge SATA is emulating PATA and thus doesn't hot swap.

Why not?

Why do you need a SCSI-like driver?

Because there are two classes of storage drivers in Windows... IDE and SCSI. The current IDE stack doesn't support IHVs writing miniport drivers, so the current IDE stack is used only for genuine IDE controllers in motherboard south bridge chips. Longhorn will support IDE miniports. In the meantime, IHVs have to write SCSI miniports for any new kind of hard disk interface, whether it's genuine SCSI, or IDE RAID, or SATA. Heck, if it's on a PCI card, even a plain-jane no-frills IDE controller has to use a SCSI miniport (e.g. those Promise ATA133 cards).

If you buy any kind of storage card, or motherboard-mounted RAID chip, it's going to come with a SCSI miniport (including Highpoint, 3Ware, Promise, Adaptec, LSI, etc.)

On the new motherboards with SATA in the south bridge, they follow Intel's lead of having the SATA work in one of two modes; PATA emulation or RAID. In PATA emulation mode (also known as legacy mode), the SATA drives appear as PATA channels and use the IDE stack in Windows. In RAID mode they use a SCSI miniport provided by the chipset manufacturer.

The Windows IDE stack doesn't support hot-plug. The SCSI miniport structure does support hot-plug.

KC

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