I recently encountered the common problem of a motherboard failing to boot after installing a SATA or IDE controller card (in this case Silicon Image). But I found a simple solution - just wipe the BIOS on the card using the Silicon Image DOS flash tool. In theory it doesn’t need a BIOS if you aren’t going to boot from it (or use a RAID array).
I couldn’t find this tip mentioned anywhere so I thought I would post it here (sorry if it’s old news).
The first card was an unbranded Sil3112 SATA card which came with an old RAID BIOS. At first the computer booted correctly from the IDE HDD connected to the motherboard, but after flashing to the latest base BIOS the computer failed to boot if a SATA drive was connected to the card. It would boot if no drive was connected, and hot-plugging the SATA data cable after booting showed that card was working. I could boot off a DOS floppy disc, but re-flashing the card back to the original RAID BIOS (or any other RAID or base BIOS verion) did not fix the problem. Changing the motherboard BIOS boot order and trying different PCI slots & cables did not help either. After erasing the card’s BIOS the computer boots successfully and both the card & drive still work. I have been running a Samsung SH-S203P via this card with [U]no BIOS[/U] for 2 months without any problems (apart from obviously not being able to boot from a drive connected to the card).
The second card was an unbranded Sil0680 IDE card (RAID BIOS) for a different computer, and again there were boot problems. With the IDE HDD connected to the motherboard the computer would not boot, even with no drives connected to the new card. With the HDD connected to the Sil card computer would boot, but Windows XP couldn’t load because it didn’t have a driver installed for the new card. Changing card’s RAID/IDE mode jumper, the motherboard BIOS boot order and trying different PCI slots & cables did not solve the problem. But I was able to boot off a DOS floppy disc and erase the card’s BIOS. With the HDD connected to the motherboard again the computer would now boot and Windows recognised the card & installed the drivers for it. Now Windows had installed drivers for the card I could flash the card with latest base BIOS and move the boot HDD from the motherboard to the card. Success. (As a bonus the updated BIOS has fixed the original problem and it can now boot with the HDD connected to the motherboard)
Out of curiosity, has anyone tried using a Sil0680 card with the generic Windows IDE controller drivers? Windows XP initially installed the generic IDE drivers for the Sil0680 card and everything appeared to work OK, but to be on the safe side I installed the correct Silicon Image drivers. (I am unable to go back to the generic IDE drivers, presumably because Windows now considers the card to be a SCSI device)