[K12OSN] RE: Assign Drive letter c: to ata drive in linux (Glenn Arnold)

"Terrell Prudé, Jr." microman at cmosnetworks.com
Wed Oct 27 12:59:20 UTC 2004

For what it's worth, I have found out, as of last night, that the ASUS 
A7N8X-E motherboard, which has both PATA (traditional 40-pin IDE) and 
SATA ports, does in fact support having both simultaneously.  Here is my 

AMD Athlon 2400+
Two PATA drives on the primary PATA channel (20GB and 40GB)
DVD/CDRW drive on the secondary PATA channel
Two SATA disks, one on each SATA channel (both 160GB)

Works like a charm.  The SATA disks are in a Linux kernel RAID 1 mounted 
as /home; and /boot, /, /usr, and /var, as well as swap, are spread 
across the two PATA drives.  The system boots from the 20GB PATA drive, 
which houses /boot and /.  Yes, I probably could've partitioned it 
somewhat more efficiently, but this was primarily to test PATA/SATA 
operability.  :-)

Note that with motherboards with built-in "SATA RAID", don't waste your 
time with that RAID.  If you want SATA RAID, then use your SATA ports in 
straight-up JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) mode, and you'll be just fine.  
Works great with anything with a 2.6 kernel, including FC2, SuSE Linux 
9.1, and Knoppix 3.6 (in kernel 2.6 mode, of course).  Note also that 
HighPoint SATA controllers work as well, provided you're in JBOD mode.  
The 2.4 kernel, while supporting SATA to a degree, recognized that disks 
were on both SATA ports, but it could only initialize the first disk.  
This was with both the ASUS A7N8X-E built-in SATA ports and the 
HighPoint SATA controller, and I remember reading something on 
KernelTrap about somewhat incomplete SATA support in Linux 2.4.  2.6 
fixes that.

So, for those of us who, in the future, might need to build a SATA-based 
K12LTSP server on the cheap, you might do well to consider building it 
out of one or more of these components, paired with FC2 or later.


Carl Keil wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> I thought I'd update the list since many of you tried to help me out.  
> I finally called Dell.  I don't know why I hesitated.  Well, I do know 
> why, most companies are exceedingly rude when you tell them you're 
> running Linux, (ISPs, HD manufacturers, retail outlets, etc.)  Anyway, 
> I've never had a better experience being told that I was out of luck.  
> The guy was totally cool (all I ask for is a little empathy from 
> someone who's telling me I'm screwed by the way his product is set 
> up), but told me that the Dell poweredge BIOS doesn't support "mixing" 
> drives.  I can have all sata or all ide and boot from either primary.  
> Or, I can boot from the sata, but I simply can't boot from the ide and 
> keep the sata in there without that f12 intervention at startup.  So, 
> looks like I'm going to be buying another sata drive.
> Thanks for puzzling over this with me, next time I'll call Dell first.
> ck
> Did you look at the boot sequence in the Dell Bios?  This usually 
> controls the boot order of ide devices.  Just make the Sata Drive the 
> first boot device or ahead of your other ide hard drive.
> -Glenn
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "Terrell Prudé, Jr." [mailto:microman at cmosnetworks.com]
> Sent: Monday, October 25, 2004 7:24 PM
> To: Support list for opensource software in schools.
> Subject: Re: [K12OSN] Assign Drive letter c: to ata drive in linux
> Carl Keil wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > I'm still having trouble booting my DELL 400sc server after installing
> > a sata drive for /home.  The BIOS is looking for a C: drive to boot
> > from, there's no option to look at the IDE bus, or primary IDE or
> > something.  So, does anyone know how to make this thing think that the
> > Primary ATA drive is a "C:" drive?  If I take the SATA buss offline in
> > the BIOS it boots fine.  If I don't I have to hit F12 at bootup and go
> > into a special boot menu where I can select "Primary IDE" and it boots
> > fine.  I'd like it to boot without intervention like that.
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > ck
> I take it that Dell support didn't have any ideas on this one?  This
> sounds like a Dell-specific thing.

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