Asus P5Q Deluxe ESATA port hard drive size limit.

Discussion in 'Asus' started by me, May 24, 2011.

  1. me

    me Guest

    My esata port works great with my 1tb drives but will only show my 2tb
    drive when the drive is powered up at boot. The 1tb drives can be turned
    off without a problem. If I boot with the 2tb powered it will show but if I
    turn it off then back on it will not. It is not an enclosure problem as I
    have tried a couple. Any suggestions? I search Google and cannot find any
    info on an esata port drive size limit so I am puzzled. Thank you.
    me, May 24, 2011
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  2. me

    Paul Guest

    Consider the hardware path being used.

    I think it's a Marvell 88SE6121 (pretty ordinary)
    followed by a SIL5723 (not so ordinary). Something
    along these lines ?

    --- 88SE6121 --- 5723 ---- drive
    ---- drive

    Trouble is, there are no statements that I can find, about
    device capacity. There is a compatibility table, with a list
    of disk drives, but it isn't up to date (doesn't have
    the drives you can buy today listed). The largest drive in
    the table appears to be 1TB, but that could simply be
    a function of the date of publication, rather than a limit.
    In fact, a few pretty small drives, are listed as not
    compatible. So the table is useless for predicting success.

    If this was just a port on your Southbridge, it probably
    would have been a different story. I think there is an
    actual processor and firmware inside the 5723.

    This isn't the first time this has happened. Asus put one of those
    damn things on another motherboard, and there were no end of
    questions about that one too. You'd think Asus would have
    learned their lesson and stopped using those things. They're a waste
    of silicon, on a motherboard. There are plenty of better things
    they could use instead. Even a SIL3132 would have been better.
    I'd rather have a SIL3132 than a 5723, because it supports
    port expansion if you can find an expander for a decent price.

    Paul, May 24, 2011
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  3. me

    Paul Guest

    I don't see a reason why you can't leave the drivers in place. It's probably
    not going to hurt anything.

    On some of my motherboards, I turn off hardware in the BIOS, in the interest
    of speeding up the boot. If you notice the computer wasting time checking
    for drives on those ports, then that may give you an incentive to turn
    that stuff off. Otherwise, the lazy approach, is to just leave it :)

    Paul, May 24, 2011
  4. me

    me Guest

    Thank you for the reply Paul. BTW, I am using XP 64 bit and can't find the
    size limit for either version for the esata so I assume it's probably 1TB
    because my other drives work fine. If I stop using the marvel and use usb
    only would you recommend I disable it in the bios or uninstall the esata
    driver? Thx.
    me, May 24, 2011
  5. me

    me Guest


    I agree with you 100%. My external drives are used for backup only and if
    usb 2.0 is a bit slower than esata it won't matter. I like usb because the
    lights on the external drives work showing activity and when esata the
    machine shows the activity which can be condusing if I want to shut the
    external down but not sure if it's still in use or the main machine drive
    is in use.

    Would you recommend configuring the externals for quick removal or the
    higher performance option? Thank you for all the help, it's appreciated.

    me, May 24, 2011
  6. me

    Paul Guest

    If your computer is on a UPS, and the computer is connected via a USB or
    serial cable to the UPS (controlled shutdown interface), then I'd select
    the High Performance option, if that's what you want. My UPS is set up
    that way right now - it sends a message to the computer, when there is
    limited time left on battery (after a power failure), so that Windows
    can shut down cleanly, flush the cache on the disk drive and so on.

    The Quick Removal thing might be more appropriate if the computer was
    connected directly to wall power, with no UPS. Since the computer
    has very little time in the event of a power failure there, I doubt
    any cache could be flushed. Quick Removal then would mean less
    damage to the file system. NTFS is journaled, so the next startup
    could help resolve any fragments left over. FAT is more exposed to
    incidents like that.

    I presume there are rules for what options you'll be offered, and
    you might not always have both options available to you.

    There is a table here, for example. And some accompanying text to
    describe what options may be offered, and ways to override them.

    I haven't honestly looked at this when using my USB hard drive. I slap
    a drive into the enclosure and use it occasionally, then remove it later
    (because normally the enclosure has a DVD writer in it). And don't really
    leave the thing unattended. If I was to leave it connected all the time
    with a hard drive in it, I should be paying more attention :)

    Paul, May 24, 2011
  7. me

    me Guest

    Excellent info Paul, thanks much. I also want to get your opinion of
    converting my P5q Deluxe to AHCI. There is plenty of info regarding how to
    do it without having to reinstall windows. There are .reg files etc
    involved and I have no problem with that but what I don't know if I would
    get any performance increase or decrease with AHCI? I have heard stories of
    longer boot times etc. Would it be worth converting in the long run or
    would you just leave it be? Thank you.

    me, May 24, 2011
  8. me

    Paul Guest

    AHCI is good for two things.

    1) Supporting hot plug of drives. Useful for an ESATA device for example.
    Or if you use one of those SATA dock devices. I'm pretty careful with
    my hard drives, and like to only handle them with the power off, so
    there is less chance of mechanical shock to the drive while it is
    spinning. If your setup gives you good control over that (only
    handle drive when it is not spinning), then Hot Plug support could
    be a useful thing.

    2) NCQ support. This is useful for server loads, where multiple pieces of
    software are sending commands to the drive at the same time. With NCQ,
    the drive has the ability to re-order the commands, for less head
    movement. If you're a single user on a desktop system, this might be
    less of a benefit. AHCI might actually add a second or two to some
    operations, as there is some overhead involved. It's a positive thing,
    if you have lots of queue buildup in the disk queue (pending commands
    building up in queue, drive can't keep up, multiple storage threads).

    If you wanted one ESATA port, the easiest way to get it might be to plug in
    an add-in card (like a card with a SIL3132), and then install an AHCI driver
    for that. So that, there is less disturbance to any choices you'd already
    made when installing the OS (i.e. changing Southbridge mode).

    Yes, there are undoubtedly recipes out there, for dynamically switching.
    In particular, Windows 7 makes it dead easy to change to AHCI (re-arm via
    registry change). The previous OSes are more of a nuisance, and the recipe
    is a lot more complicated. Certainly, you can do a "Repair Install" on an
    older OS, offer an F6 driver early in the process, and change to AHCI that
    way, but then you'd have to do all your Service Packs and Security Updates
    over again. It works best, if you prepare a new installer CD for yourself,
    using NLite, and slipstream in the Service Pack level you're currently using
    on the OS. (So the installer CD matches the service pack level of the current
    OS installation.) That eliminates one step, during your Repair Install.

    "Integrate a Service Pack"

    If doing a Repair Install, read up on the caveats with respect to Internet
    Explorer. The latest versions are not tolerant of repair installs. You're
    supposed to uninstall things like IE8 and try and return the OS to the
    level of Internet Explorer it was using when it was installed. That
    wasn't always the case, as there was a time where the repair install
    would take care of IE for you. But now, you can muck up IE if you leave
    an advanced version present, and Repair Install over top of it.

    Now, that advice doesn't explain, how a person repairing a "broken OS" is
    supposed to remove IE, before doing a Repair Install. And that just shows
    you how dumb Microsoft is. If the OS is broken, there might be no opportunity
    to remove IE, and then there could be trouble when you try to Repair Install
    your way out of the situation.

    Repair Install doesn't change your installed applications, or delete your
    email. It does affect the Service Pack level, and remove the Security
    Updates, such that a visit to Windows Update afterwards, and an hour
    of downloading is still required.

    As always, do a complete backup before you push the button, so you
    have an escape route if the Repair Install doesn't work out. The same
    would be true for one of those recipes that involves extensive registry

    I just shut down the PC, connect my SATA device, and use the disk that
    way (with no hot plug). For a lazy guy, that's less work than the above.

    Paul, May 24, 2011
  9. me

    me Guest

    Excellent advice Paul. I ahven;t decided if I want to try an AHCI recipe as
    yet because hings are working including thr esata port provide the drive is
    not larger than 1tb because my 2tb would not work on esata port.

    I gorgot to ask you before. I have a couple new WD 1tb drives and the one
    that I was attempting to connect to esata before getting the driver issues
    fixed shows many Ultra DMA CRC errors with HD Tune. If I understand
    corectly it is not a drive problem but a problem that the controller had
    communicating with the drive, correct? CRC errors displayed in SMART data
    could be due to a bad usb cable etc. Am I correct regarding this? If a
    drive has a problem connecting to the controller because a cable is faulty
    a CRC error can occur. I am hoping that it's not a drive issue as the drive
    is brand new and not a refurb. Nothing to worry about I hope? Thanks.
    me, May 24, 2011
  10. me

    Paul Guest

    I found some info here. SMART is apparently documented in the ATA spec,
    according to the article.

    "0x01 Read Error Rate ... is often not meaningful as a decimal number"

    Now this looks more interesting. Mine reads out zero in the data field value.

    "0xC7 UltraDMA CRC Error Count

    The count of errors in data transfer via the interface cable as
    determined by ICRC (Interface Cyclic Redundancy Check).

    My two SATA drives, have quite large stats for 0x01, but they show zero
    for the 0xC7 UltraDMA error count.

    Both ends of the SATA cable, need to check for errors, like this. The SATA
    cable has a separate diff pair for each direction, and the recipient has to
    check for errors. CRC is calculated over the data in the packet. It's similar
    to say, an Ethernet packet concept. I don't know how re-transmissions are handled,
    or whether the protocol is "reliable" or has acks piggybacked on data packets
    or the like. The SMART stat, would be a measure of the counter on the
    right hand end of this diagram. I don't know where the counter for the left
    hand end is kept (it would be hard for SMART to do it).

    +-------------+ +-------+
    | Motherboard | ------------------> (error check) | disk |
    | | (error check) <-------------------- | |
    +-------------+ +-------+

    Based on that skimpy info, if your 0xC7 data value is non-zero, it implies
    a cable (or chip on either end of the cable) issue. A pinched SATA cable
    could do it. Running the SATA cable next to a source of high amplitude interference
    could do it (next to the flyback on an old TV set, next to the ignition wires
    on your car, etc).

    Paul, May 24, 2011
  11. me

    me Guest

    My Seagate 1.5tb boot drive has one Ultra DMA CRC error and I am not sure
    how long it's been there because I didn't check smart data until recently.
    I am not going to worry about one but my two external 1tb WD Green Drives
    had lots of them and I wonder if they were caused by trying those drives as
    esata when it wasn't working correctly yet? I have exchanged those two
    drive for Seatgate 2t green drives and they seem perfect. I am thinking
    that my external enclosures may to more ompatible with certain drives but
    who knows. I will keep tabs on the specs from now on. Do you think my boot
    drive with just one error is something to worry about? I plan on upgrading
    it to a faster drive someday anyway. Thank you for the very useful
    me, May 24, 2011
  12. me

    Paul Guest

    The 0xC7 statistic Ultra DMA CRC Errors , seems to be associated by other
    people with a cabling problem.

    Remember that, the reach budget (cable length) is a function of the
    devices on either end of the cable. The chip on the motherboard has
    to "launch" at ESATA amplitude. The device receiving the signal, has
    to "sense" at ESATA thresholds. If both those requirements are met,
    the cable has "perfect impedance" and isn't pinched or kinked, then
    you could get up to two meters (six feet) of reach and see zero errors

    Departures from that, eat into the budget. If either end is cheating
    on the ESATA electrical spec, then you're probably allowed to have one
    meter (three feet) of cable.

    It could be as well, that if an extension cable is used (motherboard to faceplate
    with one cable, external connector on faceplate to ESATA enclosure), that adds
    an additional discontinuity to the electrical signals (one additional male/female
    connector pair in path).

    That's why, unless you have good specs for the devices in question,
    to verify that stuff, you can assume you really have three feet of
    cable to work with. And if an extension cable is used inside the
    computer, then you might be left with 18" of budget for the part outside
    the computer.

    Now, if you use a PCI Express SIL3132 card with an ESATA connector on
    the faceplate, then PCB material (FR4) carries the signals from the
    chip on the card, to the faceplate. There is no pesky cable to eat budget.
    The distance the copper tracks travel on the PCI Express card, is
    extremely short. That leaves more of your budget for external cable.

    The same could be said of a motherboard chip. The motherboard chip has
    diff pair copper tracks running to the back panel ESATA connector stack.
    That still uses perhaps one foot of reach, but in terms of impedance,
    they can do a good job of getting the signals to the connector with
    minimum disturbance.


    As near as I can tell, the 0xC7 statistic doesn't "reset" itself.
    So if you counted 328 errors today, then fixed the cable, the drive
    could well read 328 for the rest of its life. It is up to you to write
    down when last the count incremented, for future reference when trying
    to detect a problem.

    I had no luck at all, from a standards point of view, in tracking that
    thing down. I tried a search against, but still didn't manage
    to find what I was looking for.

    Paul, May 24, 2011
  13. me

    me Guest

    So Paul, they way I understand it is that if lets say I had an sata cable
    connected to the boot drive that has that one error and the cable wasn't
    completely on the connector then that could cause an error? I was using
    the cables that came with the board but bought some that were just long
    enough to reach from the mobo to the drive. If my cables are too short I
    would have more errors than just one I would think. I am not going to worry
    about that drive with one Ultra DMA CRC error. I will check it often and
    if I see more then I will take action. I would say that seeing bad sectors
    increasing woud be a big warning. Diskinfo and HD Tune both claim the disk
    is good.

    BTW, DiskInfo lists the one CRC error but doesn't attach a yellow warning
    over it. DiskInfo shows no warnings. I have read that other users have
    just one of those errors like mine and they can't figure out why either.

    My old friend told me this and I stick to it today "Back it up or cry".
    With the old tape drives of the 80's he also said "Back it up and cry",
    because most of the tapes had major problems when trying to restore data.
    Mine was the type that fit in a drive bay. Really popular then and tapes
    were expensive.

    Thanks for everything Paul. I enjoy chatting with you.

    me, May 25, 2011
  14. me

    Paul Guest

    I'll say this about your example - the other examples I could find, always
    had a larger count than you've got. I didn't see any examples with a low
    quantity. Either zero or hundreds or low thousands.

    Those numbers are just too low to be reasonable. If you've worked with
    error counters in a lab before, if something runs amok, you get *much*
    higher counts than that. I have a feeling that number is massaged somehow,
    and isn't an actual error count.

    I bet there is some significance to only seeing one error, but explaining
    what is going on, is going to require finding whatever standard defines
    how that count is collected. The ATA/ATAPI specs I could find so far,
    do mention SMART, but only a specific section of SMART. Not the
    statistics collection part.

    In the Wikipedia article on S.M.A.R.T. they mention

    "SMART Attributes were included in some drafts of the ATA standard,
    but were removed before the standard became final."

    which means the manufacturers wanted to wing it. Companies play games
    in standards forums, and one of the games is introducing a feature
    that causes your competitor to be "non-standard". Removing that
    section of the spec is a polite way of saying, each company already
    had a feature like that in place, and didn't want to change it.
    And that means, we'll need to find a "guru sitting on a mountain"
    somewhere, to discover the definition :)

    Paul, May 25, 2011
  15. me

    me Guest

    HD Tune "C7" Ultra DMA Error Count displays under "Current= 200, under
    "Worst" is 200, under "threshold" is 0, and "data" shows 1.

    You lost me a bit but I am trying to understand. You think that "data"
    showing 1 could be normal? I did read about many people having just 1 and
    they didn't know why. I guess it's nothing to worry about because data
    transfers are flawless and if I swapped cables the figure of 1 won't go

    BTW, so you know which 1.5tb drive is the fastest these days? The Seagate
    7200 RPM like the one I have was the fastest supposedly but heard that the
    WD caviar black is fastest now. I heard that Seagate has a new fast 2tb
    drive, not the green model bit the other. Thanks.

    me, May 25, 2011
  16. me

    Paul Guest

    Xbitlabs does some drive testing.

    Check their "Storage" section, for more articles of that sort.

    It looks like the Advanced Format drives, still have some
    bad looking results in some of the graphs (4KB sectors).

    There are some 1TB and 2TB drives in this review. I'm surprised
    they're as close as they are. The big drives sometimes have
    to compromise on performance, in order to work.

    I presume how a 1.5TB drive stands out, is the platter type it is
    made from. Are those 750GB platters perhaps ? Maybe such a drive
    represents a switch from three to two platters. In some of those
    reviews, the extra platters help performance.

    The site used to keep a database of their test
    results, but it looks like they're not updating it any more.

    I'd say you probably wouldn't go badly wrong getting the WD one.
    But check the Newegg reviews, to see how many of them are
    failing early or arrive DOA. I'd sooner buy a drive with slightly
    better quality numbers, than one with a better transfer rate.
    If it's fast, but dead tomorrow, it isn't of much use to me. If
    I have to RMA it, it's costing me money, and then it is no longer
    a bargain. On the Newegg reviews, one person went through three
    drives, before getting a good one. And that is pretty bad, in terms
    of purchasing experience. That kind of thing takes all the fun out
    of shopping for a drive.

    Paul, May 25, 2011
  17. me

    me Guest


    I think what I will do is email or call Seagate support and inquire about
    it. I never take advantage of these companies free support but will at
    least ask them about this. Will let you know. Thanks again for all the

    me, May 25, 2011
  18. me

    me Guest

    I appreciate the info and those links and will check them out. I also agree
    with you regarding speed versus reliability. The Seagate 1.5t has been a
    good drive for me and was rated excellent when the first appeared. And fast
    too. When I was trying to get the esata going last week with the help of
    the group I had two WD 1tb caviar green drives and somehow both got Ultra
    DMA errors in the hundreds in just a few days. I used them via usb and
    esata but the error figure was real high and that worried me. I contacted
    WD via email and explained the situation and they actually took the time to
    call me. I thought companies calling people by phone was unheard of these
    days. They didn't help me much so I had the receipts and picked up two 2tb
    Seagate barracuda green drives and they are working great. They were on
    sale so I spent $16.00 and went from 1tb to 2tb! The first WD Green I
    bought a while back acted weird and I checked warranty status online and
    the system said it was out of warranty. What happened was a local store
    sold me a refurb drive and somehow the drive sticker did not get marked as
    such and I informed WD and when I showed their emails to the store they
    replaced it. I went online and checked the serial and that drive was new.
    You must be careful these days. I made a mistake of buying a couple refurb
    drives from Unity Electronics and they crapped out just after their 30 day
    return period. Steer clear of that place because all their drives are
    refurbs but could just be used ones, who knows. Thanks again and take care.

    me, May 25, 2011
  19. me

    me Guest


    I have an idea why the 2tb drive wouldn't work esata. I read that those
    drives can be used with 4k clusters or 512. I am thinking that the drives
    may have worked if it was formatted with 4k instead of 512. It is possible
    that the system will allow those drives to operate with 512 on a usb port
    and not esata?

    I formatted both of the two 2tb drives with one extended partition each and
    used windows xp x64 default 512 cluster six.

    Just wanted to run it by you, Thx.

    me, May 26, 2011
  20. me

    Paul Guest

    If you read this article, I don't think it works that way. You can "align"
    a partition to 4K boundaries - if the drive is actually 4K, then you should
    notice an improvement in performance. I don't think the user actually
    has the ability to "soft sector" the drive, and change it from using 4K sectors
    to 512 byte sectors. All you can change, is what sector the partition
    starts at, and consequently how often the drive must do read-modify-write
    operations to handle the size mismatch on fractional chunks.

    Paul, May 26, 2011
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