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I am currently testing Debian 3.1 on an old P3 machine and building a P4 machine to make the final install of Debian on.
My motherboard is a SATA compatible one so I bought a Maxtor 160GB SATA drive.
I have since heard that there are issues installing Linux on a machine which only has a SATA HD. Is this true? If so, what should I do?
Thank you in advance,
Compatibility will depend on how SATA is implemented. You can't directly compare my system to your planned one, but in my case my mobo uses an nForce3 250Gb chipset to do SATA. Given that, and trying to install Sarge with the default 2.6.8 (?) kernel, things didn't work. SATA drive not detected. Newer kernels, I think starting a 2.6.10, properly detect my hardware. This is an issue with the nForce3 and I think nForce4 chipsets. You shouldn't run into these if you're using a P4 (unless you horribly mis-spec your system build, but then SATA would be the least of your worries!)
In contrast, my work computer installed Sarge perfectly - easily detecting it's single SATA drive. But I do not know how SATA is implemented there. It's a Dell, I'm sure with SATA on the mobo, but I've never looked nor investigated what chipset it uses (work is a P4 whereas home is an Athlon64 - different chipsets obviously).
So you can't say there "are issues" with SATA. There "may be issues" with SATA depending on what you've got hardware-wise and what kernel version you will be installing. It's possible that a change from Sarge to Etch or Sid may fix problems, if you encounter any.
I have had no problems installing on a SATA HD, might depend on the chipset. Best thing to do is try, if is something doesnt work, post here what the problem is and what error messages you get. To list everything you can do about everything that can go wrong while installing might be complicated anyways, before installing, its not a bad idea to run knoppix on the machine first, maybe partition the drive from knoppix with qtpart, and try mounting the drives from knoppix, if you want to be sure.
As long as you are using a relatively recent version of the kernel (say, 2.6.12 or later) and that the kernel was built with module support for SATA drives, I don't think you will have any issues. You could easily test this by trying a LiveCD distro on your SATA harddrive and see ...
You could easily test this by trying a LiveCD distro on your SATA harddrive and see ...
This will show you the "potential" of SATA for you, but not necessarily whether it will work with your distro of choice. I testing my hardware with both Knoppix and a Ubuntu liveCD and my SATA worked fine with both. However, Debian Sarge, based on an older kernel, was not fine when I tried to install that. Wouldn't recognize the drive.