Arrrghh! Seemingly useless 400gb new hard drive

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SimonMW
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Joined: Nov 16 2004

Hi all,

Just bought a new 400gb SATA hard drive. I'm using an Abit IC7 Max MB that has SATA channels 1 and 2 taken up with the boot drive and one of the video storage drives. I then have one hard drive on IDE channel 1, and a DVD writer on IDE 2. Everything worked swimmingly well until today when I tried to install the new drive.

There was me thinking that I could plug it straight into SATA channel 3 and be away. But oh no, not that simple. Windows sees the drive under device manager, but not as an individual drive. Further research seems to point to the idea that SATA channels 3 through to 6 can ONLY be used for RAID!

What kind of fool designs a MB with that many SATA channels and assumes that everyone is going to be using RAID?

Is there any way I can get Windows to see this new hard drive as an individual?!

Alan Craven
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Joined: Jan 26 2001

In the past I have got round this by having the single drive striped as though it was two drives - this worked on an ASUS P4PE drive with an on-board Promise controller.

Are you sure that there is not a setting in the BIOS to tell it you don not want a RAID array? I have to set this in my present ASUS P4C800 board which uses the Intel ICHR5 chip

SimonMW
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Joined: Nov 16 2004

There does seem to be a setting that seems to turn the RAID off, but I'm not sure if it just stops the option for RAID configuration coming up on boot up rather than stopping the RAID itself. There is definitely an option to turn RAID off for SATA channels 1 and 2. But the 3 to 6 channels use a different bridge thing or something (sorry, I'm not that technical when it comes to computers other than being able to swear at them when they go wrong!)

I'm sure that there must be a way. But I have tried pretty much every BIOS setting I can think of to no avail. Searching on the internet just seems to produce a lot of reviews for the MB rather than any technical help. And the Abit site is completely useless.

Worse is the manual. If channels 3 through 6 can only do RAID why on earth can't it state this in black and white in the manual?

Smithnc
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Joined: Oct 26 2002

You can set it up as JBOD, (just a bunch of discs) on a SATA RAID, even though its only one.

Nick

SimonMW
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Joined: Nov 16 2004

How do I do that?

Smithnc
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Joined: Oct 26 2002

I'm not really an expert on this, i'm hoping that someone like Gary steps in now!!
I had trouble when I built a PC and two different sized SATA discs. I had to install the RAID and when I set it up I was given the option to set up a JBOD instead of the other striping options.
On your motherboard do you have two different SATA controllers? Which one controls the channel that you've connected the new disc to. If you go into setup for this raid when Windows boots up you should be given the options. But if its on the same controller as your other SATA drives it will probably be a problem. My MB has 2 different SATA contollers, but I only use one for my two odd discs, they're on as JBOD.
I downloaded a hard disc utilility from Maxtor which sorted it for me, but I've been cautioned against , mine was a new build, and in your case I wouldn't consider it because it'd (bu.... sorry) mess up change all your disc addresses.
Will one of the experts respond?
I wish you well, I know how frustrating this can be, and there is an answer!

Nick

Smithnc
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Joined: Oct 26 2002

Thinking again.

As Windows boots up you cann go into the SATA RAIDs that have been enabled in the MB BIOS. Just like you are asked to hit del if you want to enter the BIOS software on boot up. If you hit f? at the prompt you can enter the SATA RAID setup and it should be there. There might be a problem if you're connected to SATA controller that isn't enabled in the BIOS, if you check your MB documentation you could enable it.

On previous posts it has been suggested that if Windows can see the disk then Windows should be able to sort it.

Nick

SimonMW
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Joined: Nov 16 2004

Hi Nick,

Yes, the MB has two SATA controllers. I have enabled both of them, but there doesn't appear to be anything that allows JBOD. I tried one option in the RAID setup on bootup labelled "Spare Disc" but it wouldn't let me use it.

This is really frustrating!

Smithnc
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Joined: Oct 26 2002

Sorry to hear that, there must be a way.
Is the new disc on the same controller as the others?
Can you put it on the other using a different socket.

Nick

SimonMW
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Joined: Nov 16 2004

Hi Nick,

No, the new disc is on the different controller. The first SATA controller has 2 SATA channels available, and both of those are in use with other drives. The second SATA controller has 4 channels available, and that is the one I am trying to connect it to.

I would have assumed that the manual would say it was for RAID only. But I can't imagine why a company would only make those channels avaialble for a RAID array. People do seem to have found workarounds in the past on other boards. I'm sure that there is a solution. I'm stuck with the drive now since I did a low level format with the RAID setup on startup to see if that would help (a Google search found someone who had their similar problem solved by doing this).

Alan Craven
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Joined: Jan 26 2001

On your motherboard, one of your SATA controllers is built into the motherboard chipset - on Intel boards it is the ICH5 or 6 series. This is described as native 2 channel support. This one can be enabled (or not) in the BIOS at boot up. If you do not enable it, you can use SATA disks as single disks.

The other is a Silicon Image 4-port serial ATA RAID controller, again built into the motherboard. You may be able to use this with a single disk, but not all RAID controllers allow this, as far as my experience goes.

SimonMW
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Joined: Nov 16 2004

Hi Alan,

Yes, it is the Silicon Image controller that I am trying to connect to.

Alan Craven
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Joined: Jan 26 2001

A quick look at your motherboard manual (courtesy of Google) suggests that the Silicon image controller will require at least two disks in a RAID array.

Some Promise RAID controllers will allow you to set up a RAID 0 array on a single disk, you could try this.

SimonMW
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Joined: Nov 16 2004

Hmm. I'll have a look at controllers. It really seems odd to offer so many channels with no option of using them on their own.

Smithnc
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Joined: Oct 26 2002

Sorry, Simon, no new ideas, but how do external SATA drives work?

I've been glancing through my latest PCPro and I see external hard disc enclosures, Icybox, which have USB or SATA connections. How do you connect them, is it just for a few controllers?

You could buy a SATA card controller which would do JBOD, but that would be a third!

Surely there's an answer out there, or do you have to buy a second to make a pair?

Nick

Alan Craven
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Joined: Jan 26 2001

If all else fails you could use it as an external drive:

http://www.span.com/catalog/spanstor_system.php?MainCategory=7&SubCategory=7_3&ssTotal=7_3_1&x=49&y=10

For the purposes I suspect you have in mind a second identical drive would probably make more sense though!

Incidentally, I have just converted my RAID 0 array on the ICHR5 controller to two separate disks as I was fed up of having to re-build the array on boot up.

SimonMW
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Joined: Nov 16 2004

I just installed a PCI SATA controller. Not idea, but it will do the job. As long as I can solve one tiny little problem!

The computer boots up just fine, and the new PCI controller recognises the hard drive perfectly. Windows loads up, but the new drive does not show up in My Computer! I check the Device Manager and the hard drive is listed there, so Windows can see it.

How on earth do I access it to format it?!

StevenBagley
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Joined: Aug 14 2000
SimonMW wrote:
How on earth do I access it to format it?!

Go to Computer Management, in Administrative Tools and look in the drive management section. You should be able to partition it and then format it from there.

Steven

SimonMW
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Joined: Nov 16 2004

Thanks much!

I had forgotten all about that! Pretty weird for a guy who built both his computers!

The one thing I wonder now is if this could have solved my original problem and saved me the cost of a SATA PCI card. Can't be bothered to open up the computer again now though.

rhett7660
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Joined: Jan 28 2006

If it is a western digital drive you can download there utility( http://support.wdc.com/download/index.asp?cxml=n&pid=2&swid=1 ) and mount the drive that way. It takes all of 30 seconds to see the new drive under your my computer. Windows will see it in the device manager and on boot up but for some reason it didn't want to mount.. I think I am using the right word. Downloaded the utility and "BAM" it worked.....

R~

Smithnc
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Joined: Oct 26 2002

Yes Maxtor has a utility that worked for me, but I was doing it on a new build, it changed all the hard disk addresses, not a problem for me, but it would be if there are already a lot of programmes setup on your machine.
After my success I advised using Maxblast on this forum, but luckily a few people posted later cautioning against this, and saying that Windows should sort out, but they weren't as specific as above.
http://forums.dvdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=35740&highlight=maxblast
I couldn't find this thread earlier to post it, sorry Simon it might have saved you a lot of trouble, I kept hoping someone would pitch in.

Nick