We use lots of PC based machines (in the order of hundreds) with 2 IDE drives in removal trays on the primary IDE channel. Either of these 2 drives are swapped out occasionally. Both the master and slave drives are bootable, but we've noticed that the Intel motherboards (D865PERL and D865GBF) actually boots the slave drive instead of the master drive by default. Other motherboards always boots the master drive by default which would be expected behaviour.
Looking a the Intel BIOS it seems like the master and slave drives are detected correctly under the Advanced -> Drive Configuration page. But on the Boot -> Hard Disk Drives screen the 1st Drive is auto detected as the slave drive. This is the drive that is then used in the Boot Device Priority setup and will be the drive that boots.
Obviously we can change the 1st drive under Hard Disk Drives in the BIOS, but this setting get re-generated whenever the drives are changed and it is really inconvenient to have users go into the BIOS every time they change a drive. This seems to be a BIOS bug. We've tried several BIOS versions up to the latest BIOS for both motherboards, but the problem persists. Has anybody seen this or know of a work around? Can somebody from Intel comment on this?
Since I haven't received any reply yet, I will clarify the problem a bit more.
I've basically taken the removal trays out of the equation and connected 2 IDE hard drives on the primary channel with approriate master and slave jumpers. For some reason the BIOS decides to boot the slave drive by default. I would have expected that the master drive should be booted. Does anybody have any suggestions as to why this would be happening?