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The raise and a fall of eSATA Plug and Play or Fantec MR-35DUS2 and Windows 7 on ICH10R

2011/02/22 Leave a comment

I ran out of storage so i bought this nifty storage box called Fantec MR-35DUS2. Its a two drive enclosure with support up to 6TB (3TB per disk). I also bought two WD 20EARS 2TB harddrives, which speed is ok for using as a storage (5400RPM).

The configuration is quite easy, no need for hdd carriers, just put the HDDs in the enclosure and close the doors. Then you define what mode you want to use with a slider, Raid-0, Raid1, Big and JBOD (For the later you need a chipset which has a port multiplier, otherwise only one disk is detected. Then you have to press the reset button on the device to initalize the selected mode (I put mine on raid-0 for 4TB and fast performance). After a short flashing of the LEDs the device is ready to connect.

Good thing it even comes with a slot bracket leading an internal SATA to an external eSATA port. That’s great as mostly there is only one eSATA connector, and it might be used already. So i installed the bracket into my computer and started Windows 7.

MR-35DUS2 on my Lacie 2Big Quadra

 

I was scared at the Raid controller bootup of my ICH10R as it showed only 1678,03 GB of the whole disk. What kind of size is that? A 2 TB disk is at least detected as a >1800GB disk. So something is wrong here. First, i checked the SIS Management Software (The Raidcontroller in the Fantec is based on a Silicon Image 5744 Controller) it said correctly 3,8TB. Hmm so the Controller shows the correct size. Maybe the Intel Matrix Software shows something different. Nope, same 3.8TB here…

Then i checked the Intel drivers. Intel Matrix 8. On the Intel Webpage they promote the Intel Rapid Storage Software 10.1.0.1008 so i thought i try the newest version as the Intel has to “communicate” with the SIS controller (Honestly the ICH sees only a virtual Harddrive provided by the SiS) . The installation went smooth and it removed the old Matrix drivers. I rebooted again.

After Windows came up (it showed the same strange size in the bios)  Windows didn’t see anything. Both Management Software did not see any disk either. Port 3 not connected.

Something is really wrong here. No disk at all, not in the device manager, NOWHERE…

OK, step back, reinstall the Matrix Drivers 8.​9.​0.​1023. Reboot. Same strange numbers in the BIOS. Puh Windows sees the harddisk again in the wrong size.

Then i was not amused…

I disconnected the device from eSATA and used the USB cable… New Storage Device… BAM!.. 3.8TB Unitialized in the Windows Storage Manager. So what, i created a GPT partition table and created a biiiiig Volume. Then i was curious. 🙂

So i safely removed the USB and connected the eSATA again. BAM! Now it works!! What the heck, what is the problem with plug and play.

Intel Matrix Storage Console view

 

SiS Management Utility SteelVine

 

Rule No. 1 : Don’t use Rapid Storage Driver with a external SIS Storage Device
Rule No. 2: Connect per USB FIRST and initalize the Disk properly BEFORE connecting to SATA
Rule No. 3: Believe in arcane magic and rocket science