Software SATA Port Replication -- HELP!

Discussion in 'General Software Discussion' started by TomandJonna, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. TomandJonna

    TomandJonna New Member

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    Hi all...

    You all are some of the smartest I know, so I figure if you all don't know it probably doesn't exist.

    Here's what I've got....

    I'm working with the Asus P6X58D-E and Win 7 Ultimate. I looked at Device Mgr and viewed connections by type. I saw 5 Marvell 91xx series SATA 6G controllers all at different addresses (only have 2 such ports though) and 5 Intel(R) ICH10R SATA AHCI controllers plus the ICH10 Family SMBus controller all at different addresses (have 6 SATA 3G ports).

    I've got the Thermaltake BlacX Duet which will control 2x SATA 3G drives via a single SATA port (or USB, which I don't want to use). Using the SATA port requires the Motherboard SATA port I choose to use to have the ability to replicate itself. As I only see the first drive, replication is either not working or is not available (I don't know which).

    I'm looking for a way to make my motherboard SATA ports replicate themselves, whether via BIOS, pre-boot utlity, or post-boot utility so I can use the Duets. I've looked everywhere and can't find anything that will help.

    Do any of you know of a way to force my SATA ports to handle 2 drives each rather than just a single drive?

    Humbly, thankfully, and sincerely...Tom
     
  2. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    i've the premimum board.. and i did a few minutes worth of googling with no clear answer or results worth mentioning...

    The only reason port replication would be required would be if your short on sata ports to begin with.... so you have a total of 8 possible drives to attach...... but you need 9?

    I can't find anything that shows the marvel controller or the intel controller providing this kind of functionality.....

    Sorry i can't really give you an answer....
     
  3. [hobo]eclipse

    [hobo]eclipse ...just bummin 'round

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    I was curious about this. I have the single drive version of the blackX and had read about this function when looking the 2 over per-purchase. Seems port multiplier is stated as available on Intel ICH south bridges, but does not work in windows after the P35 series of Mobo. Something about software compatibility the the newer Rapid Storage Technology drivers. Port Multiplier seems to be working on newer chipsets under linux, tho that won't be much help to the majority of users. Some decent discussion here about it, and the Sil cards recommended to use as controller cards for port multiplication in Windows.
     
  4. TomandJonna

    TomandJonna New Member

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    Thanks for spending the time...

    Actually what I need is for my SATA ports to each control 2 drives because I'm using a dual SATA HDD docking station that controls both drives through a single SATA connection. So, which ever SATA port on my MB I hook the docking station up to must be able to handle both drives in the docking station.

    Does that make more sense? Any ideas with the clarification?

    humbly and sincerely...Tom
     
  5. TomandJonna

    TomandJonna New Member

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    Thanks for the time and reply...

    I've looked at the PCIe cards that provide extra SATA ports, but I've not found anything that says those ports have a replication function...do they? Can I hook up the Duet to one of the SATA ports on one of those cards and have it read both drives in the docking station? And thanks for the link...I'll read through the posts...

    most humbly, thankfully, and sincerely...Tom
     
  6. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    Oh i completely understand what your doing now...

    I recently setup a machine with 2 sata drives that would dock, and i saw one of the options as a dual docking station that allowed 2 SATA 2.5 inch drives to be shoved into a single 5 1/2" drive bay, which i thought would be perfect. But i recalled seeing the single sata port. I only quickly googled it and found some complaints about the product in question. I ended up with 2 separate drive bays able to accomiate the 2.5 and 3.5 drives.

    I haven't had time to do any more searching on it yet though, and i did fire off an email to one of my supplier guru's whom replied quickly that onboard SATA controllers were a no no for it. He recommended some add in Raid cards for that purpose, but also mentioned that it needed to be specific. I didn't ask him to search to much further into it, but you may have to email the manufacturers of any add in cards you may be interested in and ask if they know for a fact that the docking system you got will work and allow port duplication.

    Only thing i can suggest at the moment.
     
  7. TomandJonna

    TomandJonna New Member

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    Thanks again for the new response...

    I've found the same after reading some more posts. Seems I need a raid controller with an SIL3124 chipset, then I'm pretty sure I'll need to flash the BIOS with non-raid BIOS from chipset manufacturer. The SIL3124 supports port replication and it appears that folks are able to see drives in docking arrays using cards with this chipset.

    My only other option is to do some wiring of my own and add a second eSATA port to the Duet by tapping into the 7 data leads as they hit the small controller board in the Duet. I can then simply plug a single drive into a single SATA port on the MB and be able to swap out that way. This sounds good on paper as the Duet's controller board will still control the power to both drives, but as the Duet controller will be completely bypassed on the data side of things, I'm not sure how that will play out with the MB and OS recognizing things, nor am I sure whether or not bypassing the Duet's controller board for data only is safe for the drives.

    I need 3 boards (for 3 computers) as I have 3 Duets and plan on using the drives with all 3 computers for audio/visual work. Their older computers, but they do already have SATA capablities. The SIL3124 driven SATA controllers will cost around $130, if I buy real soon...more if not soon.

    Thoughts?
     
  8. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    sounds like a relatively easy said ... much tougher done solution...

    Personally i think you'd be further ahead to try and eliminate the controller board in the duet and see if you can string a twin sata power cable and 2 sata cables inside the duet after your remove the duets controller.. and then plug them in independently to the motherboard... that way there is no 3rd party sata controller, no difficulties in the future, both drives are getting their own dedicated power from the power supply and independant sata data cables allowing both drives to operate at their full speeds without having to share a connection...

    That's what i would try to do.... but that's just me perhaps.
     
  9. TomandJonna

    TomandJonna New Member

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    That is a thought to be sure. Have you had trouble hot swapping sata drives connected directly to your MB? I've had some problems there. I'm not sure if the problems are with the power, the data, or a combination of the two connections, but the MB, at least for me, doesn't seem hot-swap friendly, and the whole reason I got the Duets was to control how much spin time they get and to be able to hot swap them.

    The controller card seems to be there to send the data over one of 2 paths...sata or USB 2.0. It also controls power to the drives too. Just not sure on this one.

    I guess I can always return the cards if they don't work as they are supposed to replicate, so risk seems low there. If the cards don't work, then I'll be back to square 1 and may have to remove the Duet controller board, or at least sever the data connections of both drives from the board so it can still control the power...I don't know...a project either way, but the cards seem to be the least amount of risk at this point as I can return them if they don't work.

    Thanks for all the ideas...I'll be checking back for more brainstorms...

    humbly, thankfully, and sincerely...Tom
     
  10. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    Personally if the bios has the option for it.. enable hot swapping. Otherwise make sure you have ACHI or RAID mode enabled and that you have the Rapid Storage Controller drivers.. otherwise things go south quick if you try to hot swap/unplug/plug back in any of the sata connected devices.

    By default even more modern bioses set the controllers to IDE mode.. this is a no no ....

    On my Asus motherboard, I've hot swapped with absolutely no issue provided i don't try and hot swap the drive that windows is running on and provided i don't hot swap while a file/program is accessing files on the other drive... For example, if i move my documents/downloads/music/videos and such to another drive so that windows automatically tries to access it for anything.... than yeah, that drive that is used as often or frequently accessed like the main windows partition/drive..... generally not a great idea to uplug that one....

    I don't entirely know how those controller boards in those docks work either.... I just figured if you carefully remove them without trying to eliminate them, it'd be safer for your mainboard/raid add-in controller as well as your hardrive... because i would suspect that the docks own controller would try and determine when to put a drive into sleep state and how to power them up... which like i said personally i would try to eliminate completely just out of my own preferrence.

    I'm the type of person that HATE USB Port replicators/Hubs..... simply because I've seen many go "bad" resulting in lost requipment and blown the USB controllers built on motherboards and in laptops... it happens...
     
  11. TomandJonna

    TomandJonna New Member

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    I'm going to check on the hot swapping setting, but I know I have ACHI set...I don't know anything about Rapid Storage Controller drivers though...where do I get those guys?

    I'm good here too...

    I'm with you on this one too...I only swap out data discs, and only as you stated...


    Makes sense...I'll see how the cards react. Getting the hardware to manually modify the Duets is easy, and by God's grace I'm pretty handy at that stuff, so if the cards have issues, I'll most likely opt for the plan you laid out in the previous post.

    On the sleep mode issue...I'm a bit clueless on that one as I can't find anywhere that shows how to ensure certain drives get put to sleep. If I could figure that one out, I'd really just need a USB KVM type solution to allow swapping between computers. Network-centric solutions mean the drives spin all the time, so that is out unless I buy a real expensive box.

    But, can I actually set Win 7 or my BIOS to put certain drives to sleep? If so, share the secret as I've not been able to find it. Or if you know of a utility that will accomplish the task at the software level vice the hardware level I'd love to know about it. This would really make things much much easier for me.

    I've never seen this happen...what causes it? I don't know what I'd do with out USB hubs as I have a number of USB devices that I really can't do with out. I've been blessed in this area I guess, but I'd sure be interested in what makes such things blow up so I can avoid doing them.

    As always...thanks for your time and knowledge...both are quite valuable...

    Humbly, thankfully, and sincerely...Tom
     
  12. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    Looks like the latest just came out 4 days ago..

    Support for the Intel Rapid Storage Technology

    Windows 7 or xp/vista's power options has the ability to set unused hardrives to sleep after whatever time period you wish.. typically this is 20 minutes on most machines...

    That's the only one i'm aware of.


    People.... people happen..... i don't know what people do.. but they have a habit of doing something that can cause things to go poof.... I just see most of the hubs are usually the cheaper ones.... but occasionally there are a few that are better quality..
     
  13. TomandJonna

    TomandJonna New Member

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    Tks! I'll read up on this and how to install/utilize it.



    Me too...doesn't reliably keep the drives off though, which is the problem. More spinning means less lifespan...


    That I can understand...I've made some pretty weird things happen myself to be sure, and I'm sure I'm not done...

    Thanks again...I'll drop a note after reading through the link you provided.

    Humbly, thankfully, and sincerely...Tom
     
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  14. TomandJonna

    TomandJonna New Member

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    Just wanted to close this out in case any other folks read.

    I ended up grabbing a PCI internal SATA controller. I had to ensure it had a Silicon Image (SIL) chip that supported SATA port replication...the one I ended up getting had the SIL3124 chip, but, and I stumbled on to this accidentally, my second computer (older -- has the M2N32-SLI Deluxe MB) actually uses a SIL SATA controller chip (SIL3132 -- I think), and it supports port replication natively.

    After installing the SIL3124 controller, I loaded the drivers from the disk and then flashed the card with a NON RAID BIOS so I could simply use the card for additional SATA drives.

    Port replication is a beautiful thing and now both drives are recognized when I use them in the Thermaltake BlacX Duet docking station.

    My next project with this will be to rig up a 120mm fan to each of the docking stations to keep the drives cool. They don't heat up unless I'm transferring files between the two docked drives, but when I do, they really heat up, and since there is nothing to cool them except the air around them, air movement is critical. I've not had a drive fail yet due to heat, but I'm not willing to risk it, especially as expensive as drives are now.

    My plan is to tap into the power supply for the docking station to power the fan -- it will then fire up automatically when I power on the docking station. The only question in my mind is whether I want to use temp sensing fans or just use regular fans that run full-out when on and place a toggle in series with the fan so it only runs when I'm transferring data between docked drives.

    Anyway, that is a project for another day. Thanks again for all the help.

    Most humbly, thankfully, and sincerely...Tom
     
  15. [hobo]eclipse

    [hobo]eclipse ...just bummin 'round

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    Glad to hear you got it working :) Good luck with the fan mod.
     

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