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-   -   Adaptec SATA Controller under CentOS 4.3? (

neiljt 03-29-2006 06:47 AM

Adaptec SATA Controller under CentOS 4.3?
I've just installed CentOS 4.3 (x86_64) on an Abit IG-81 (915G) Motherboard. Also aboard is an Adaptec AAR-1420SA SATA-II 4-port RAID controller (I don't want to use RAID).

The BIOS sees the SATA card OK, but the OS does not pick it up.

Has anyone managed to get one of these going under CentOS or RHEL? Did you need to build drivers from source, or did you manage to find binaries?

Thanks for any suggestions :-)

Brian1 03-29-2006 04:25 PM

Quick look on Adaptec site has an installtion pdf file that talks about using the bootable cd driver cd disk that comes with the controller. Boot up with that and select the linux driver section. It will take a 3.5" floppy to make a floppy install disk. When you startup with the redhat rhel4 CD type ' linux expert ' or ' linux dd ' on the boot line and insert the floppy. Check out the pdf file here.

There are links as well to making the CD if you do not have one.

Now if you update the kernel you will need to to do the part it talks about installing to an existing system. Not sure if it needs to be recompiled to match the kernel. Most drivers need to be done this way but the driver for this card may not kernel version dependent. So not sure what will happen when a new kernel is installed. Just make sure the orginal kernel is not removed during a kernel upgrade. Some updater apps like yum and apt remove the older version of the kernel and installs the newer kernel. But since you are using 86x64 version I would recommend building your own kernels. Oh by the way I did not see the a driver in the latest kernel 2.6.16 so you need to do like mention in this paragraph. If still confused I would contact Adaptec by phone or email for more help.


neiljt 03-30-2006 02:38 AM

Thanks for these suggestions, Brian. Yep, I should have the installation CD, so will give this a go. Not sure if I can use a CD instead of a floppy for an initial install (no floppy on this machine, though I could hang one off it just for the install I guess). I will also try taking your advice wrt rebuilding the kernel, and from what you say the source code for the driver should be around somewhere.

I won't have access for a day or two, but will follow up when I have tried the above. Thanks again.

UPDATE: Having spent my lunchtime exploring the darker reaches of Adaptec's web site, unless I am missing something, it appears that RHEL 3 is the most recent version supported, which is disappointing. If this really is the case, I guess I must select an earlier version of CentOS or possibly a different distro. This box is intended as a file server, so it doesn't need to run the latest & greatest.

Alternatively, since the IG-81 sports 4 SATA ports of its own, I may use these in the hope that drivers for the 1420SA are forthcoming in the coming months.

Has anyone any thoughts on how likely it is I will see drivers (for RHEL/CentOS 4.x) one day, either from Adaptec or the community?

Brian1 04-01-2006 10:00 AM

I seen on the adaptec site mentioning rhel4.0 when I was first investigating this post. I figure the cd you had contain the needed image for rhel4. You might have and earlier release driver cd. Check this link for the floppy image to download for rhel4.


ScottReed 04-01-2006 10:48 PM

If you get the SATA-II card to work with your Linux distribution, let me know. I am looking to buy that same Adaptec card for my machine running slackware.


Brian1 04-02-2006 12:08 PM

Hi Scott, If you download the Linux source code driver from the link in post #4 it has what you need to apply it to a slackware system. But the issue is to install a fresh copy of slackware on a sata drive using this controller. Many of the files on the link have a precompiled driver that matches the kernel version that each distro installs as the default. Like rhel4 may use kernel so it has the driver built to match the kernel version and has an image disc to use to install with.

A few things you can do.

1. Okay if you want do a clean install to the sata then you will need to make an image disc that contains the modules for the controller to load during the install. Use a command like ' linux dd ' to load the module from the floppy. I would look at one of the other files on the link that has precompiled modules and there is a readme that says how-to use a module floppy.

2. If you already have a default install of slackware that you want to use with your current installed kernel then all you need to do is download the linux source code driver shim package. Now this idea may be tricker and requires a second harddrive of the IDE type. As long as you have the kernel source of the matching kernel version installed on the drive in /usr/src/linux then all you have to do is build it for that kernel. Instructions included in the driver shim file to do this. Now once you have the driver built you can install the controller in the machine with a sata drive and bootup. load the the module for the controller and see what dmesg command shows. If it does not error and loads the module then one can type fdisk -l comamand and see if you can see the new sata drive as /dev/sda if no other scsi, sata, usb, or firewire devices are attached. Okay if all looks fine then this is where the second harddrive comes into play. Since ghost for linux does not support this controller yet this is what I would do.
1. Download Ghost for Linux ISO and burn image to CD.
2. Install second harddrive of same size or larger. (You buy one and return to store later and say not compatiable or something) ( Not a nice thing to do but works in a tight pinch)
3. Bootup with ghost and copy drive to drive
4. Once done reboot and have both drives and sata installed.
5. Since the module is built for the kernel load it and make sure you can see all drives.
6. DO NOT MOUNT the second drive partitions.
7. Install Partimage and copy the images from the second harddrive to the sata drive. (probalbly have to same partition as image then restore image to the sata.
8. Only issue is the bootloader. Not sure how to get around this.
9. If you have windows on the harddrive as well you need to apply the driver before coping the partitions.
10. reboot
What am I missing or forgetting?

Now if you upgrade the kernel you need to build a new driver to match the new kernel from the shim package.

This is an interresting experiment. Maybe I might try this if I pick up a system with a 1420 controller and sata drive.

If you give it a try or anyone knows of a better idea I would like to know.

ScottReed 04-02-2006 12:24 PM

Brian -

Thanks for the steps.

I deffinately would need to start with step #2 because I have a working system for my business right now and I cannot afford to re-install.

I currently use two 80gb SATA Maxtors, mirrored off of my onboard RAID controller. I want to add two more drives and do a RAID 10, hence the curiosity about the Adaptec card.

Maybe down the road i'll image my current drive to an external disk with g4u and then play around with the adaptec card if I buy one.

Thanks again,

neiljt 04-03-2006 08:59 AM

Hi Brian,

Yep, it seems I was missing something. I've just downloaded the source from the link you gave, and will try this when I rebuild the kernel. For now, I have 4 drives attached to the on-board controller, but have left the 1420 in place for future explansion. (My wife just took delivery of a hi-res Canon camera, and has read that raw images are a Good Thing, so it may not be too long before this is needed).

So many thanks, Brian. And Scott, good luck to you -- I will follow up here with details if/when I get this working in case it's useful to you.

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