Sorry this is long - yes I have searched various forums for this info, but I still need clarification - this message was also posted to thetechguide.com, but I think this is a great place to look for some of these answers.
I am assembling a new PC which will have two SATA hard drives, each divided into multiple partitions. There are also two optical drives and a plain old floppy drive. I have some questions regarding the connection and first bootup procedures. It seems that SATA-only systems are pretty new, most of the installation instructions assume that you are adding the drives to an existing system, and it seems that BIOS and/or the Windows setup may not auto-detect SATA as a primary bootable drive. So I'd rather understand the issues before I start everything up.
* Motherboard: Intel 865PERLK w/built-in 2 x SATA, 8 x USB2, Firewire, Ethernet, Sound
* CPU: Intel P4 2.8 GHz
* RAM: 2 x 512MB PC3200 DDR
* Video: ATI All in Wonder 9800 Pro w/128MB
* HDDs: 2 x 160GB Seagate SATA drives (see below for desired setup & some questions)
* No IDE hard drives at this time (or probably ever)
* Optical 1: NEC 2500A DVD burner
* Optical 2: Lite-On SOHC-5232K CDRW / DVD-ROM combo drive (see below for some questions)
* Floppy drive
* Internal memory card reader (works off of USB2)
* Antec case with (hopefully) plenty of power and fans
* No PCI slots used at this time due to plenty of Mobo built-ins
[B]Desired result of setup:[/B]
* First SATA HDD will have 3 partitions called as C: D: E: drives
* Windows XP Pro will be installed on the C: partition of the First SATA HDD
* Second SATA HDD will have 1 or more Windows-accessible partitions
(mostly intended as a backup repository for the First SATA HDD)
Those partition(s) should be called F: G: etc. in Windows
* Second SATA HDD will also have multiple Linux partitions which will not be
formatted for a Windows file system. (Linux may not be installed for a while yet).
* Optical drives should be called O: and P:
* USB Memory card reader slots should be called H: I: J: K: (assuming F: and G:
are used on the Second SATA HDD).
[B]Hardware connection Questions:[/B]
1. Since there is no IDE HDD (at this time anyway),
A. Should I use the Primary IDE or the Secondary IDE connector on the
motherboard for the two optical drives?
B. Will either choice affect my ability to assign drive letters the way I described above?
2. The instruction sheet that came with the Lite-On recommends making it the Master.
The NEC drive did not come with an instruction sheet, but perhaps if I had one it would
say the same thing.
Is there a reason to choose one of these as Master or Slave vs. the other?
[B]Initial boot-up and Windows installation Questions:[/B]
1. Should I postpone connecting either or both of the SATA drive cables at first boot-up?
Some of the installation info suggests that I'll need to run disk driver & setup utilities from
either a CD or floppy before I even hook up the SATA drives. Is this true?
2. Especially if I postpone the SATA hookup, what do I have to do to ensure that Windows
does not assign the letters C: and D: to the optical drives? Should I postpone hooking up the
optical drives also (maybe use the floppy for booting & disk utilities until I get the SATA drives
established - but I can't begin Windows installation until at least one optical drive is hooked up!).
3. Should I connect the memory card reader last (I think so, to keep it from using lower drive letters)?
4. Anything else I should know that I didn't ask?
Thanks very much in advance for your help!