Then how, through Win7, do I get to the H55's eSATA capabilities that are described in http://www.intel.com/Products/Desktop/Chipsets/H55/H55-overview.htm and diagrammed in http://www.intel.com/Assets/PDF/prodbrief/323192.pdf
Serial ATA (SATA) 3 Gb/s High-speed storage interface supports faster transfer rate for improved data access with up to 6 SATA ports. eSATA SATA interface designed for use with external SATA devices. It provides a link for 3 Gb/s data speeds to eliminate bottlenecks found with current external storage solutions.
It is saying that the interface to the 6 SATA ports is designed for use with external SATA devices! ...unless, using internal Intel technospeak, the overview is trying to mislead even fairly technically savvy end-purchasers.
OK then, I have external eSATA devices, but how do I get them to be hot pluggable?
I use this disk drive bay:
This hot plugs fine on my other Intel mainboard, the DG33TL.
So I understand the H55 doesn't do RAID stuff which is fine with me. But if Intel's RAID driver is the only way to get hot plugging and it doesnt work on the H55 then I'm really hosed because eSATA without hot plugging is almost useless.
So anyone know to get eSATA hot plugging working on the H55 (in my case the DH55TC mainboard)?
I found something that might be of help, somewhat… Regarding ‘safe removal’ of eSATA external / portable drives.
If, using at least Win7x64, you go into Administrative Tools / Computer Management (run diskmgmt.msc or via control panel) / Storage / Disk Management and your ‘hot-plug’ drives have been connected & powered-up…
Viewing the Graphical View of your connected disks you should see your eSATA drive as Disk <#>. Right click on the correct external ‘hot-plug’ Disk <#> and Convert (caution-one way as far as I can determine) to Dynamic Disk. Follow this one-way street... and the disk representation will change color to represent a Dynamic disk rather than a Basic disk. Right clicking again on the disk then allows you to toggle it offline / online – I’m assuming flushing any cached buffers (you can also right-click to select/change the disk’s Properties/Policies the drive/enclosure manufacturer accommodates) in the process so you can hot-plug in/out as needed. It seems Windows closes any files you might have open when you take a drive offline – I would like to hear if anyone has any additional insight on this because it is not as clean as the well-known ‘safe removal’ of USB thumb drives. Of course – power up/down appropriately too, but I find you don’t have to shutdown. I then made a start-menu item for diskmgmt.msc to make it more accessible.
I’m finding only some SATA port controllers allow you to configure (via disk properties / policies) for the system tray icon that allows you to “Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media”. ASUS’s implementation in their P7H55D-M EVO motherboard and recommended software/drivers under AHCI, allows for the ‘safe removal’ system tray icon with the external eSATA Marvell-based port, but not their internal Intel H55-based ports. Int** was not very cooperative in their response to me, IMHO. Asus wasn’t much either.
Anyone have an easier way to have your drives run fast and allow for safe removal by warning of open files and flushing cache?
bmellen, thank you for your contribution.
I believe you do not mention what happens if an external eSATA drive is connected after booting. You see, I already see all my SATA and eSATA drives in the "remove safely" thingy. I can remove a drive there, but I can not detect the same drive again or another drive during runtime. Removing is not the issue, detecting is.
I grudgingly purchased an H57 based mainboard.Ironically, it's an Intel DH57DD. In my experience, Intel have an edge in that stuff works and driver support is good.
But I was totally mislead by the DH55TC's specification. Never would it have occurreed to me that the two eSATA plugs are apparently not hot pluggable. I associated the Matrix driver stuff with RAID, not with the simple ability to hotplug. To bundle RAID with hotplug seems very arbitrary.
Have I missed anything?
Is maybe Intel product management reading?
I'm no expert, but I've been around since PC's began. I have only been trying to connect eSATA drives after booting, wanting to treat them like fast/big USB thumb drives. I seem to remember they became routinely recognized (hot-plug in) after I got my system converted to boot under AHCI instead of IDE. The conversion involved a registry change and a couple reboots - as I sat on pins and needles hoping my system would come out alive. Under AHCI I think I have always been able to plug/unplug without causing hangs or other problems with things running under Win7x64. My remaining concern has been of making sure files are properly closed and write buffers flushed before removing the plug/powering down. I'm hoping, but looking for confirmation somewhere, that either Disabling/Uninstalling a disk under device manager, or taking a Dynamic disk offline, flushes cashed write buffers, but I would also like a method that would tell of still open files while preventing new files from opening - before saying it is OK to remove the drive - kind of like the "Safely Remove..." that many are familiar with. I'm not seeing "safely Remove" on my H55 SATA ports and cannot configure them to do that under disk property policies.
I also just ran across a system tray application called HotSwap! v220.127.116.11 that seems to do what I need and almost what I would like to see. It makes sure files are closed, flushes cache, and dismounts. Google to find the web site.
It seems to work fine with both my Asus motherboard's external eSATA port and internal Intel H55 based SATA ports connected to my case's front eSATA connector and my various external eSATA drives...
Here is some computer madness for you to enjoy.
1) I booted my new DH57DD mainboard from the same drive that I used with the DH55TC. Installed Rapid Storage Technology. Hotplugging eSATA drives worked,
2) However, the performance of my DH57DD is very bad and I think it is defective. I'll bring it back for an exchange soon. Windows 7 boot from after POST takes several minutes whereas with the DH55TC, it takes less than 15 seconds. This is with the Intel 160 GB SSD.
3) My DH55TC's idle power consumption is about 25 W with 16 GB of DRAM and three Intel 160 GB SSDs. This is excellent. The idle power consumption with my possibly defective D57DD was about 42 W in the same configuration.
4) I put back to service my DH55TC with the same drive and Windows install. It runs as fast as before. The Intel Rapid Storage Technology tray icon that I installed before has not disappeared. eSATA hotplugging works with my DH55TC. The disk that I hotplugged seemed to work fine with 60MB/s or so Windows copy throughput. Obviously this is funky because there may be side effects and who wants to use a presumably broken DH57DD to enable the feature on the DH55TC? :-)