Linux setup disk identification problem with ASRock K10N78-1394 and 6 SATAII disks

I just bought this motherboard (http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=K10N78-1394) for a new storage server. I put six SATAII disks on it and then I planned to install CentOS 5.2 (x86_64) (which seemed to be the latest release though maybe not that fresh).

I have set the system BIOS to operate in AHCI mode, whatever that means. (It doesn't seem to make any difference if I choose IDE or RAID either.) The Linux installation runs until it's time to set up the partitions. - No disks can be found. :( Loading the AHCI (or was it ACHI?) driver takes ages and probably times out.

Whatever could be wrong here? Is the distro too old? Is my 500W supply to weak for the six disks, a couple of fans and the motherboard? The CPU takes 65W. Is there some incompatibility issue with this MB?
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obgAsked:
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rindiCommented:
You normally require drivers for AHCI or RAID controllers (not just for Linux, also for windows). Check the asrock site if they have any. CentOS, although a good distro, is very conservative because it is meant for Servers and doesn't come with all the newest software or drivers. Usually you wil get more out of the box support for hardware with more state of the art distro's. If you need something red-hat based, then look at fedora core, otherwise I'd check out ubuntu.

You can also just try disconnecting those drives you don't need at the moment to make sure the PSU is adequate.
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obgAuthor Commented:
Ok, I certainly could try disconnecting five disks just to check the power. (I should have thought about that!) How much power does a 3,5" 7200 rpm SATAII drive consume?

I doubt that I'll find any Linux drivers on ASRock web page. They seem very M$-minded. Does anyone have any ideas where I might find the prober drivers, or do I need another (more standardized) SATA controller?

I kind of got the impression that Linux would run on pretty much anything, and still, this is the third installation (out of three) that fails for me since the last couple of months. - Maybe it's my bad karma, or something... :(

Of course I could change to another distro, I just got the tip that CentOS is a good server OS setup.

And could anyone please explain to me the difference between the IDE mode (where it seems I can only see four of my SATA disks, from within BIOS setup) and AHCI (where it lists all six disks plus the regular IDE port)?
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obgAuthor Commented:
One step forward, and another step back...

Ubuntu finds the disks, but for some reason I can't boot from my installation. Even when I try forcing boot with the installation CD, it says "Error loading OS" (or something similar). Debian is my next candidate (unless anybody has some great ideas).

The current config is now 6 SATAII disks and one old IDE system disk. It seems that the installation program finds all disks but the only peculear detail I find is that the IDE disk gets the device name sda and not hda. (The 6 SATA disks are named sdb through sdg.) Is this something to worry about?
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rindiCommented:
To find out the power needs of your disks, check the disk's specs on the manufacturer website. It should have all the details there.

And as I mentioned above, CentOS is a very conservative Linux distro that clones the Redhat enterprise versions. Conservative Distro's come with older, thoroughly tested hardware and it will usually be hard getting these to run on new state of the art hardware. Apart from that, the drivers will be optimized for specifically built Server PC's,  like Dell Poweredge or HP proliant servers.

Of course it is normally possible to build your own kernel and modules, but that takes a lot of effort, and at the end you don't have CentOS, but your own version of CentOS, and that will make the maintaining of the server hard.

The new state of the art distro's will usually work perfectly as a server too.
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rindiCommented:
Most newer distros use sdx for the disks, even if they are IDE.
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obgAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your response, rindi, but please read my next comment as well. I have given up on CentOS, as I have, from the very beginning, suspected that the drivers might be out of date for my needs.
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obgAuthor Commented:
Oh, sorry. My turn not reading your last comment... At least that's nothing to worry about then, thanks!
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rindiCommented:
We were just posting at almost the same time.
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obgAuthor Commented:
Sorry to give you a B but I really haven't got by the problem. I still don't know the difference between the modes. I still don't know what's wrong with my setup, though Ubuntu actually finds my discs (and can use them while in "Rescue mode"). :(
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