I bought a 1 TB SATA II hard drive to add to my home theater PC. I already had one SATA II drive (3.0 Gigabits/second) installed in the computer, on which I had the drive’s jumper set to SATA I (1.5 Gigabits/second).
I "knew" the new drive wouldn’t be a problem because the PC’s motherboard had two SATA data connectors and I would only need one for the drive, and I could use the drive’s jumper to set it to SATA I.
Unfortunately, I built this PC back in 2004. Not only was the SATA I an issue (and was solved by the jumper), there was a hidden problem. The motherboard’s BIOS could not handle the size of the 1 TB drive.
As the motherboard started to boot, it displayed the normal steps: memory test, finding the IDE drives, and finding SATA drives. It found the first one, showed its model number and size. Then, it showed the second drive’s model number. And, nothing else…
Most computers have a splash screen, a big full-screen logo, that displays in the early steps off the boot process. This is to hide all these details from you so you don’t worry about them, but it also prevents you from solving boot problems easily.
You can usually turn off the splash screen by making a change in the system’s BIOS settings. If you don’t know how to reach the BIOS settings screen in your computer, see my article Accessing The Computer’s BIOS Setup.
The boot hung at that point, showing the model number but not the size of the 1 TB drive.
I suspected that the problem was that the huge size of the drive was simply too big for the SATA drivers for the motherboard. I used my bookmarked link to the Abit web site, only to find that they had retired the abit-usa.com domain. Abit.com looked like it could be right, but checking it showed that its results were all "sponsored search" — meaning paid advertising. Eventually, I found the main Abit web site only to find that that all the drivers for this motherboard were dated 2004. This was a surprise, as I had previously bought Abit motherboards and one of their policies that I liked was that they had updated the BIOS and drivers for several years following the motherboard’s introduction.
So, I started searching for a PCI adapter card that would do SATA I or SATA II.
I found a number of available cards and narrowed my choice to:
- Rosewill RC-215, with 2 SATA I connector and one ATA 133 connector
- Promise SATA300 TX4 PCI SATA II 4-Port Adapter – Retail
Both of these cards would do non-RAID, while the Promise card would not do RAID. That was fine, as I wanted single independent drives if I hook up multiple drives to the interface card.
The Promise card would do SATA II (3.0 Gigabits/second), while the Rosewill card would oly do 1.5 Gigabits/second. However, the real issue would be that the PCI interface to the motherboard would be the limit at 1.06 Gigabits/second. So, that issue didn’t guide my choice.
I finally decided to get the Rosewill card for the most mundane of reasons — price.
Newegg delivered it in a couple days. I installed it in an open PCI slot, installed the drivers when Windows found the new hardware.
You have to insert the driver CDROM and specify the exact location for the drivers for your operating system. The CDROM has drivers for a lot of different models of Rosewill cards and are not set up to identify the card and the operating system. The Rosewill RC-215 model that I chose uses the RC-212 drivers from the CDROM.
After that point, I needed to go into the Windows XP Disk Management Console, create a partition, and format the drive. Start > Control Panel > Performance and Measurement > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Storage > Disk Management(Local)