Optical drives on a SATA RAID controller

I think my ASUS P6X58D Premium motherboard has really got me backed into a corner this time. In retrospect, it may have been a poor choice. I recently bought a new ASUS DRW-24B1ST SATA DVD burner, because I thought my Optiarc AD-7260S had taken a dump. During the process, I started doing some DVD quality testing using Nero DiskSpeed v.5.0.1.250 and a BenQ 1640 on the discs produced on the DRW-24B1ST and found that it was writing bad discs with both Verbatim MCC-004 and CMC Mag AM3. Bad drive?

I pulled two of my old reliable SATA DVD drives, an Optiarc AD-7200S and a Pioneer DVR-215D, off the shelf and tried them out. Now, these two drives had always produced excellent discs with Verbatim MCC-004, consistently in the 95-98% range tested with Nero DiskSpeed on a BenQ 1640. Now they’re producing crap, too!

After updating everything I could think of, including the system BIOS and RAID drivers, with no improvement, I’ve come to the conclusion that it might be the fact that I had installed a second hard drive and changed my motherboard ICH10R SATA controller from IDE to Raid/AHCI Raid 1 mode. There is no way to exempt any of the six SATA ports from Raid/AHCI. At first I thought I could simply switch the optical drives to the Marvell 6GB/s SATA III non-RAID controller ports, but the manual says that the Marvell controller does not support ATAPI devices, only hard drives. Great!

If I’m right about the optical drives not working very well under Raid/AHCI, what do they expect people to do when they want a RAID setup but also have ATAPI optical drives in the system? I know that I could try to find a PCIe non-RAID SATA I or II controller card that truly supports ATAPI devices, but they’re hard to find and it’s a real crapshoot. Maybe it will work and maybe it won’t.

I may try to reset the BIOS from Raid/AHCI to IDE mode, just to test these drives again. But, I can’t seem to find any reliable info on what to expect when I switch from Raid/AHCI to IDE in the system BIOS and then back to Raid/AHCI again and if there’s more to it than just the BIOS setting.

BTW, my operating system is Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

My questions are:

Has anyone else experienced problems with their SATA ATAPI devices operating properly under Raid/AHCI on the Intel ICH10R chipset?

How easy is it to switch from Raid/AHCI to IDE mode in the BIOS and back again to Raid/AHCI RAID 1? Or is there more involved than just the BIOS setting.

The preferred setting for optical drives is IDE. With modern drives, AHCI might work also.
But all this is up the controller’s firmware and drivers. Raid is designed for HDDs, ODD might work accidentially.

Most important:
Many controllers are designed to only support HDDs, for ODD application make sure, ODD (or ATAPI) support is mentioned in the controller’s data sheet.

Michael

If all that’s true, it’s hard to believe that a major manufacturer like ASUS would make an all-SATA motherboard where, once you change the controller mode from IDE to RAID/AHCI, you might as well throw out your ATAPI devices. The P6X58D is not exactly a server-grade board and you might expect that the user would have two or more optical drives in the system. What’s most disappointing is that the on-board Marvell 6 GB/s controller is neither a RAID controller nor ATAPI compatible. I’d call it basically useless!

[QUOTE=pcarey;2609089]If all that’s true, it’s hard to believe that a major manufacturer like ASUS would make an all-SATA motherboard where, once you change the controller mode from IDE to RAID/AHCI, you might as well throw out your ATAPI devices. The P6X58D (…)[/QUOTE]The feature set is determined by the chipset, motherboard manufacturers have nearly zero options to change anything. Additionally, you might check the manual if there are recommendations about the controller’s operation mode.
As a sidenote, this Intel stuff should work in AHCI also.

Some AMD motherboards had a very clever feature. From six Sata ports you could set the operation mode of one pair of connectors independently. So you could have ports 0 -3 as RAID and 4 -5 as IDE for ODD application. :clap:

If such a feature were not present on expensive Intel based motherboards would be hard to understand by me.

Michael

Yes, I’ve seen that option on other motherboards to exempt several SATA ports from RAID and configure them as IDE, but the P6X58D Premium doesn’t offer that option in the BIOS. I wish it did.

HOWEVER, although I can’t remember where I saw the statement that the Marvell 88SE9123 6GB/s controller only supported hard drives and not ATAPI drives (as I recall, it was a footnote in a manual or spec sheet somewhere), I decided to try it anyway. So I went into the BIOS, enabled the Marvell controller, set it in IDE mode and moved the DVD writer to one of the Marvell 6GB/s SATA connectors. On boot-up, the drive was recognized by the Marvell controller and Windows 7 Device Manager showed the Marvell controller as an “IDE AT/ATAPI Controller” and as a “Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller”. Too good to be true!

Subsequent writing and disc quality tests on the new ASUS DRW-24B1ST show a BIG improvement with disc quality consistently in the 95-97% disc quality range on CMC Mag. AM3 using Nero DiscSpeed 5 and testing in a BenQ 1640.

I’m going to try and attach a typical scan.


Very nice :slight_smile:

Congrats,
Michael

Thanks for all your help and suggestions. Actually, your comments caused me to dig a little deeper for a solution and I found it.

BTW, I finally found where I had gotten the idea that ATAPI devices were not supported on the Marvell 88SE9123 6 GB/s SATA controller. It was on ASUS web site under the specifications tab for my P6X58D Premium motherboard.

Quote:
"[B]Marvell® PCIe SATA 6Gb/s controller *[/B]

  • 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
  • [U]These SATA ports are for data hard drives only. ATAPI devices are not supported.[/U]"

What a bunch of crap. If they were not supported, the controller would not even see them. It certainly does work with ATAPI devices - and quite well from what I can see! Their hardware engineers and technical writers must be on separate planets.

I’ve had great success with the Marvell controller (in IDE mode) for ODD on a Z68 chipset board, too.

[QUOTE=Dee;2609245]I’ve had great success with the Marvell controller (in IDE mode) for ODD on a Z68 chipset board, too.[/QUOTE]

Dee, I appreciate the input. At least you’re confirming that ATAPI on this controller does work and that it’s not just a fluke that’s going to blow up in my face on the next boot!

At first, I was a little irked that these two 6 GB/s ports even existed on my board. Since they weren’t RAID-capable and the info on the ASUS site said that they wouldn’t support ATAPI either, I saw them as basically useless.

Now I wish I had at least two more of them!

As I said, I wish I had two more SATA ports in IDE mode, so I’m going to try an experiment. I’ve ordered a Silicon Image SiI-3114 4-port SATA150 PCI controller card. I’ll put my three internal ODDs on the card along with an eSATA ODD and disable the Marvell SATA600 controller, leaving just my two HDDs on the Intel RAID controller.

I’m not sure I know all there is to know about the SiI-3114 card, except that it’s one that’s recommended for ATAPI devices. I think that it will come configured as RAID, but should be able to be flashed with the SiI “IDE BIOS” firmware and driven with the SiI “Non-RAID” driver for Windows 7 x64. All of which should make it a plain-vanilla 4-port non-RAID SATA150 controller that supports Microsoft generic IDE operation and Intel Bus Master DMA operations.

I’ll let you know how it all works out.

The controller you mentioned should work fine though you might have to use the non raid firmware and driver to make it happy with optical drives.
I bought a Generic 3124 card that also supports SATA300 and it has worked flawlessly since I got the burners situated properly on it and I’m still using the raid drivers and firmware even. You can also get the non raid version for this card too but seeing how it decided to work as is I’ve left it alone.
There are a few large threads here telling what cards work with what and how to make it happen too that I’ve read and posted to when I first got this card and was trying to get everything going.
I have 4 burners on it and they all act like they are on the motherboards controllers and it doesn’t significantly slow down the boot time either. The 3114 should be similar.

As said before, RAID is a nogo with optical drives.

Therefore these days mobos come with 2 chipsets/controllers.

Installed the Silicon Image SiI3114 4-port SATA controller today. Works fine as a non-RAID controller with all three ODDs on it. Burning CMC MAC AM3 at a pretty consistent 97% quality scan.

I had to install it as a RAID controller with the RAID driver because that’s how the card BIOS comes configured and the card needs to be functioning in order to flash the BIOS. Then I flashed the BIOS with the Silicon Image IDE (non-RAID) BIOS firmware, re-booted and installed the Silicon Image non-RAID driver. Now it shows up in the Device Manager as just a "SiI 3114 SATAlink controller, rather than a RAID controller. It actually boots faster with three ODDs attached than the on-board Marvell 6GB/s controller did with only one ODD attached.

Now I have all ODDs on a non-RAID controller and an extra 4th non-RAID SATA port for an eSATA external ODD. The only drives on the on-board Intel RAID controller are the two hard drives in a RAID 1 configuration. I’m happy so far, with everything appearing to work fine and only $17.35 invested in the Silicon Image card.

[QUOTE=pcarey;2610528]Installed the Silicon Image SiI3114 4-port SATA controller today. Works fine as a non-RAID controller with all three ODDs on it. Burning CMC MAC AM3 at a pretty consistent 97% quality scan.

I had to install it as a RAID controller with the RAID driver because that’s how the card BIOS comes configured and the card needs to be functioning in order to flash the BIOS. Then I flashed the BIOS with the Silicon Image IDE (non-RAID) BIOS firmware, re-booted and installed the Silicon Image non-RAID driver. Now it shows up in the Device Manager as just a "SiI 3114 SATAlink controller, rather than a RAID controller. It actually boots faster with three ODDs attached than the on-board Marvell 6GB/s controller did with only one ODD attached.

Now I have all ODDs on a non-RAID controller and an extra 4th non-RAID SATA port for an eSATA external ODD. The only drives on the on-board Intel RAID controller are the two hard drives in a RAID 1 configuration. I’m happy so far, with everything appearing to work fine and only $17.35 invested in the Silicon Image card.[/QUOTE]

I have a raid conttroller Promise sx4100, the problem is now I want to plug a DVD optical drive to it 's ports. But seems it doesn’t support, and I couldn’t see DVD drive (windows OS). Could you kindly let me know some way to do this (maybe upgrade Flash ROM).
I saw you could do this with you Silicon Image card, so I assume that you can help me.
Thanks,

The answer to your question is easy and is right in the Promise SX4100 manual.

[B]“The FastTrak Controller [U]does not support ATAPI devices[/U].”[/B]

ATAPI is short for AT Attachment Packet Interface, [U]ATAPI is an extension to ATA that allows support for devices such as CD-ROM drives[/U], Tape drives, and other computer peripherals and not just hard drives. Before the release of ATA-4 or ATAPI-4, ATAPI was a different standard from ATA.

In short, your SX4100 will not work with optical drives.

The main reason I chose the Silicon Image card was because of it’s known support for ATAPI drives. The second reason was because Silicon Image has a load of drivers and BIOS files on their site for almost any configuration you can imagine.

Here’s a Silicon Image SiI 3114 card on eBay for $13.34, shipping included, on eBay and shipped from a location in the US (a lot of these will come from China, so if you don’t want to wait forever, order from a US location).

http://www.ebay.com/itm/4-Port-Serial-ATA-SATA-RAID-PCI-Card-Adapter-SIL3114-/380598098657?_trksid=p3284.m263&_trkparms=algo%3DSIC%26its%3DI%26itu%3DUCI%252BIA%252BUA%252BFICS%252BUFI%26otn%3D21%26pmod%3D170629843829%26ps%3D54

Looks like it includes a SATA cable and driver CD, although I would strongly suggest you go to Silicon Image’s web site and download the latest driver and BIOS files before you install it.

There are a few minor tricks to installing this card as a non-raid controller, so if you decide to get one, get back to us before attempting to do it.

Thank you pcarey, I think I can buy it here (Vietnam). You help me to ave lot of time.

Regards,
Anh Tuan