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Promise 100/TX2 and Sil3114 SATA in the same machine -> no boot

Posted on 2006-07-24
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
This might also be an OS (SUSE 10.1) issue, but I'm leaning towards a hardware problem.

I'm running a small home-fileserver off an MSI K7N2 which has 2 usual 2 IDE channels. I have an additional Promise Ultra100 TX2 2-channel PCI IDE card, and the server has been running with no issues for a couple years. Root and boot partitions (hda) are on the primary master of the integrated controller. A couple days ago I added an St-Lab A-223 branded PCI SATA card, which uses the Silicon Image 3114 chipset. This is when the problems began.

First of all the Promise card seems to be really picky about IRQs, it only works if it's on a slot with higher priority than the Sil. If the Sil boots before it, the Promise will hang during initialization. I switched the cards around and got around this issue.

If there are disks connected to both the Promise and the Sil, after POST and controller initialization the machine would hard reboot. Booting off the SUSE install DVD trying rescue or installation mode ended up with the machine hanging, trying to boot off the disk caused a similar reboot. The reseting was properly caused by insufficient power, switching to a slightly bigger PSU altered the behaviour a bit, now it gets to "GRUB Loading stage 2..." and hangs there, no additional error messages. SUSE rescue/installation mode and INSERT both end up with the machine hanging with a blank screen, which is why I think its a hardware rather than a software issue.

If I remove either of the cards, the machine boots up without problems. If I remove all disks from the SATA card, the system also boots up normally. Booting upo SUSE with just the Sil connected loads up the sil_sata driver and the disks are accessible.

Any clues? Should I just accept the fact that 2 cheapo cards shouldn't be sent to do a man's job, or is there any way around this? If worse comes to worst I'm also open for suggestions to replace to hardware, but I have no desire to dish out anything for a new PATA card, and a full hardware solution is not what I'm looking for either ($$$). Thanks in advance.
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Question by:CoccoBill
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rindi earned 250 total points
ID: 17167421
The promise card is pretty old, and that may be one of the problems. Have you tried upgrading the firmware? If a firmware upgrade doesn't help, then it is probably a case of the combination of these 2 cards won't work.
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by:pgm554
pgm554 earned 250 total points
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Have you tried manually assigning IRQ's to the slots?
Sharing of like devices OK,sharing of other ,no.
I would watch out for what is being shared on IRQ 9.

Does the BIOS allow you to choose controller boot order?
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by:CoccoBill
ID: 17174492
rindi: It's old indeed, and has the latest bios dated 5/6/2003.

pgm554: I have 3 PCI cards on the server, these 2 storage controllers and a D-Link gbit NIC. The BIOS allows me to change boot priorities for PCI slots, however, the Ultra100 needs to be before the Sil or the Ultra100 will hang at boot time initialization for some reason.

Meanwhile I decided that life is too short to spend more time playing with them and just moved the disks off the Ultra100 and unplugged it, everything works fine now with just the Sil running.

Thanks guys for your help.
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by:pgm554
ID: 17176644
I have never worked with the MSI ,but I have a MOBO that uses the award BIOS and I am running a MegaRAID Symbios card and the Promise TX2 and I have no issues.

The BIOS gives me the granularity to assign individual IRQ's to the slots.

Strange that a high end MOBO does not allow you to do that.
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