casktapper

New SATA installation

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Hello,

I recently purchased a new SATA drive (Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 250GB W/ NCQ) and began the process of installing it on my Asus P4PE based system. I was trying to install it alongside two existing IDE harddrives under my existing WinXP install. I got the drive installed correctly, ugraded my bios (to 1.007), installed the raid controller drivers (FastTrak 376) in windows and after a monumental struggle (this was my first SATA drive and I wasn't familiar with the technology) eventually got FastBuild to set up the drive (detected as the correct size, set up in a striping configuration. Unfortunately, when the machine finished rebooting, the FastTrak bios spent a little while churning, but reports that it didn't detect any drives. Repeated reboots had the same result, though occasionally I would have the option to enter FastBuild again to set up the drive. And I did verify that the drive does not show up in fdisk to be formatted.

Now, I've read a lot (A LOT) of posts and articles on the subject now and I still feel like I might be missing something obvious, but I'm also beginning to suspect that there might be a problem with the drive itself. I just want to add a third drive to my setup (with an eventual goal of cloning my existing IDE boot drive to the new SATA drive, though that's another story) and didn't expect it to be such a hassle.

If anyone can point out something obviously wrong wtih what I'm doing or has some experiencing getting SATA drives running on an Asus P4PE motherboard, I would appreciate any help.

Travis.

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I'm wating for someone to respond! I aso have a P4PE. I have a 200gb WD that's acting "flaky" (was on the promise controller, sometimes there, sometimes, not, file transfers sometimes fail). I moved it over to the IDE, and it's still "flaky", so I guess it wasn't the promise controller.

I'm debating whether to replace it with a PATA or SATA drive. I'd like a SATA just because it's newer, and who knows what computer I'll have in a year and want to move it into. But since this P4PE is a few years old, I'm concerned if the SATA connection is a "true" one, and not some early "cobbled" setup. Also, if I ever want to put this new hard drive in an enclosure (as a backup drive) and connect with USB/IEE1394, looks like SATA enclosures are just appearing and quite expensive.

I picked up a 300gb Seagate 7200.8 with PATA yesterday (Circuit City, $100 after $80 rebate). I'm not going to open it until I see the weekend deals and continue looking for other's experience on the web. I've found some P4PE postings that indicate no problems, others that indicate their PATA drives are faster than their SATA drive.

I'm not going to spend a ton-o-money (so I say), so I was looking for a good deal in the 250gb-300gb range. The Maxtor DiamondMax 10 SATA is priced nice - I'm reading through all the opinions (good and bad) on this drive too.

Aren't there any P4PE users out there with SATA experience? I see SATA controller cards are $15 - $50 as a last resort (of course I could put this towards a new motherboard too, then I'd need a faster processor, a new graphics card, argh!!)

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i know i may be slow sometimes but i also hate trying to decifer someones configuration.

I don't understand how your sata drive is interfacing with your mb, is the controller a card or on the MB, and also what drives are you raiding? I haven't heard of mixed sata & IDE raids, so perhaps a little more detail about what the setup is

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The Asus P4PE (regular version is what I have, with SATA/RAID, and IEE1394), has a Promise PDC20376 controller chipset. It provides two Serial ATA interfaces (and supports RAID), or can instead support a Parallel ATA drive (ATA133).

There is a MBFastTrak376 BIOS that loads where you configure your drives/RAID, whether you have one or two drives connected.

Within the motherboard's BIOS, there is an "Onboard SATA/IDE RAID Controler" option, with disabled/enabled the choices.

Hope this clears up some of the details of the questions.

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cz summed up the basics of the P4PE MB setup.

I have installed the drive on a machine at work and it detected fine. I was even able to format the drive. So I'm pretty sure it's not the drive.

I've read reports from people who have successfully set up single SATA drives on their P4PE boards so I know that it is possible. But as those forum threads were months, if not years, old I wasn't able to follow up with any of them. I suspect that the implementation of SATA on the P4PE board was an early version and may be somewhat flakey.

I haven't contacted Asus about the problem, but that is probably my next step (along with checking out the power supply details and trying a different SATA cable). I just didn't expect a fast response from them so I have been seeking information in other places (including here).

Recently when I boot the machine, the FastTrak BIOS will sporadically detect the drive and I can retry setting up the configuration. Occasionally when I do so I will get the error "Problem writing to reserved space." or something very much like that. Has anyone else encountered this error?

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Still confused :blink:

Not being familiar with the hardware its a bit hard to follow;

eventually got FastBuild to set up the drive (detected as the correct size, set up in a striping configuration.

As i understand it you are trying to RAID this sata HD yes? With what?

Does the MBFastTrak376 BIOS let you RAID the SATA with the PATA?

Is FastBuild the RAID Setup utility for the BIOS or is a windows program?

I am going to assume that you have updated to the latest BIOS for the Asus P4PE, have you checked if there is a BIOS or firmware update for the Promise controller or the MBFastTrak376 (i think they are the same)?

I think it is unlikely that fdisk will see the sata disk.

So you are saying that the MBFastTrak376 BIOS detected the drive when you first installed it, but now detects it occassionally?

Does the BIOS or fastbuild utility offer the choice of completly wiping (formatting) the drive? If so have you done this?

Since it seems like it detects it occassionally try a differect sata connector cable and a different power plug.

If it still occassionally is being detected it may be a driver problem or a HD problem. If you say that it is ok in your work machine that would indicate a driver or BIOS problem.

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Thanks for your response, and patience, TwoJ.

Sorry for the confusion. Despite having a tech background, I came into this knowing very little about how to set up an SATA drive and I am still getting my head around what actually needs to be done. I imagine it starts to get a bit more transparent with newer motherboards, but unfortunately things have not been so easy with my P4PE.

As i understand it you are trying to RAID this sata HD yes? With what?

As I understand it, I can set up the SATA drive as a single drive in a RAID array using striping. That is what I have done (or tried to do). I won't get any of the benefits of the drive being in a RAID configuration, but as far as I can tell, this is the only way that I can add the drive to my machine.

Does the MBFastTrak376 BIOS let you RAID the SATA with the PATA?

Yes it can (according to the manual) but this is not what I am trying to do.

Is FastBuild the RAID Setup utility for the BIOS or is a windows program?

FastBuild is the RAID setup utility in the BIOS.

I am going to assume that you have updated to the latest BIOS for the Asus P4PE, have you checked if there is a BIOS or firmware update for the Promise controller or the MBFastTrak376 (i think they are the same)?

I have upgraded to the latest BIOS for the motherboard. I have looked for some kind of update for the Promise controller but have been unable to find any. I suspect that the firmware upgrade exists only in the P4PE firmware update. (and yes, MBFastTrak376 is the Promise controller)

I think it is unlikely that fdisk will see the sata disk.

Good to know. In that case, do you have any suggestions for a tool to format and partition the drive? (though I probably will not end up partitioning it) Again, it's been a while since I've done anything but the basics with my machine, so forgive the ignorance.

So you are saying that the MBFastTrak376 BIOS detected the drive when you first installed it, but now detects it occassionally?

That's exactly right. And when the MBFastTrak376 BIOS does redetect the drive, it shows up as unconfigured. I can try the Autosetup option again, or try to tweak the settings to circumvent the autosetup. Sometimes when I do this I get the error "Problem writing to reserved space" and it prompts me to reboot, saying that the drive configuration failed. Sometimes when I use the Autosetup it reports success and reboots, but the drive is not detected by the controller BIOS when the system comes back up.

Does the BIOS or fastbuild utility offer the choice of completly wiping (formatting) the drive? If so have you done this?

None of the BIOS screens offer the option of wiping the drive.

Since it seems like it detects it occassionally try a differect sata connector cable and a different power plug.

If it still occassionally is being detected it may be a driver problem or a HD problem. If you say that it is ok in your work machine that would indicate a driver or BIOS problem.

The cables are the next thing I am going to try replacing. I don't have much faith in this, but beyond that I can't see many other options. The drive seems to be working fine and I am beginning to fear that the SATA support for the P4PE just may be too flakey to work in most instances. I guess an email to Asus might clear that one up.

Thanks again for any help that can be offered

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ok - i think i'm getting it :unsure:

As I understand it, I can set up the SATA drive as a single drive in a RAID array using striping

I think that is the problem - you can't have a RAID of 1 disk. The name is Redundant ARRAY ....ie 2 or more. A RAID 0 or 1 will need a minimum of 2 disks. As i understand there are 2 sata connectors. You may be able to setup a RAID with 1 or 2 sata disks with 1 or 2 disks on the PATA connector, but you will need at least 2.

You'll have to check with the MB manual on that one.

I would try hooking the device as a normal (basic) disk and see how the connection is, i still would change the sata connector and check both data & power connections.

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ok - i think i'm getting it  :unsure:
As I understand it, I can set up the SATA drive as a single drive in a RAID array using striping

I think that is the problem - you can't have a RAID of 1 disk. The name is Redundant ARRAY ....ie 2 or more. A RAID 0 or 1 will need a minimum of 2 disks. As i understand there are 2 sata connectors. You may be able to setup a RAID with 1 or 2 sata disks with 1 or 2 disks on the PATA connector, but you will need at least 2.

I think you should be looking for a JBOD option, rather than RAID for running a single disk. At least that's the way it works on my Sil 3114 on my ASUS A8N-SLI Premium Board.

Regards,

Michael.

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Oh boy, I don't know how I got so turned around about this. Must be reading too many messageboards too late at night. I couldn't even find the google results I was looking at in the first place so I can't even check how I got there.

But I also don't know how I can get the drive to detect as a single drive connected to one of the SATA connectors. I have submitted the question to Asus tech support, so hopefully I will receive some wisdom from them.

I think you should be looking for a JBOD option, rather than RAID for running a single disk.

What is JBOD? I'd rather not go on another fruitless search for an alternate technology that might not even be supported on my board. Maybe you can give me a few details.

Also, cz9h3d seemed to indicate that he had a single drive attached to the Promise controller, so maybe he can give some more information on how he got that working. Might solve my problem.

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Wow! I thought this thread was dead!

I have run a single drive off the Promise controller successfully, but it was a PATA drive. You do use the FastTrak Bios setup,

My SATA drive arrives Friday, so I'll soon have some hands-on experience at getting this to work myself.

I don't believe you are required to run the SATA drives in pairs in a RAID configuration, but can just run a single drive. I too, have "googled" this subject, and there are people with this board and controller who have successfully added a single SATA drive. You set it up as a "single striped drive", which is also how I set up my PATA drive.

I don't plan on using mine as a boot drive, which may make it easier on me? Here's a quote I found in alt.comp.periphs.mainboards.asus, from someone who set it up as their boot drive:

"I have it working now, I enabled the Promise controller in BIOS, configured

a RAID 0 array with one drive, booted from CD (XP Pro), loaded the driver

provided on the CD that came with the P4PE."

For my board (P4PE w/IEE1394 and SATA RAID), 1007 is the latest bios. The FastTrak Bios version that came on my install CD still looks to be the latest - the ASUS site actually has an older version!

If I can't get this working I guess I'll just have to get a new computer to put the drive into! My current 200gb is acting "flaky", so this is my replacement for it (it's my backup & video/DVD capture drive). Since I needed to buy a new drive, I didn't really want to buy a parallel ATA drive that would be outdated when I get a new machine. Although CompUSA's 250gb Maxtor IDE that was on sale Sunday for $80 no rebate might have been the quick and cheap answer! I ordered a 300gb Maxtor MaxLine III SATA that NewEgg had on sale yesterday/today.

Wish me luck! I'll let you know what I learn this weekend.

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Thanks cz. This confirms some of what I've read as well. I'm glad that it seems less likely that I am losing my mind. It sounds like we are dealing with exactly the same board so hopefully I will be able to get some accurate information from your attempts at installation.

As I understand it, the FastTrak BIOS cannot be updated outside of the actual motherboard BIOS update. Perhaps you are talking about the XP Promise Controller drivers which do indeed seem more recent off the CD (nov-2002) versus what I've seen on the web (aug-2002).

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As I understand it, the FastTrak BIOS cannot be updated outside of the actual motherboard BIOS update.  Perhaps you are talking about the XP Promise Controller drivers which do indeed seem more recent off the CD (nov-2002) versus what I've seen on the web (aug-2002).

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Yes, you're correct - I was talking about driver - my mistake.

I get nervous that you're waiting for me to tell you what's wrong! I should get my hard drive delivered on Friday. If I can't just plug it in, connect the SATA and power cable (I did order an adapter too), and then run the FastTrak setup, then I'm in trouble!

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Okay.....I plugged the drive in, booted - and no drive found! Took a look and noticed I had plugged the drive into a "fan only" power plug. Found a beter plug, rebooted, and the drive was found!

The trickier part was trying to remember what to do in WinXP to get everything set up. Finally found my way to the "Compter Management" tool that contains the disk management tool. The drive is currently being formatted as one "big honkin'" partition in NTFS! Looks like it's going to take a while - it's 14% done after maybe 10 minutes. I'll probably go to bed and see what I've got in the morning, but it's looking good!

I guess I'd make sure you're getting good power to your drive. I've got an Antec 400W power supply. I think I overspeced when I built my system - there are a ton of leads left!

I've still got two IDE drives and DVD and DVD-R on the system. What's the best way to hook all these items up to the IDE channels? I've got the two hard drives on the primary, and the two optical drives on the secondary. And of course my new SATA.

Hey! The manual does say you can create a RAID with one SATA and one IDE! When I saw your previous comment on this I couldn't believe it!........think I'll do some cable management in this spaghetti before I put it back together. I bit the bullet and bought some rounded IDE cables to clean things up. I've got USB and IEE1394 wires all over the inside that need inspecting - I know I have some USB ports working, some not.

good night! I'm rambling...

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Everything seems to be working fine! I'm not sure what benchmark tools I should be running. Just downloaded HD Tach.

My current Western Digital 120MB (special edition with 8mb cache) tested at an average transfer rate of 38MB/s (seems slow based on some of the other drives in the database).

My new Seagate SATA Maxline II tested at 55MB/s. Hmmm...gonna be hard to not make this drive my C-Drive.

Let me know if you get yours working! I'll probably do some reading now to figure out what I need to "tweak" to make all my drives faster.

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Spent a sunny Saturday with my head inside my PC! So far I've overcome all obstacles!

Went and used the MaxBlast software (from Maxtor) to partition my SATA drive into about a 70GB System and 230GB Data (I'm sure I could have gone smaller, especially after I move music and photos over to the larger partition (for data). Maybe I'll invest in PartionMagic or something for a later resizing.

Also then used MaxBlast to clone my current system drive to the new partition. It did seem to "flake" out a little in that it indicated some files weren't copied (wasn't able to write to the new drive). I then spent quite a bit of time comparing what didn't come over (Beyond Compare 2 was awesome in helping make this easy!). I think it was basically all the active files, and I probably would have been fine without them.

I did have some trouble then getting the new SATA to boot. I set up the bios to skip the IDE drives, and put the SCSI/SATA in the boot sequence. Also enabled as "first" in the bios. Then totally unplugged my ATA drives. I did have to select between two different "Windows" options on a DOS screen - one didn't work and rebooted, the other brought me up in my regular environment! I do have to activate Windows again. I'm not sure what was going on, but it works now!

No I'm just moving data from the system partition to the data partition. Then I'll reconnect my IDE drives and clean them up. I'll use the "non-flaky" WD120 as a backup for my data. I do notice quite a speed improvement in my system, in things like opening the drives in a window, pulling up a photo directory, etc.

Think my next step is to figure out a good backup system for all my data, as I haven't been doing that (only the important photos). I'll have to figure out whether to buy an external hard drive or build my own.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Oh, in cleaning up my cable clutter, I think perhaps I've never had my case fans running! Or at least most of them! Now they are - need to keep them three hard drives cool!

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I need some help! It appears as though windows thinks I have a dual boot option. Whenever I boot up, I get a screen to choose from two different WinXP options (in 25 seconds!). The first one gets me into Windows, the 2nd just reboots my machine.

What's going on? I've already reformated my old C-drive after I moved everything over to my SATA drive.

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There is a reference to a nonexistent OS in your boot.ini. Safe way to 'fix' it is in System Properties>Advanced>Startup and Recovery

Pick the OS you want as default and untick the time to display the menu.

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Under the "Default Operating System" drop-down I have no options! Here is what is in my boot.ini:

[boot loader]

timeout=30

default=signature(39db0a93)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\windows

[operating systems]

What should I be doing?

By the way, during bootup my two options are both "Windows XP (Default)".

thanks

There is a reference to a nonexistent OS in your boot.ini.  Safe way to 'fix' it is in System Properties>Advanced>Startup and Recovery

Pick the OS you want as default and untick the time to display the menu.

214797[/snapback]

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Glad to hear that you got the drive installed cz. As soon as I get a little free time I will give it one last shot but then I may just resell it to someone with a more up to date motherboard. It is proving to be almost more trouble than it is worth. Still, I could really use that 250Gb

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Just to provide a bit of closure for those that tried to help up I'll wrap up my sorry tale.

After not hearing from ASUS regarding my questions, I finally gave up. I went out and purchased the Promise SATA300 T2plus controller card, installed it and the drive is currently formatting. So, for anyone who came across this doing a search for P4PE boards and SATA installations, the onboard controller can be flakey and if you are having problems, you may want to seek alternative solutions (like a PCI controller card) instead of spending countless hours in a futile effort.

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Even further closure. The drive did not sucessfully format, and despite my efforts, I could not get it running even with the new controller card. I sent a message to Seagate and they confirmed that the drive is probably defective. I have no idea why I was able to format it on a machine at work but I did send it back and received a new drive that I was able to install in absolutely no time at all.

And for the first time in my life, I don't even want to look at another piece of hardware. Thanks again for anyone who tried to help me out with my problems.

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Geez....I hope my success and your total failure doesn't get you too depressed.....

My update....I happend onto the ~$950 Dell 9100 dual core with 24" LCD deal last week (34% off plus 6% off the EPP price, with 1/2 price monitor upgrade)! Added a few upgrades and got myself a new supercomputer with a beautiful display for $1300 total! Now the pc I successfully installed the SATA drive into is the kids! I plan on pulling that drive out and making it a second drive on my new PC - which of course has a SATA drive.

Sorry your P4PE didn't behave. I've had some challenges in the past, but eventually always get things working.

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