OK, I’ve been battling the 680 controller issue for a couple weeks and last night I finally hit the “Eureka” on my system.
I’ve got my main system pretty loaded up - 7 DVD burners (Lite-On SOHW-1693S), six hard drives, and a few other goodies all hooked up to a Gigabyte GA8-KNXP Ultra 64 in a Lian Li V2000B case with a 3.2 gig P4 Prescott (not OC’d) and 2 gigs of Corsair XMS memory. The maddening thing is that it had all been working perfectly until a few weeks ago when I had to reinstall XP after one of my raided boot drives started getting flakey. On a positive note, I lost not one bit of data (I was able to back up all my user files prior to a complete meltdown), but after I reinstalled Windows the system would not boot with the 680 card installed if an optical drive was hooked up to it. It would boot fine as long as nothing was hooked up to the card, but that’s a little pointless isn’t it? NOTHING HAD CHANGED EXCEPT A NEW HARD DRIVE AND AN XP REINSTALL! So why did it work before but not now???
I tried updating the driver (and using older drivers, too), tried flashing to the latest firmware (and 3.2.10 which someone else said worked, but didn’t), tried changing slots, etc. The Gigabyte Ultra 64 includes a Silicon Image 3114 four channel SATA controller onboard which I run four 300 gig drives on for professional, uncompressed video as well as an Adaptec/Hance Rapids dual channel sata raid controller which I run two 200 gig drives on for system and low-bandwidth data, though in a pinch they’re fast enough for the pro video, too. Besides that the mobo has two regular PATA channels which I run four of the DVD burners on.
The very latest firmware (3.2.20) would cause the computer to freeze as soon as it finished booting through the various bios. Someone else had suggested 3.2.10, but it did the same thing. I tried all the different drivers, but I was pretty convinced that since it was crapping out before it even started booting into XP that it wasn’t a driver issue, at least not by itself.
So the trick: Bios 3.2.13!!! 3.2.13 plays perfectly with the embedded controllers and the system is once again EXTREMELY stable!!! (Yeah - happy dance!!!) I’m using the latest 680 driver from the Silicon Image site (184.108.40.206). The device manager shows all three controllers (the embedded Adaptec and 3114 controllers and the 680 card) under “SCSI and RAID controllers” and has the option for flashing the 680 right in the properties manager as someone else noticed earlier. The card can also be flashed from the control panel applet. The card itself is a Siig SC-PE4B12, though I don’t know why it wouldn’t work with other vendors 680 based cards.
The only quirk (and this one’s minor) is that during the 680’s bios boot it doesn’t indicate that anything is hooked up to the card. Firmware 3.2.20 would show the three DVD burners I have hooked up to the card during the bios device detection, but I’ll take the firmware that actually allows my computer to boot rather than the one that teases me by showing me which optical drives I won’t be using along with the rest of my system.
I had tried a Promise controller (TX2 I think) before the 680 when I first built this system a couple years ago, but the Promise didn’t work at all for DVD burning. Also, even with (at the time) a really powerful system you can’t burn with all 7 burners at anything more than 6x, though when I’m using all seven burners to burn DVDs for clients I use 4x anyway to get better quality burns. If I choose to burn at 16x I can use up to three burners. It doesn’t seem to matter much which three. Up to 6x I can use all 7. BTW, I payed $250 to Nero for a serial number that will allow burning to 7 drives at once - the regular version is limited to either two or four burners.
One other thing: Just as before, the three burners hooked up to the 680 show up in the device manager-DVD/CD-ROM drives as “LITE-ON DVDRW SOHW-1693S SCSI CdRom Devices” while the other four just show up as “LITE-ON DVDRW SOHW-1693S.” Evidently the 680 looks like a SCSI controller to Windows so it makes sense that XP thinks the drives hooked up to it are SCSI also.
I spent so much time researching and fighting this that I thought it only fair that I post the solution that worked for me. I’ve read through all 10 pages of this thread several times, as well as “using the Googler” to search for ANYTHING that might help. I was about at the point of pulling out the 680 and the three burners hooked up to it and calling it a day when I had a “Goldilocks” idea: Don’t use the newest firmware, don’t use the oldest, use one between the two. 13 is now my lucky number.