11 Replies Latest reply on Jun 19, 2011 4:59 PM by Gize

    eSATA issue with DH55HC. A question for Intel.


      I have a thread I started 5/31/11 titled  "esata port not working with external hard drive on DH55HC board."  located here:http://communities.intel.com/message/126902#126902  Judging from the number of views over the last ten days or so, it is  obvious to me that no one knows the solution to this problem.  There are  a multitude of other threads on a similar issue, maybe with a different  board, and very few have possible answers or at least something to try to get the problem  resolved.  It is disheartening to see so many of us needing answers, and  no one from Intel to offer a hand, or at least a note that they don't  know but will look in to it and report back.  Makes me believe that no  one from Intel monitors this forum.  Intel needs to assign a group of  their techs and engineers to each of these sub forums to offer help.   Otherwise, why go to the trouble of having this thing up and running?


      Where I have been on this issue:

      1) The product brief for my board says this: "Two onboard SATA  ports are compatible with an eSATA dongle, allowing you to conveniently  extend the eSATA port to the back panel while keeping the flexibility  to support up to six internal SATA ports if eSATA support is not  needed.”

      2) The overview for this board says:  "Six Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s ports, with two ports compatible with eSATA dongles"    

      3) And my owners manual states:    "Serial ATA Support       The board provides six internal SATA connectors through the PCH, four  for internal  storage (black connectors) and two for internal as well as  external SATA (eSATA) storage (red connectors)." 

      4) I've  searched for esata dongles, and the only ones that show up are USB to  eSATA, not SATA to eSATA.  So I can only guess that the dongle needed is  the SATA to eSATA cord, which obviously doesn't work.  I've tried  looking in the BIOS for something that says it would change the two red  SATA ports to eSATA, but I couldn't find anything that looked like it  was for that, and I'm not computer savy enough to just go change things  and hope for the best.


      So, Intel....How do we make this thing work?  I need simple to follow step by step instructions.   I hope you will will respond.  Jim.

        • 2. Re: eSATA issue with DH55HC. A question for Intel.

          I have seen those, but thought it was just a way to have an external port.  I have that built into the front of my case, but plugging into it still doesn't allow the drive to be recognized.  Is there some type of wiring in this adaptor that is different?  What difference between it and using a SATA to eSATA cable and plugging directly from the SATA port on the board to the eSATA port on the drive?  I don't mean that you specifically have to have the answer to this.  I'm just throwing out questions.  The eSATA port on the front of my case should be the same as this add on port to the back of the case.  But it doesn't work.  There must be a "switch" to turn on in the BIOS to allow this to work.  That is what I'm hoping Intel will provide the answer to.


          Gize, I thank you very much for offering a possible solution, and a relatively cheap one at that!   You are the first to venture to help on this issue, and I appreciate it very much.  Jim.

          • 3. Re: eSATA issue with DH55HC. A question for Intel.

            There is a BIOS option to enable/disable eSATA for that motherboard.  If you're using the eSATA header for an external drive, you must also have a power connection to the drive as SATA/eSATA doesn't provide power.

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            • 4. Re: eSATA issue with DH55HC. A question for Intel.

              OK, where is this BIOS option?  The one thing I've tried, turning on the AHCI (?) keeps the computer from booting until it's turned off again.  What else am I looking for?  I looked through the BIOS updates, and didn't see anything that addresses this problem, but I could have missed it also.  My BIOS version is: TCIBX10H.86A.0037.2010.0614.1712   I searched through the listing of the BIOS versions, and this one was not in there.  Thought that was weird.  But maybe that needs to be updated.  Everything else works great, and I've read if you don't have any problems, leave the BIOS alone.  Any ideas?


              The external drive is actually a WD internal hard drive in a NexStar 3 case, so it has it's own separate power.  Guess I could pull it out and hook up direct to the board with the internal power, but that defeats the idea of being able to grab and go in an emergency, and still recover the computer information later.  Thanks again.  I can see you are really digging and trying to help.  I really really appreciate the effort!       Jim.

              • 5. Re: eSATA issue with DH55HC. A question for Intel.

                The BIOS option is under Advanced > Drive Configuration > eSATA Port


                Since BIOS 0037 isn't available, I can't see whether or not that option is present in that particular revision; it is present in 0036 and the newest (0045). I'm guessing that you don't see the eSATA option since you're in IDE mode, and it may not be available unless it's set for ACHI.  I've seen a few BIOS' pulled when there is an issue, and that may be why 0037 isn't there, but I'm merely speculating.


                There are contradictions as far as whether or not to update the BIOS.  I've seen older Intel literature saying you should update it only if it fixes an issue, while the newer literature advises you to update it to the latest where possible.  It's generally a safe procedure as long as you don't have a power outage


                If you're hot-plugging the drive it should be set for AHCI as IDE doesn't support hot-plug.


                If the non-boot is just a blinking cursor at the top left " _ " then just change the boot order so that the HDD is first.  Sometimes certain boards/BIOS revisions would hang on the blinking cursor because the optical drive was set as the first boot device when set as AHCI.


                If that's not it, then I'm guessing the non-boot is due to the fact that the O/S was loaded with the HDD set in IDE mode.  If you switch to AHCI, there is no HDD driver enabled for use with it, hence the reboots when Windows doesn't find an HDD.  You need to change a registry key while in IDE mode before you switch to AHCI as detailed here:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976#appliesto ("let me fix it myself").  I'm assuming your O/S is Vista / 7 as this is what the instructions apply to.

                • 6. Re: eSATA issue with DH55HC. A question for Intel.

                  Gize, I'll look into the link this weekend when I can get some down time.  I may try the BIOS upgrade too.  But some of what you talk about is a little above me.  I can deal with the mechanical part of building the different parts of the computer, but doing anything in the registry scares the you know what out of me.  At that point, I think I'd rather just use the USB port.   Thanks again for your continued help!! Jim.

                  • 7. Re: eSATA issue with DH55HC. A question for Intel.

                    Gize, I'm not sure the link applies to my problem.  When I  change to AHCI in the BIOS, and reboot, it trys to load windows (by the way, I have Win 7 Pro 64 bit) it gets to the point of the four colors rotating, but they freeze before joining, and I get a DOS screen that says there is a problem, try to fix, or continue to load Windows.  I've tried both options.  It does not find a fix, tries to load windows again, then turns the computer off.  If I select the option to load windows, it freezes again, then shuts off.  I'll go in and look (only) at the registry after I back up the computer again, due tomorrow anyway, I'll just do it early and see if I see what you are talking about.  Jim.

                    • 8. Re: eSATA issue with DH55HC. A question for Intel.

                      In order to use AHCI it must be enabled before the OS is installed or the registry must be changed.  You must then remember to always reset the BIOS to AHCI if the BIOS is reset to defaults or the CMOS battery is removed.  I used the simple registry change but reverted to IDE through reinstallation (no reverse change is explicitly described anywhere) as part of troubleshooting of power issues.  Those hardware issues have been resolved but I have not changed back to AHCI.

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                      • 9. Re: eSATA issue with DH55HC. A question for Intel.

                        Your computer is not booting into Windows due to the fact that the AHCI driver/service isn't enabled.  Like Curious said, the only way for it to work is to either change the registry key while in IDE mode, or reload windows in AHCI mode.


                        The registry value listed in the link enables the msahci driver so that you can then switch to AHCI.  They list two registry keys in that link, one is for AHCI (msahci), one is for Intel Matrix/RST RAID (iastorv).


                        The steps to get AHCI working would be such:


                        1.  Enable IDE mode in the BIOS.

                        2.  Boot Windows.

                        3.  Start > Run > Regedit  (if you are worried about your registry settings, you can back them up before you proceed.  File > export...)

                        4.  Alter the msahci value listed in the "Let me fix it myself" section of this link:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976  (iastorv shouldn't need to be changed since it's for Intel Matrix/RST RAID only).

                        5.  Enable AHCI mode in the BIOS.

                        6.  Boot Windows.

                        7.  Let it detect the drive(s), and Windows will probably ask you to reboot.

                        8.  Install the latest Intel RST package:  http://downloadcenter.intel.com/confirm.aspx?httpDown=http://downloadmirror.intel.com/20023/eng/STOR_Vista_Win7_10.5.0.1027_PV.exe&lang=eng&Dwnldid=20023&DownloadType=Drivers&OSFullname=%0A  (I know that it says RAID, but it's for both AHCI and RAID).

                        • 10. Re: eSATA issue with DH55HC. A question for Intel.

                          OK, that did it!  Thank you, thank you both!!!!  I actually tried the "Let us fix it" first, but that didn't do anything.  Went to a previous restore point and did it per your instructions, and it worked fine, at least when I plug into the front case eSATA outlet.  The SATA to eSATA cord I have plugged to the  MB and out a water cooler line port in the back still doesn't work, but that might just be a bad cord.  It was cheap.  I even tried switching the front panel cord around with it to see if it was a port on the MB, or the order of the port that was making the difference, and it didn't.

                          I ran a backup again to verify it was really working, and it did.  Thanks again for sticking with me and giving me the step by step instructions!  Jim.

                          • 11. Re: eSATA issue with DH55HC. A question for Intel.

                            You're welcome, glad I could help.