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Thread: Understanding Sata IDE Combined Mode

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    Default Understanding Sata IDE Combined Mode

    Hey, guys. I've come off a long string of troubleshooting things and finally got some stuff figured out. My refurb drives came in and I got everything working smoothly again. It wasn't like that at first and long story short, the culprit was a tiny BIOS setting called SATA IDE Combined Mode. Leaving this disabled was causing some weird problems with my computer locking up whenever I plugged a USB device in. Why? Here's all the manual had to say about it...

    "This item is for SATA3_5 and SATA3_6 ports. Use this item to enable ordisable SATA IDE Combined Mode. The default value is [Enabled]." Also...
    "If you want to build RAID on SATA3_5 and SATA3_6 ports,please disable this item."

    I only use ports 1-3 on my set up. At face value, it would seem that the setting wouldn't matter UNLESS you build the aforementioned raid. Not true however. Here's my theory: Apparently, the BIOS, when set to disabled, somehow let's Windows know to treat every storage device plugged in as a possible boot device. Windows, as many of you know, doesn't do well when a boot device is plugged in after the OS starts. This problem is particularly bad with smart phones because Windows has NO idea how to boot from that device and promptly freezes. Also, this only seems to be a big problem when using SSDs. When I checked this out with normal HDDs, everything worked fine and I didn't even bother checking this setting. It's when you have SSDs mixed with more traditional SATA devices however, that cause the BIOS and Windows to flip out with errors. Setting up a RAID could exasperate the issue further. In my case, it was my DVD drive combined with my SSD raid that would crash windows upon plugging in a USB storage device unless Combined Mode was enabled.

    Why am I bringing this up? I also think this is what eventually led to my original SSDs corrupting to a point of no return. Yeah, I had the USB device issue initially with the new drives, but my old ones had far worse issues such as trouble starting up and being unable to keep the OS running for extended periods of time. This could be any number of issues from the way Asrock handles storage devices in the BIOS compared to other boards, to the way OCZ controllers handle data that isn't being fed correctly. Either way, if you have a mix of SSDs and IDE type devices (HDDs or CD/DVD Drives), make sure you keep SATA IDE Combined Mode enabled.

    One MORE thing! Some of you guys with more extensive hardware knowledge let me know if my theory is close or not. Google just wasn't giving me solid answers on this one.

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    Default Re: Understanding Sata IDE Combined Mode

    "IDE controller has only one PATA channel which supports 2 ATA/ATAPI devices.
    While in SATA Combine Mode, two SATA ports (port 4 and port5) are combined into one IDE channel (could be either Primary or Secondary channel) to IDE (PATA) controller. Therefore, IDE controller will have 2 channels (one PATA and one SATA) in SATA Combine Mode."



    I am having problems putting this into an explanation that makes any freaking sense. lol
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    Default Re: Understanding Sata IDE Combined Mode

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberburnout View Post
    "IDE controller has only one PATA channel which supports 2 ATA/ATAPI devices.
    While in SATA Combine Mode, two SATA ports (port 4 and port5) are combined into one IDE channel (could be either Primary or Secondary channel) to IDE (PATA) controller. Therefore, IDE controller will have 2 channels (one PATA and one SATA) in SATA Combine Mode."



    I am having problems putting this into an explanation that makes any freaking sense. lol
    Actually, that makes sense, more sense than the explanations I was finding. I still don't know why that would effect my raid set up the way it does. If I plug my phone in, my computer freezes instantly unless that's enabled. Course, I have my 2 drives in 1 and 2, with my CD drive in 3. Still, scratchin my head at that one.

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    Default Re: Understanding Sata IDE Combined Mode

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberburnout View Post
    "IDE controller has only one PATA channel which supports 2 ATA/ATAPI devices.
    While in SATA Combine Mode, two SATA ports (port 4 and port5) are combined into one IDE channel (could be either Primary or Secondary channel) to IDE (PATA) controller. Therefore, IDE controller will have 2 channels (one PATA and one SATA) in SATA Combine Mode

    I am having problems putting this into an explanation that makes any freaking sense. lol
    The more I read the less I understand, I could not find any sense in this.

    Always look beyond the limits...

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    Default Re: Understanding Sata IDE Combined Mode

    seems pretty easy to grasp?
    learning is good .....understanding is better .....pleas teach with wisdom............................................ ..............calemus

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    Default Re: Understanding Sata IDE Combined Mode

    Quote Originally Posted by Smiki007 View Post
    The more I read the less I understand, I could not find any sense in this.
    Maybe this will help


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    Default Re: Understanding Sata IDE Combined Mode

    Based on the info that Sandy posted, I kind of understand what they are doing (the why escapes me, but I understand what). But, I can't grasp why the Phone would cause your system to freeze. The only thing I can think of is that Windows sees this setting in the BIOS, and trys to detect the Phone incorrectly, resulting in a freeze while it waits for a timeout to occur. But that's grasping at straws.

    I've actually never heard of this BIOS setting prior to your posting of it.

    S.

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    Default Re: Understanding Sata IDE Combined Mode

    Quote Originally Posted by vinman View Post
    Maybe this will help


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    Default Re: Understanding Sata IDE Combined Mode

    Quote Originally Posted by joshjaks View Post
    Actually, that makes sense, more sense than the explanations I was finding. I still don't know why that would effect my raid set up the way it does. If I plug my phone in, my computer freezes instantly unless that's enabled. Course, I have my 2 drives in 1 and 2, with my CD drive in 3. Still, scratchin my head at that one.


    Disconnect your Cd drive. Turn the setting off. Plug phone up or any other storage device up and it should be fine.

    The CD drive may use a sata connecter but the actual controller acts like a PATA drive. PATA channels supports 2 devices (master and slave) in this case SATA 5 and 6 are used to emulate the 2 channels. If it is connected but setting is off Windows still tried to account for the 2nd Pata device but does so incorrectly. I would guess the crashing comes from Windows trying to assign IRQs and Drive Letters to USB connected Storage devices.

    As far as I know this is only on AMD chipset based systems. It was created during the transition from IDE to SATA. It was a way for XP to handle legacy devices that used the newer interface.
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    Default Re: Understanding Sata IDE Combined Mode

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberburnout View Post
    Disconnect your Cd drive. Turn the setting off. Plug phone up or any other storage device up and it should be fine.

    The CD drive may use a sata connecter but the actual controller acts like a PATA drive. PATA channels supports 2 devices (master and slave) in this case SATA 5 and 6 are used to emulate the 2 channels. If it is connected but setting is off Windows still tried to account for the 2nd Pata device but does so incorrectly. I would guess the crashing comes from Windows trying to assign IRQs and Drive Letters to USB connected Storage devices.

    As far as I know this is only on AMD chipset based systems. It was created during the transition from IDE to SATA. It was a way for XP to handle legacy devices that used the newer interface.
    That makes more sense. I guess that means that even though USB and SATA are separated on the outside, they share similar channels in the BIOS side of things making it hard for Windows to differentiate if that setting isn't there. Good to know that finding out all this stuff is just a token gesture since it will all be obsolete very soon!

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    Default Re: Understanding Sata IDE Combined Mode

    Quote Originally Posted by Smiki007 View Post
    The more I read the less I understand, I could not find any sense in this.
    The closer you look the less you see. LOL

    "A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns."

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    Default Re: Understanding Sata IDE Combined Mode

    Quote Originally Posted by alan1476 View Post
    The closer you look the less you see. LOL
    The harder you sniff the less you smell?

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    Default Re: Understanding Sata IDE Combined Mode

    Quote Originally Posted by vinman View Post
    Maybe this will help

    Wait, who's the tank? :P
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