Question Unable to use SATA0/1 on Intel Z77 based board

Pluto

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Jan 15, 2000
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I'm having a weird issue with my older Intel Z77 based MSI Z77A-G43 motherboard. For the past 3 years I've been using it as a file server with SnapRAID + StableBit DrivePool and I had the OS on a RAID 1 mirror SSD plugged into SATA 0/1 which are the 6gbps SATA ports (utilizing the onboard Intel RAID). My data drives (WD Red) were plugged into the 3gpbs SATA ports 2-6. Everything was hunky dory and performance was sufficient for my needs.

I recently decided I wanted to add more data drives I had kicking around, so what I did was install a PCIe M2 adapter card and an NVMe WD Blue SSD. I installed the OS on this and am using the Clover Bootloader to get it to boot since the BIOS doesn't support booting off NVMe devices. This is working fine.

The issue came when I hooked up the "new" data drives to SATA 0/1. I switched the SATA mode in BIOS from RAID to AHCI before I installed the OS on the new SSD. I started getting all these strange timeouts and errors, but just on the drives connected to the SATA 0/1 ports. At first I thought it was the drives although I was suspicious that I would have two defective drives at the same time. I did some more troubleshooting, including taking those drives out and testing them in another system (they are fine) and installing a known good working drive and had the same issues.

Just wondering why I would be having these issues when I was using these ports for years with the boot drive in RAID mode without any issue. The only thing I haven't tried is switching the SATA mode in BIOS back to RAID to see if that helps but I can't see why it would.

Any ideas?
 

Tech Junky

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Jan 27, 2022
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Ok....

I recently decided I wanted to add more data drives I had kicking around, so what I did was install a PCIe M2 adapter card and an NVMe WD Blue SSD.
Adding NVME drives typically disables 2 SATA ports per drive you install. The fact that you have 2 x 6gbps SATA ports and the others are only 3gbps ports would indicate the NVME is stealing the ports for the bandwidth needed for the drive to run.

I hooked up the "new" data drives to SATA 0/1. I switched the SATA mode in BIOS from RAID to AHCI before I installed the OS on the new SSD.
This is the intel RST mode vs AHCI... If you flip it post install of Windows you're screwed unless you fix the boot / UEFI.

Since the drives are marked as Raid they won't be readable outside of using raid. Now, if you can read them on the other system that brings into question if you have RST enabled already or if it's simply because you have the lanes needed to read the drives + NVME or no NVME installed on the other system.

Ultimately though if you use Linux you can figure out a way to make it work as long as the ports aren't actually disabled. If the NVME is in a PCIE adapter it shouldn't be disabling the SATA ports or causing issues if you put it back to RST mode things should be back to normal.
 

Pluto

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Jan 15, 2000
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Since the drives are marked as Raid they won't be readable outside of using raid.

I don't have any drives marked as RAID, the data drives were always JBOD / non-RAID drives and the two SATA SSDs that were in the RAID 1 were unassigned from the RAID and removed from the system prior to flipping the setting to AHCI. Like I said there should be no reason I would need to flip it back to RST/RAID mode.

If the NVME is in a PCIE adapter it shouldn't be disabling the SATA ports or causing issues

I wouldn't have thought so however your earlier comment about it disabling the ports or sharing the bandwidth might be onto something. I have never heard of this limitation before.

Is that the case for newer motherboards / chipsets which have native M2/NVME support also? I was looking at a Gigabyte B560M DS3H V2 which has dual M2 slots as well as 6 SATA ports.

Linux is out of the question, been down that road before had nothing but issues.
 

Tech Junky

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Jan 27, 2022
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It's the case on newer boards too for the most part. Usually it's when you do 2+ but I could see it being a single drive on an older board. Check the manual for clues though it might not be explicit with that older board there should be mention regarding the SATA ports.
 

Billy Tallis

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Aug 4, 2015
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Linux is out of the question, been down that road before had nothing but issues.

Even if Linux is not suitable for your day to day needs, you should consider booting to a Linux Live USB to help diagnose what's going on with your system. Windows is notorious for hiding useful information from the user and outright lying about the state of the system, especially in storage-related matters. Linux will make it quite obvious which hardware is visible to the OS, what the actual data layout is on any drive it can see, and whether there are any SATA ports or PCIe slots where a drive is detected but cannot be successfully initialized for normal access.
 
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Pluto

Senior member
Jan 15, 2000
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It's the case on newer boards too for the most part. Usually it's when you do 2+ but I could see it being a single drive on an older board. Check the manual for clues though it might not be explicit with that older board there should be mention regarding the SATA ports.

I haven't looked at the manual for the old board yet, but I doubt it will address use of M2 slots / adapters since I don't think these even existed when it was made back in 2013/2014

I did find the following blurb in the manual for the new board I'm looking at, seems the limiation only exists when using the secondary M2 socket like you said, but also only if you are using a SATA M2 SSD. Mine is a NVMe M2 SSD so I should be fine even if I need to add a second M2 SSD in the future as long as it's NVMe (aka PCIe)


sata.png
 

Tech Junky

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Jan 27, 2022
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For instance my board has 3x M2 sockets on it but, all 3 can be used for NVME w/o losing a port for a spinner unless socket 2 is a SATA M2.

1666364130145.png

Then again since it has 8 SATA ports the lose of a single port wouldn't make a difference with my 3 spinners connected directly. If in doubt then using an HBA off a PCIE slot for the spinners would be my recommendation. It's fairly cheap depending on how many ports you need. If you're not running a GPU in the x16 slot then you can also have access to the CPU PCIE lanes vs going through the DMI which would be a perk if using SSD's instead of spinners.

The devil is in the details when it comes to picking the right board.