5 Replies Latest reply on Jul 20, 2011 8:32 PM by koitsu

    Which sata mode for intel 320 SSD ?

    vilius

      Hello,

       

      I have c204 chip mainboard and not sure which sata mode to choose for onboard SATA controller. I want to connect intel 320 SSD.

      So possible values are:

      ENHANCED / COMPATIBILITY / AHCI / SW RAID

       

      Ok so COMPATIBILITY means old style IDE mode. What's the difference between other three ? I will install windows and linux for sure. I do not plan to build any raid on this controler - but later -  who knows.

      Mainboard doc just lists these values - no detail explanation. Could someone point out resonable doc or just explain briefly ?

       

      regards

      Vilius

        • 1. Re: Which sata mode for intel 320 SSD ?
          koitsu

          AHCI = AHCI.  Use Google, read about it.  It's a standardised communication interface between storage controllers and the OS.  It does not replace the underlying protocol between devices (hard disks/SSDs) and the OS.  Drive will operate efficiently, no performance issues.

           

          Enhanced = native SATA mode (not really, but for lack of better explanation I'll stick with it).  Drive will operate efficiently, no performance issues.  You might see a slight (read: under 1%) decrease in performance with this mode, but it's neglegible.  Anyone who tells you'll suffer performance-wise using this mode is wrong.  You can still boot into MS-DOS for BIOS and firmware updates using this, and SSD firmware updates will work just fine with this mode.

           

          Compatibility = causes all SATA devices to be emulated as classic PATA devices.  SATA port 0 = IRQ 14, master device.  SATA port 1 = IRQ 14, slave device.  SATA port 2 = IRQ 15, master device.  SATA port 3 = IRQ 15, slave device.  You will suffer performance hits in this mode, as you'll be limited to either ATA33, 66, 100, or 133 as a result (depends on the system/storage controller).  Do not use this mode, plain and simple.

           

          SW RAID = RAID mode, backed by AHCI.  You do not want this, believe me.

           

          Switching modes usually requires a full OS reinstall on Windows.  Be aware.

          • 2. Re: Which sata mode for intel 320 SSD ?

            Thank you for the info!

             

            So, for my pending new build (Win7 Pro x64 SP1) as spec'd:

            ~ SSD as boot drive  (Intel 510 Elm Crest 120GB SATA III 6Gbps),

            ~ HDD as data drive  (WD Caviar Black 2TB SATA III 6Gbps),

            ~ Intel Z68 chipset,  (Asus P8Z68-V PRO mobo, 2 native SATA III + 2 Marvell controller SATA III)

            ~ Optical Drive x 2  (Blu-ray burner and DVD burner, both SATA II 3Gbps)

             

            I will connect the SSD and HDD to the Z68 native SATA III 6Gbps connections,

            Next connect the two optical drives to the Z68 native SATA II 3Gbps connections,

            I will not use Z68 chipset's Smart Response Technolgy (SSD caching HDD), just using full 120GB SSD as C-drive.

            No RAID right now, but want to keep RAID option open in case I want to go RAID-1 in future, but aviod reinstall OS.

             

            In above spec, I assume I need to pick SATA = AHCI mode, is it correct?

            Do I need to setup SATA II and SATA III modes separately?  If so do I set both to AHCI mode?

            Any tricky setting or potential issues with mixing SATA II and III devices that you are aware of?

             

            This will be my first SSD build, I'm quite psyched, I'm doing research first to avoid any problem during build.

             

            Thank you very much!

            David C.

            • 3. Re: Which sata mode for intel 320 SSD ?
              CarWiz

              You want to make sure your BIOS is setup for AHCI before installing the OS; Otherwise, Windows 7 won't load the drivers and you'll have to go through a PITA procedure later to implement it. Most motherboards have a "configuration" mode that allows you setup the BIOS prior to loading the OS. I'm assuming you'll be using the SSD for the system boot drive. Make sure the SSD is plugged into the first SATA port. Some boards call this Port 0, others call it Port 1 but be sure and verify the BIOS recognizes it. If you don't the OS may get loaded to the HDD.

               

              Good luck on your new build. You'll like the speed of the SSD--Smoking fast boots and shutdowns!

              • 4. Re: Which sata mode for intel 320 SSD ?
                DuckieHo

                RAID Mode is just a superset of AHCI.  All features avaliable in AHCI are avaliable in RAID (but obviously RAID more supports RAID).

                 

                 

                Changing modes should not require an OS reinstall.  To change from IDE to any other mode, you will encounter this issue: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976

                The solution (for Vista/W7) is to run this: http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9741862

                • 5. Re: Which sata mode for intel 320 SSD ?
                  koitsu

                  Guest wrote:

                   

                  Thank you for the info!

                   

                  So, for my pending new build (Win7 Pro x64 SP1) as spec'd:

                  ~ SSD as boot drive  (Intel 510 Elm Crest 120GB SATA III 6Gbps),

                  ~ HDD as data drive  (WD Caviar Black 2TB SATA III 6Gbps),

                  ~ Intel Z68 chipset,  (Asus P8Z68-V PRO mobo, 2 native SATA III + 2 Marvell controller SATA III)

                  ~ Optical Drive x 2  (Blu-ray burner and DVD burner, both SATA II 3Gbps)

                   

                  I will connect the SSD and HDD to the Z68 native SATA III 6Gbps connections,

                  Next connect the two optical drives to the Z68 native SATA II 3Gbps connections,

                  I will not use Z68 chipset's Smart Response Technolgy (SSD caching HDD), just using full 120GB SSD as C-drive.

                  No RAID right now, but want to keep RAID option open in case I want to go RAID-1 in future, but aviod reinstall OS.

                   

                  In above spec, I assume I need to pick SATA = AHCI mode, is it correct?

                  Do I need to setup SATA II and SATA III modes separately?  If so do I set both to AHCI mode?

                  Any tricky setting or potential issues with mixing SATA II and III devices that you are aware of?

                   

                  This will be my first SSD build, I'm quite psyched, I'm doing research first to avoid any problem during build.

                  It's extremely important you pay attention to the capabilities of your motherboard, because you've already mistaken its capabilities.  This continues to happen over and over with these boards because Asus crammed so much crap on them.  The Asus P8Z68-V Pro has 3 separate SATA controllers, with 4 different sets of ports:

                   

                  http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8Z68V_PRO/#specifications

                   

                  1) Two (2) SATA600 ports, wired to the Intel Z68 controller (ports are gray in colour)

                  2) Four (4) SATA300 ports, wired to the Intel Z68 controller (ports are blue in colour)
                  3) Two (2) SATA600 ports, wired to the Marvell (ports are navy blue in colour)

                  4) One (1) eSATA (SATA300) port, wired to a JMicron JMB362 (port is red and on the backplane)

                   

                  My recommendation: disable both the Marvell and the JMicron controllers in the BIOS before you do an OS install.  Spend some time looking around on the Internet about this board.  There are all sorts of quirk/compatibility problems with all of these controllers in operation simultaneously, and Marvell has a history of releasing broken SATA controllers.  JMicron controllers are okay, hardware-wise, but their drivers are absolutely atrocious.  Stick with using the native Intel controller and you should free yourself of any problems.

                   

                  Wiring recommendations -- please do not dismiss what I've written here, this is important:

                   

                  1) Stick the SSD on the port of the Intel Z68 SATA600 (gray port)

                  2) Stick the WD 2TB HDD on the port of the Intel Z68 SATA300 (blue port)

                  3) Stick your optical drives on the port of the Intel Z68 SATA300 (blue port)

                   

                  Here's the justification: your mechanical hard disk will, absolutely in no way shape or form, ever exceed SATA300 bandwidth.  Western Digital began putting SATA600 PHYs on their drives even though the drives can't push more than 140-150MBytes/sec (coming no where near SATA600, and still no where near SATA300).  It's a marketing ploy.

                   

                  Save the remaining Intel Z68 SATA600 port for another SSD or as a spare in case something goes wrong.

                   

                  Overall when building a PC with an SSD, treat it just like a mechanical HDD.  However, there is one major/severe difference that you need to be aware of: you need to align your partition(s) on the SSD otherwise you will suffer from a 30-50% performance hit and experience things like system or application stalls when using the SSD.  Google "SSD alignment" for details.  I recommend doing all the partition alignment stuff *before* installing the OS (using an existing, working Windows system), otherwise you get to go through a ton of rigmarole trying to deal with it "while" installing (with a system that isn't usable).  It's a pain, believe me.