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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 02-08-2009, 04:27 PM   #1
dv502
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I'm thinking of replacing my IDE drive with a SATA drive, need some advice first


Hey linux fans,

I've never used SATA drives before, so I need some advice.

I know SATA drives had problems with linux in the past, is it still this way today? I'm using kernel 2.6.27


Second, do I need to change anything in my BIOS prior or after installing the SATA drive?

Last, which SATA drive model works best in linux?

I appreciate any feedback. Thanks in advance!

Last edited by dv502; 02-08-2009 at 05:03 PM.
 
Old 02-08-2009, 04:44 PM   #2
irishbitte
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To be honest, your hardware is the stumbling block, you can buy the SATA drive, but if you don't have SATA ports on your motherboard, you will have trouble interfacing your SATA drive. It's possible to get an IDE/SATA adapter, but I don't recommend it, simply because there is no advantage to it.
 
Old 02-08-2009, 05:11 PM   #3
dv502
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Thanks irishbitte for the prompt reply,

I've build the computer myself about 3 years ago. I purchased the motherboard/CPU combo from tigerdirect.com.

I think it should have a SATA port, but I will check. If it does, will it work with linux kernel 2.6.27 or better?

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by dv502; 02-08-2009 at 05:13 PM.
 
Old 02-08-2009, 05:12 PM   #4
amani
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SATA is fully supported in Linux.

Avoid some particular 500GB/1TB Seagate drives though
 
Old 02-08-2009, 05:19 PM   #5
dv502
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Thanks amani

Do I need to do anything with the BIOS before making the SATA drive my primary controller/drive?
 
Old 02-08-2009, 05:26 PM   #6
amani
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1. Boot order

2. SATA mode : AHCI, IDE or RAID (you may have these) ...go with AHCI or IDE/Native
 
Old 02-08-2009, 05:28 PM   #7
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It is the SATA controller chipset not the make of the drive that could be the issue. Post the make/model of the motherboard. I would assume that most if not all 64bit motherboards have an onboard SATA port. You might need to enable the port and possible change its settings in the BIOS. The device IDs of your IDE drives might change too.
 
Old 02-08-2009, 05:29 PM   #8
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As irishbitte said the key is - do you have SATA on the motherboard? If you do it should be a breeze. I am running or have run Ubuntu 6.something up to 8.10, CentOS 5.2, various Fedoras, and some other species of Linux on SATA drives on 3 Dell Pentium 4 machines which are about 5 years old. Two use SATA drives as the boot drive and the third, a Power Edge server, uses an PATA (aka IDE) drive for boot and 2 SATA drives for data storage.

You will probably need to enable the SATA drives in BIOS - just set the connected SATA port to "auto" and it should identify the drive on boot. If you remove the IDE drive, disable it in BIOS. As to boot order... I think IDE comes before SATA - not sure if that can be changed. If that causes an issue just ask again in the forum and I am sure someone will have a workaround.

n.b. SATA drives will be addressed as /dev/sda vs. /dev/hda in Linux.

As to which drives work best - I don't think that "with Linux" really matters. A good drive should be a good drive regardless of the operating system. That said... I have had good success with Seagate Barracuda drives in 80 GB, 160 GB and 320 GB sizes.

If you look at the reviews on newegg.com it seems that the larger Seagate drives (640 GB, 750 GB, 1 TB and 1.5 TB) have some issues. This is true even in the most recent reviews which makes me wonder if the issues are being addressed by Seagate. The "best" rated drives these days seem to be the Western Digital "Black" Caviar drives - at least in the larger sizes. So, after boycotting WD for several years after experiencing some rubbish small IDE drives (30 GB or less) I will probably spring for a Caviar next time the price is right. If you are not a newegg shopper - be aware that their prices are like a merry go round - different deals come by each day. Just decide on the drive you want and wait until it is the on the daily deals page :-)

On the other hand if you are looking for maximum performance... the trend seems to be heading for 2 1/2" drives at 10K or 15K RPM. For example the WD VelociRaptor drives which are a 2 1/2" drive in a 3 1/2" form factor case. I haven't gone there yet.

Ken
 
Old 02-08-2009, 06:13 PM   #9
AuroraCA
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Several weeks ago Seagate posted firmware upgrades for the problematic drives on their website. The fix is a very simple one. See:

http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/cr...p?DocId=207931
 
Old 02-08-2009, 06:21 PM   #10
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well, there is the complete run down! Anyway, if your motherboard has SATA ports, your BIOS most likely supports SATA drives, and if you plug out the IDE and plug in the SATA, you should be in business. You maybe have to enable the AHCI, (sometimes ACHI) emulation in your BIOS, but that is generally only applicable when there is a RAID controller on your mobo, again, you most likely don't have to deal with this issue.

I personally use all SATA drives in all machines, from laptops to servers, and everywhere in between, never really had an issue I could not overcome.
 
Old 02-08-2009, 06:24 PM   #11
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Yes AuroraCA, I have seen reference to the firmware update. However, there seem to be a lot of DOA and "died after a few days" sort of issues as well with the big Seagates.

Ken
 
Old 02-08-2009, 06:31 PM   #12
AuroraCA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylorkh View Post
Yes AuroraCA, I have seen reference to the firmware update. However, there seem to be a lot of DOA and "died after a few days" sort of issues as well with the big Seagates.

Ken
Do you have any documentation or is that just anecdotal? The one or ten people who report DOA drives may only be a small fraction of the tens of thousands of drives shipped. Unless you have some statistical evidence then your statement only represents your opinion.
 
Old 02-08-2009, 06:32 PM   #13
dv502
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Thanks to all! For helping me use SATA technology for the first time. Your replies are a great help as a starting point.
 
Old 02-09-2009, 07:26 AM   #14
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It depends on the SATA controller on your mobo. If this controller supports AHCI then you will have no problems, all you have to do is put it in AHCI mode in the BIOS and it is guaranteed to work. It will also work in PATA mode as long as Linux drivers exist for the controller. The controller is usually listed in '/sbin/lspci'. In contrary to what others may have said above AHCI involves no emulation, it is a new standard that allows for advanced features such as native command queuing (NCQ), hot-plugging, RAID, and other features not otherwise possible.

Last edited by H_TeXMeX_H; 02-09-2009 at 07:30 AM.
 
Old 02-09-2009, 11:06 AM   #15
amani
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuroraCA View Post
Do you have any documentation or is that just anecdotal? The one or ten people who report DOA drives may only be a small fraction of the tens of thousands of drives shipped. Unless you have some statistical evidence then your statement only represents your opinion.
I have such a 500GB Barracuda ST3500320AS. After the latest update (this month), the problem is not fully solved. This was a replacement(RMA) for the same model with the same firmware... (it was actually a firmware problem).
 
  


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