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Old 09-27-2013, 05:46 PM   #1
nightinga1e
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Sep 2013
Posts: 2

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Problem with SATA Controller modes, SSD and no access to BIOS on an old Acer laptop


Hello everybody, I'm new in the forum.

A few days ago I bought a new SSD for my old notebook Acer TravelMate 6410.
The SSD is a SanDisk 2.5'' 128 GB SATA 3 (490MB/s r - 350MB/s w).
Now the TravelMate as I said is old and support only SATA 150 (that's about 150mb/s if I'm not mistaken). That was ok for me when I decided to buy the new disk, I considered a few other things and I'm still very satisfied with my purchase.

I did the partitioning with gdisk, the alignment and I played a little bit with the protective MBR stuff.
Everything went fine, and I could install Slackware (current) fast and without any problems.

Now the question.
Trough hdparm I see about 120MB/s in reading.
I am not sure if that's simply right because there could be a difference with the theoretical 150mb/s or I've done something wrong in my configuration.

With lspci -K I have this output:


Code:
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/PM/GMS, 943/940GML and 945GT Express Memory Controller Hub (rev 03)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/GMS, 943/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 03)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/GMS/GME, 943/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 03)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family High Definition Audio Controller (rev 02)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
	Kernel driver in use: snd_hda_intel
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family PCI Express Port 1 (rev 02)
	Kernel driver in use: pcieport
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family PCI Express Port 2 (rev 02)
	Kernel driver in use: pcieport
00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family PCI Express Port 3 (rev 02)
	Kernel driver in use: pcieport
00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family PCI Express Port 4 (rev 02)
	Kernel driver in use: pcieport
00:1d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 02)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
	Kernel driver in use: uhci_hcd
00:1d.1 USB controller: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 02)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
	Kernel driver in use: uhci_hcd
00:1d.2 USB controller: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 02)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
	Kernel driver in use: uhci_hcd
00:1d.3 USB controller: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 02)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
	Kernel driver in use: uhci_hcd
00:1d.7 USB controller: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family USB2 EHCI Controller (rev 02)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
	Kernel driver in use: ehci-pci
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev e2)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82801GBM (ICH7-M) LPC Interface Bridge (rev 02)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
	Kernel driver in use: lpc_ich
00:1f.2 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801GBM/GHM (ICH7-M Family) SATA Controller [IDE mode] (rev 02)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
	Kernel driver in use: ata_piix
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation N10/ICH 7 Family SMBus Controller (rev 02)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetLink BCM5787M Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express (rev 02)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
	Kernel driver in use: tg3
05:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation PRO/Wireless 3945ABG [Golan] Network Connection (rev 02)
	Subsystem: Intel Corporation PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection
	Kernel driver in use: iwl3945
09:05.0 CardBus bridge: O2 Micro, Inc. OZ601/6912/711E0 CardBus/SmartCardBus Controller (rev 40)
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
	Kernel driver in use: yenta_cardbus
09:07.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Texas Instruments TSB43AB22A IEEE-1394a-2000 Controller (PHY/Link) [iOHCI-Lynx]
	Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
	Kernel driver in use: firewire_ohci
In particular:
Quote:
00:1f.2 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801GBM/GHM (ICH7-M Family) SATA Controller [IDE mode] (rev 02)
Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device 010d
Kernel driver in use: ata_piix
It looks like the SATA Controller work in IDE mode and not in AHCI mode. Is this right or should I change it?
Is there a way to do it by Slackware and not by BIOS*?
Will I have to change something else after switching to AHCI mode to boot correctly?

* I ask not by BIOS because I've noticed that after the Slackware installation I can't enter the BIOS anymore.
I think it could be related to GPT table... but it looks strange anyway because I receive the "Press F2 to enter the BIOS" after the checkup of the hardware (by the way the SSD is correctly recognised) and even, when I press the F2, I see the "Entering the BIOS" message... then LILO starts.
I've tried many keys combinations and I've found on the internet a few guys with similar problems with an ACER laptop (not related to the GPT table), but I couldn't find a solution yet.
I tried even putting back my old hard disk - no change.
I didn't try the CMOS reset because is not that easy to reach the battery on the motherboard... I would prefer to menage this problem by software.


Thank you in advance for your help and please excuse my poor English!

Regards

P.S. Slackware is great!
 
Old 09-28-2013, 01:27 PM   #2
Nh3xus
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2013
Location: France
Distribution: Slackware 14.1 32 bits
Posts: 190

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Hi,

Since the BIOS is what manages the hardware configuration before giving the access to said hardware to the OS, You will have to toggle the Sata mode to AHCI on the BIOS, in order for you to gain some extra Sata bandwidth.

It's not possible to change this particular mode within Slackware.

This is the kind of setting change that requires a OS-reinstall most of the time (well with Windows, it's mendatory).

However, I don't know how Slack would react to that.

I guess that if you don't encounter any kind of kernel panic, it's fine.
 
Old 09-28-2013, 04:34 PM   #3
sparkyhall
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2009
Location: Chatteris---UK
Distribution: Slackware 13.0 & 14.0
Posts: 41

Rep: Reputation: 7
Hi,

As @Nh3xus states you will need to make the change to AHCI in the bios, although I am not sure you will get much more than 120MB/s from SATA 1.5Gb. Everything I have read states that you shouldn't use SSD in IDE mode although I am not sure if this is simply because of a performance limitation or because features such as TRIM are not supported in IDE mode.

With linux you only need to enable AHCI in the bios to make use of it, the need to reinstall is one of those unique features of M$ windows.
 
Old 09-28-2013, 06:53 PM   #4
jtsn
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Registered: Sep 2011
Location: Europe
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 908

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AHCI is not officially supported by all ICH-7 chipsets, only by some of them.

ICH7-M supports 3 Gbps transfer modes, but they're disabled intentionally, so 1.5 Gbps (with 8b/10b encoding) it is.

hdparm -t was designed for measuring IDE hard disks from the 90s and doesn't work very well on SSDs, so don't trust these numbers.

ATA TRIM is working fine in IDE mode. Linux supports all ATA commands regardless of the controller mode. Of course, there is no NCQ, but data set management commands aren't queued anyway.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 09-29-2013, 03:29 AM   #5
nightinga1e
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Sep 2013
Posts: 2

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Thank you very much to everyone for the informations, now I understand a little bit more of the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsn View Post
ICH7-M supports 3 Gbps transfer modes, but they're disabled intentionally, so 1.5 Gbps (with 8b/10b encoding) it is.
I didn't know about it... I guess there's no easy way to "hack" this hardware setting anyway, is it?

Quote:
ATA TRIM is working fine in IDE mode. Linux supports all ATA commands regardless of the controller mode. Of course, there is no NCQ, but data set management commands aren't queued anyway.
That's very nice to ear.
 
  


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