sircharles32

Controllers compatible with 2TB hard drives?

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Greetings.

I'm seeking a clarification on two specific controllers, and their compatibility with 2TB hard drives.

A little background:

I've got an old dual PII 400 MHz system that I use as a file storage system. It contains a PCI SATA controller with the Sil3114 chip (manufacturer is Siig). I know it can handle 1TB hard drives, because I currently have a WD1001FALS running on the controller.

Also, I've got an Opteron 150 system running on the Foxconn NFPIK8AA-8EKRS, which is controlled by Nvidia's NForce Professional 2200 & 2050 chipset.

My question for both is straight forward: Do these controllers/chipsets support 2TB hard drives.

I've scoured the web trying to find a definitive answer, to no avail. I've contacted Siig, about their Sil3114 based controller, but never heard back from them (that was over a month ago). I've contacted Nvidia, and got a solid "maybe". I've posted on the Tech Report's forums, but only found someone that's successfully gotten a 1.5TB drive to function on a Sil3114 controller. So, with that said, is there anyone out there in Storage Review land that can help answer my questions?

Thanks in advance.

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I don't know, but since it's 48-bit (and 1.5TB worked) I would assume it works.

BTW, can you boot from the card? If you can, what motherboard and card are these? (I'm trying to do something similar, and one of my options is SiI3512.)

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I think nobody can give definitive answer without having the exact same controller/motherboard and bios version. Whether the high capacity drives can be properly detected or not, depends on the controller/motherboard bios. The chip manufacturers cannot know if your particular controller/motherboard is equipped with a bios that can properly detect high capacity drives, or if it has some limit that is lower than what could theoretically be supported by the chips.

I have a crappy silicon image (siig) 3114 based controller card that supports at maximum 500 GB drives. On that card the bios is not even upgradable (rom chip). But since 1 TB drive works with your 3114 controller you could be lucky - that drive already is (most probably) far newer than the controller so there might not be any stupid limit, certainly not as low limit as with my controller... Try it out.

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I don't know, but since it's 48-bit (and 1.5TB worked) I would assume it works.

BTW, can you boot from the card? If you can, what motherboard and card are these? (I'm trying to do something similar, and one of my options is SiI3512.)

From what I've gathered while reading from early adopters across the internet, never "assume" that it'll work. :)

Unfortunately, I can't test the card's bootability, because I don't have a spare hard drive to throw an OS on, to test with. Right now, the system with the Sil3114 controller, contains both a Promise Ultra133 TX2 (this is the boot controller) and another Siig controller based on the Sil0680 chip. The system's got a hodgepodge of drives ranging in size from 120 GB to the 1 TB, that I mentioned earlier. The current BIOS that's running on the Sil3114 controller is 5.4.0.3. I know that there has been (at least) a newer release since this one.

The PCI Sil3114 controller is a Siig "Serial ATA 4-Channel PCI", part #:SC-SA4011-S2. It's supposed to be bootable, and coexist with your on-board and add-in controllers.

The other system's motherboard, that's in question, is a Foxconn NFPIK8AA-8EKRS, running BIOS dated 3/7/2005 (there is only one newer release since this, and it only added support for dual core Opterons, so I never bothered to upgrade it - in fact, Foxconn recommends not upgrading the BIOS unless absolutely necessary).

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I think nobody can give definitive answer without having the exact same controller/motherboard and bios version. Whether the high capacity drives can be properly detected or not, depends on the controller/motherboard bios. The chip manufacturers cannot know if your particular controller/motherboard is equipped with a bios that can properly detect high capacity drives, or if it has some limit that is lower than what could theoretically be supported by the chips.

I have a crappy silicon image (siig) 3114 based controller card that supports at maximum 500 GB drives. On that card the bios is not even upgradable (rom chip). But since 1 TB drive works with your 3114 controller you could be lucky - that drive already is (most probably) far newer than the controller so there might not be any stupid limit, certainly not as low limit as with my controller... Try it out.

I understand the variables/logistics/economy of being able to test vast number of configurations. However, I was at least hoping to come across someone that may have already "bit the bullet" for me and setup a 2 TB drive on either a Sil3114 controller or any motherboard with the NForce Professional 2xxx chipset. Controllers based on the Sil3114 were quite common several years ago, so I figured that at least one other person out there may have attempted to put a 2TB drive on one of these controllers. I can (somewhat) understand the lack of information about NForce Professional based systems, as they are more niche.

I'd certainly like to "try it out", but at even Hitachi's lower $140 for a 2 TB drive, that's still an expensive "test" for me.

Well, thanks for the reply.

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I don't know, but since it's 48-bit (and 1.5TB worked) I would assume it works.

BTW, can you boot from the card? If you can, what motherboard and card are these? (I'm trying to do something similar, and one of my options is SiI3512.)

In case I misunderstood your request for "what motherboard", the system with all the PCI controllers (including the Sil3114) is running on a Rioworks PDB. It's an ancient dual slot 1 motherboard, with the Intel 440BX chipset.

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Alright, figured I'd update my own post with some of my own findings.

I've purchased four Samsung HD203WI drives from Newegg. For once the packaging was pretty damn good (individual boxes for the drives, each one in it's own antistatic clam shell, and each wrapped in bubble wrap). All drives, tested with Samsung's own diagnostics, passed with flying colors. I took this opportunity to do some testing on multiple storage controllers. I've now successfully tested and formatted on Sil 3114 and Sil 3124 PCI controllers (used latest IDE/Base drivers and BIOSes). So, that answers part of my original question.

I am now attempting to format on the Nvidia NForce Pro 2200 controller. I know that Nvidia storage controller drivers have caused many headaches since large SATA drives have come out, so my fingers are crossed.

Oh, one other thing: All testing, formatting is/has being/been done on Windows 2000 Professional with SP4.

I'll post an update on the Nvidia install.

Update: I have now successfully formatted and tested on the Nvidia NForce Professional 2200/2050 chipset, under Windows 2000 Professional. The storage controller driver version is 5.10.2600.552. So, in short, it would appear, Windows 2000 drivers don't suffer from the same issues that the later drivers suffered from, and it is possible to use 2TB hard drives with this chipset.

For any that are interested in basic quick HDTach 3.0 values generated:

look at the attached .jpg

post-7863-12752982660563_thumb.jpg

Edited by sircharles32

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