4 Replies Latest reply on Jan 13, 2018 7:27 PM by paramountain

    Possible to boot off a PCIe SATA controller on DH67?

    paramountain

      I'm sure the answer is no, but has anyone here successfully used an add-on SATA card, e.g. SYBA SD-PEX40099, to serve as a boot controller?

        • 1. Re: Possible to boot off a PCIe SATA controller on DH67?
          N.Scott.Pearson

          If you have a PCIe SATA Controller card and it includes a Boot ROM, you should be able to boot off of any drives (or RAID Array, if supported) connected to it. Now, a secondary question to ask might be whether this Boot ROM provides support for Legacy boot, UEFI boot or (hopefully) both.

           

          I do not believe that you will be able to boot from this SYBA card. From the pictures, it looks like the site for the Boot ROM (flash component) is unpopulated.

           

          I have a card (see here: Amazon.com: SEDNA PCIe 2.0 SATA III (6G) SSD Adapter)  that I am currently using to replace the SATA II ports on an DX58SO board with SATA III ports. I boot from a 2.5" SSD attached to this board and use the second SATA port for data HDD. While this card is currently in use in the DX58SO system, I have also successfully tested it using DZ68ZV and DH77DF boards. In all cases, however, I have only tested Legacy boot; I have never tried using UEFI boot.

           

          I have a second card (see here: Amazon.com: StarTech 4 Port PCIe 2.0 SATA III RAID Controller Card) that I use in my File Server (DH77DF board) to support two 4TB RAID1 arrays and I have similarly verified the ability to boot from this card (again, only Legacy boot, however).

           

          Hope this helps,

          ...S

          • 2. Re: Possible to boot off a PCIe SATA controller on DH67?
            paramountain

            Would you mind pointing out where the boot ROM is on the StarTech card? I'd like to know what it looks like. The Marvell product overview has a diagram of a flash ROM, and the StarTech has a square black chip on the back side, so maybe that's it.

            https://www.marvell.com/storage/system-solutions/assets/Marvell-88SE92xx-002-product-brief.pdf

             

            I wish Marvell's product overview included a little more information. The Syba controller does allow for hardware RAID or encryption, but that's not important for me. The website states that both Syba and StarTech chipsets offer "External flash containing configuration data and/or boot code," so perhaps both can be used for booting. I sent an email to Syba asking for clarification.

             

            Syba's website has more photos on its website, with one showing a slightly smaller square black chip. Could that be its ROM?

            4 Port SATA III PCI-E 2.0 x1

             

            I could live without UEFI boot, as I'm trying to replace the SATA controller on a DH67 board.

             

            The Sedna card is interesting because it allows for an SSD to be mounted. I must admit, I've never bought Sedna because I thought it was a Chinese company, but now I see that it's actually in Hong Kong. Its website is disappointing because the download links on its support page do not work at all.

             

            The StarTech card is nice, especially for the large heatsink, the same size as the one on the Syba card.

             

            Thanks for the answers.

            • 3. Re: Possible to boot off a PCIe SATA controller on DH67?
              N.Scott.Pearson

              If they are using a standard flash component, it will be a 8-pin (2x4) SOP part. On the front of the SYBA board, I saw such a (empty) pad. It is not typical - but certainly possible - for them to have components on the opposite side of the board.

               

              Now that I see the part on the opposite side, it *is* a (SPI-based) Serial Flash component, so yes, it could be Boot ROM.

               

              The pictures for the StarTech card don't show Boot ROM. Of course, the same 5 pictures are on the Amazon and StarTech sites, so no help there. Unfortunately, I cannot open my File Server right now to check the board itself.

               

              I chose this card, BTW, because the micro-tower chassis I am using didn't have room for anything taller and needed ports off back, not top. This card barely fits. In fact, I had to remove the bracket completely to make it fit (their low-profile bracket was not low enough). The SYBA card is taller and would not have fit in the chassis I am using.

               

              ...S

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              • 4. Re: Possible to boot off a PCIe SATA controller on DH67?
                paramountain

                I thought I'd give a final update on the subject for future readers. I bought the Syba card that I originally asked about mainly because it was cheaper than the cards Scott mentioned. The problem I was trying to solve was an error-prone SATA controller on the DH67 board, with both of the blue SATA III ports displaying errors. These errors are easiest to see in Linux, as they appear during updates when using SSDs. I had stopped using the blue ports and started using the black SATA II ones, with the WEI rating for Windows 7 dropping from 7.9 to 7.8, which still isn't bad.

                 

                I used the Syba card to connect the data HDD and DVD/CD, but still used the board black port for the SSD system drive. Everything worked fine. But then I changed the SSD system drive to the Syba card which is rated as SATA III. Everything ran a little slower. I was surprised to see the WEI rating drop to 7.2, but then I realized that the SATA III speed is being throttled somewhat by the PCIe 2.0 x1 channel. That said, the discrepancy with the WEI scores does not make sense. Either the Syba card offers less than SATA III speed, the card's PCIe interface is less than 5.0Gbps, the board's PCIe slot speed is less than 5.0Gbps, or the board's SATA controller offers close to SATA III speeds via the black ports.

                 

                So the Syba card works okay to boot, but with a significant performance drop. I'll use it for everything except the system SSD. Maybe the lessened load on the board chipset will slow its decline. If the board's SATA controller completely dies, I'll have a plan-B.

                 

                As always, Scott was most helpful.