[olug] Weird SATA behavior

Obi-Wan obiwan at jedi.com
Wed Jul 14 14:55:14 UTC 2010

I spent most of last night trying to track down some really weird
behavior with a new SATA drive in my system.

I'm running an Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe mobo that's almost 2.5 yrs old.
It's got six SATA and one IDE port.  Previously, I booted off an
IDE drive and had two other internal SATA drives attached (one for
/home and one for backups.

Last night, I pulled one of my USB backup drives out of its enclosure
and moved it into the tower to act as a new backup drive.  It's a
1.5 TB WD green (EADS) SATA drive.  I plugged it into my 3rd SATA
port.  After that install, my system would run through the BIOS,
but wouldn't recognize any of the hard drives in order to boot.  It
just sat there with a cursor flashing on an otherwise empty screen.

The BIOS recognized all the drives just fine.  If I booted off a
9.10 live CD, I could see all the drives, mount them, list their
contents, etc.  I even partitioned & formatted the new backup drive
from the live CD.  Try to boot off an internal drive again, and no
go.  Each of the backup drives (both old & new) is also bootable,
but none of them would work.  I tried swapping power & SATA cables
to no avail.

After much experimentation, I found that this behavior existed when
I had the new drive plugged into SATA ports 3 or 4.  When I plugged
it into ports 5 or 6, it booted off the internal drives just fine.
The existing drives are in 1 and 2.

I have three SATA controllers on the mobo, and each controls two of
the drive ports.  My initial thought was that the second controller
(ports 3 and 4) was shot, but if that were the case, why would I
be able to see them when booting off the live CD?  Remember that I'm
trying to boot off the IDE drive, which is unchanged in any of these
SATA configuration scenarios.

The mobo BIOS is a little old, but thanks to yesterday's discussion,
I now know how to update it using the Windoze flash utility.  That
will happen soon.

Any ideas?

Ben "Obi-Wan" Hollingsworth                             obiwan at jedi.com
   The stuff of earth competes for the allegiance I owe only to the
     Giver of all good things, so if I stand, let me stand on the
       promise that You will pull me through.  -- Rich Mullins

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