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eSATA port multiplier support for Acer desktop computer?

I have a desktop Acer Aspire AM5620-E5406A Core 2 Quad computer and I recently purchased a 4 bay eSATA drive chassis.

This device needs to be connected to an eSATA port which supports port multiplying. Unfortunately, I can only see the first hard drive because the support is not installed. Where do I find an updated driver in order to allow port multiplying on the eSATA port of this Acer desktop computer?

Also, how do I determine which eSATA controller is used? Acer's support website is terrible, compared to others, and it was no help in determining whether or not the eSATA ports support port multiplying. According to what I understand, this Acer does support this feature but only after I update the eSATA driver.

Thanks.
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Shawn Connelly
Asked:
Shawn Connelly
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1 Solution
 
SysExpertCommented:
They probably are not, but you should get sufficient info via the device manager or by running the MSINFO32  ( or winmsd ) program

It may be part of the chipset.


You will probably need to but a SATA controller that supports this ( CHeck out 3ware, rocketRAID and Adpatec ) , it should not be too expensive

I hope this helps !
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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
Thanks, I had forgotten about that tool.

I now know this Acer users a "Intel ICH8R/ICH9R RAID controller driver" and further reading on the Intel website seems to suggest that this chipset does support eSATA port multiplying.

I then installed an Acer driver update but that did nothing. (ASM5620_Chipset_VS64.zip)

Now, the question is, do I dare to install the Intel driver?
(http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldId=17412&lang=eng)
IATA88ENU.exe



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nobusCommented:
try it- if it does not apply for your controller, it won't install.
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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
I have installed it successfully but it made no difference.

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nobusCommented:
are you sure the eSata bay is ok?   test it on another PC to be sure...
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SysExpertCommented:
also check to see on what ports it is supported.

Not all lof the SATA ports may work with this, you may have to use  specific ones.

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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
nobus: When the external drive is In eSATA mode, my computer sees only the first (of the four) drives. This is indicative of my eSATA not supporting port multiplying.

SysExpert: As far as I know, my computer employs the "Intel ICH8R/ICH9R RAID controller driver" but after successfully installing an update for this chipset, I still see only the first drive. Someone also suggested that my computer employs the JMicron chipset and that I should use the following driver: http://www.alphadownloads.com/drivers/hdd-storage-drivers/asus-jmicron-jmbx-raid-controller-driver-xp-bit--a-3363.html

But I see no evidence that this will work.

Thanks for the help! :-)
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nobusCommented:
i would still test the bay on another pc..
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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
nobus: I did try several SATA ports on this PC and no luck!

It appears that I need to purchase a separate controller.

Any suggestions for a small profile eSATA controller that supports port multiplexing?

Unfortunately, I only have one PCI Express x1 slot and two PCI (standard 16 bit) slots. What are my options? Price is not a concern (but I don't want to pay for RAID capability if I don't have to).

Thanks everyone!
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nobusCommented:
i have no suggestions there, unless to contact the different manufacturers
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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
Currently I am looking at the following cards:

LaCie eSATA PCI Express Card 2 eSATA Ports Mac PC   $49.99
Syba SD-PCXSA2-2E2R SATA II RAID 0/1/5/10/JBOD Controller Card 2X eSATA + 2 SATA II PCI-X  $54.46
Syba SD-SA2PEX-2E SATA II Controller Card 2X eSATA Ports SIL3132 Chipset PCI-E  ??

If there is little to no speed difference between PCI Express x1 and Standard PCI 16 bit (2.3), then I would probably prefer to buy the later.... the x1 Express slot is really-really close to my video card.
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nobusCommented:
better pci-e for speed :  http://computer.howstuffworks.com/pci-express2.htm
it looks like pci = 133 Mb , while PCI-e 1x =200 MB
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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
nobus: Thanks. I hadn't yet looked up the difference but that is pretty significant. Still slower than native! :-(

Too bad, I cannot use the PCI Express x16 slot! That's taken up by the video card!
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nobusCommented:
throw it away ! lol
don't forget that the bandwith of the pci will be shared over the devices, so if you use them together, speed comes down
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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
I ended up purchasing a $39.00 Lacie eSATA II PCI-e card, part # 130804. The moment I booted up the computer the card was recognized and ready to go. And most importantly, I can see my four eSATA drives.

Everything is working and I am happy!

Well, except for.....

Although Windows Vista can clearly read S.M.A.R.T. information from the eSATA drive, I have discovered that S.M.A.R.T. tools like Crystal disk info (a nice free SMART monitoring tool) or ActiveSmart cannot see the eSATA drives.

Is there any tool that will see my eSATA drives?

Thanks!
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nobusCommented:
i never tried it, but try siw : http://www.lemonfiles.com/details.php?progid=9016
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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
Thanks nobus, Installed SIW twice (uses an odd third party installer) but each time resulted in [apparently] nothing (no program actually installed).
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nobusCommented:
that's strange, it is recommende deverywhere on EE, without problems.
it seems to me you have other problems.
siw should at least see your card
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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
I don't think this program is compatible with Vista 64. When I run SIW.EXE it doesn't do anything. It shows up in Task Manager Processes for only a split second.
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nobusCommented:
i just tried it on my vista pc - no problems !
as said : you have OTHER problems
o suggest to repair your OS :  http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial148.html      
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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
>i just tried it on my vista pc - no problems !

Are you running Vista 64? It turns out that in order to run this program, I need to right click on the icon and "run as administrator".

>as said : you have OTHER problems

I never stated that. I have a hard drive that has failed but that is a storage drive and has nothing to do with Vista.

Anyhow, back to SIW, thanks for the suggestion, however, although it really does see all my eSATA drives, it also states that S.M.A.R.T. is not supported on these drives. So, it appears that SIW is also incompatible with my eSATA drives.

Thus far, the only tool that works is gsmartcontrol-0.8.4.exe.

To recap:

- SpeedFan: doesn't see any drive (internal or external)
- SIW: sees all drives but cannot detect features such as SMART on eSATA drives, provided limited info on eSATA drives.
- GSmartcontrol: primitive, sees all drives including some SMART info on all drives (strangely inconsistent - meaning sometimes it sees the eSATA drives). But limited info is displayed in an awkward display. Program crashes on exit.
- ActiveSmart: only the internal SATA drive is seen.
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nobusCommented:
>>     >as said : you have OTHER problems
I never stated that.      <<<   true - I said it
>>   So, it appears that SIW is also incompatible with my eSATA drives.     <<     Wrong - it is the conttroller that causes it, not the drives (they are normal drives)   MANY tools don't work correct then, if the drive is not connected directly to it's (standard) controller
i think (up to now) there's no such tool on the market

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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterAuthor Commented:
>>So, it appears that SIW is also incompatible with my eSATA drives.    
>Wrong - it is the conttroller that causes it

Well yes, so of... but I never actually meant the eSATA drives were incompatible. :-]

But the controller (or chipset) is pretty standard (Silicone Image). Actually, more accurately it is the driver. The software communicates with the eSATA drives through Windows calls, rather than directly to the hardware.

>i think (up to now) there's no such tool on the market

But that is not true. Like I stated, both Windows Vista and GSmartcontrol provide some SMART information on my eSATA drives. I am sure a more comprehensive tool does exist, I just haven't found it yet.

But thanks for your assistance... it is appreciated.
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nobusCommented:
i can only post what i know; i just hope it helped you a bit
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