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I have the following motherboard

Tyan Thunder K8WE S2895A2NRF Motherboard - extended ATX - nForce Pro 2200/2050 - Socket 940 - UDMA133, Serial ATA-300 (RAID) - 2 x Gigabit Ethernet - FireWire - 6-1 channel audio

This is part of a computer that was assembled in the winter of 2006/2007. The user manual says the following with regard to SATA

  • Integrated SATAII Generation 1 Controllers (from NForce Professional 2200)
  • Two integrated dual port SATA II controllers
  • Four SATA connectors support up to four drives
  • 3 Gb/s per direction per channel
  • NvRAID v2.0 support
  • Supports RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and JBOD.

I just purchased a SATA DVD burner. Here is the page for the product

http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B002QGDWLK/

The problem I am facing is that I already have 4 SATA drives installed. I don't want to remove any of them. However, I want the DVD burner above installed as well.

The person I am consulting with here (Bombay, India) tells me that my four available SATA ports are filled, and that my only option is to install a SATA card into the one free PCI slot on the motherboard. However, he says that with this setup I will not be able to boot from the DVD drive.

Are these statements correct, and what are my other options if any? Even it the statements in the last para are true, I suppose I could use one of the motherboard connectors/ports there are currently being used with the hard drives with the DVD drive, and use the "add-on" connector with one of the hard drives. Not all the 4 hard drives need to be bootable.

BTW, despite having read through http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_ATA#Cables.2C_connectors.2C_and_ports I am fuzzy on the differences between connectors, cables and ports.

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3 Answers 3

Ok, you have two more options that you haven't considered yet.

  1. If your motherboard also has a 40 pin PATA connector you could try a PATA to SATA adapter. I have had mixed results with these, but they're cheap so it may be worth looking into.
  2. Convert the SATA DVD to USB with a USB-»SATA adapter and route the cables through inside the box to an available USB port. Some motherboards have USB connectors on the board themselves, so it may be possible to wire it to one of these. If noy, route it through the rear of the case and connect it into a port on the back.

There is also the option of going completely external with the USB and putting the DVD writer in an external USB housing, but that adds clutter, so I guess yuo want to avoid that.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I don't know about PATA, but my impression is that converting between interfaces can cause problems. Which of 1 an d2 are less problematic, if you know? I don't want to go external, since yes, that would add clutter and reduce portability. Note I don't have enough reputation to vote up, otherwise would do so. Also, the usual advice is to wait 24 to 48 hrs before accepting an answer. –  Faheem Mitha Mar 4 '11 at 11:46

I will not be able to boot from the DVD drive.

That will depend on the SATA card, if the card has the appropriate firmware it may be able to (but without testing with your other components you will not be able to confirm this).

But also consider that, assuming you're not using some array configuration for your HDDs (ie. RAID) why not move one HDD to the new card and connect the DVD drive to a motherbooard port?

Also, if your motherboard and target OS supports it, consider booting/installing from USB stick (this will, unless you have a particularly slow USB stick) also be quicker.

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Thanks for the comments. So the boot thing is pretty much a crap shoot? I'm actually using the 4 drives with software raid 1 (Debian Linux). The drives are two pairs of the same size, 2 x 500 Gb and 2 x 300 GB or something like that. So each pair are in a RAID 1 config - two mirrored drives. I already considered the possibility of moving one HDD to the new card (see above post) but I don't know if this config will cause problems. I only need to boot very occasionally, and yes,I think I can boot from a usb stick if I have to, though I've never tried it. –  Faheem Mitha Mar 4 '11 at 11:52
    
(Contd) However, it is nice to be able to boot from the DVD drive if one needs to. As I said above I don't have enough reputation to vote up, otherwise would do so. Also, the usual advice is to wait 24 to 48 hrs before accepting an answer. –  Faheem Mitha Mar 4 '11 at 11:53

Somone (not a user of this site as far as I know) just pointed me to The Plop Boot Manager. This can be used as a workaround in case your CD/DVD ROM drive cannot boot , and for other things besides. I'd never heard of this program before now, so thought I'd add it here. The introduction says:

The Plop Boot Manager is a small program to boot different operating systems. The boot manager has a builtin ide cdrom and usb driver to access those hardware without the help/need of a bios. You can boot the operating systems from harddisk, floppy, CD/DVD or from USB. You can start the boot manager from floppy, CD, network and there are many more ways to start the boot manager. You can install the boot manager on your harddisk. There is no extra partition required for the boot manager.

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