DELL T110 Server - SATA Settings and Boot Modes

Posted on 2013-11-02
Last Modified: 2016-11-23
 I have  a DELL T110 and like to have a better understanding as to what these settings mean.

  There are 4 different mode SATA settings  - OFF / ATA Mode / ACHI Mode / RAID Mode. There are two Boot Modes - UEFI (whatever it is) and BIOS. When I choose BIOS mode, and select Boot Sequence, I can see  CD/DVD ROM Drive &HD and change priority between them. However if I choose UEFI, the system does not even let me  get into boot priority screen.

 I like to understand what these 4 SATA settings mean and difference between UEFI and BIOS boot modes.

Thank you.
Question by:sglee
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Accepted Solution

dlethe earned 500 total points
ID: 39618706
If your HDDs are > 2TB or you have a RAID configuration where the usable is > 2TB then UEFI MUST be on if you want to be able to boot.

IF you want to use the hardware RAID (No, it is absolute crap, use host-based software RAID) then turn RAID on.

Otherwise set it to AHCI mode. This basically means I am running a modern operating system and I want the drivers to take advantage of all of the bells and whistles found in modern disk drives, like queuing and support for ATA commands that do I/Os in larger chunks.

There is a lot more to it than that, but bottom line you don't want the other settings unless you want to run MS-DOS on the machine, for example.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 39618709
P.S.  This is a one-way trip. They must be set before you install the O/S.  If you change them after the O/S is installed, the system won't boot.

Author Comment

ID: 39618713
On this server, I used to have 4 SATA hard drives (1TB each) connected to RocketRaid SATA controller doing RAID 5. But the raid went haywire and the tech support wanted to see the raid status on Windows. So I hooked up a separate HD into a SATA port on motherboard to install Windows 7. Then I sent to System BIOS to set the boot priority so that the server boots from Windows 7 instead of RocketRaid partition. That is when I saw so many options and got confused.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 39618717
You will easily get 2x - 3x better performance overall if you set to BIOS & AHCI and install on one drive.  Then convert to dynamic raid and use windows software RAID 1. The o/s will mirror the other drive in the background.

You can then create a software RAID1 for the other two disks.  Yes, you will  lose capacity, but gain in performance … and in system stability.

You do not want to do RAID5 unless you have a RAID controller with battery backup (on board the controller), and high end firmware.  The RocketRaid is not high-end. You have proof. it munged your data. Also you need to use enterprise class drives due to a TLER requirement (long story)

Author Comment

ID: 39618721
Thank you for your help.

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