[conspire] Problem accessing SATA controller

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Nov 6 00:20:29 PST 2007

Quoting Mark S Bilk (mark at cosmicpenguin.com):

> The 300 GB disk -- Seagate ST3300831AS -- isn't seen either, 
> everything is the same as with the 500 GB.

(Logically, this means only that you haven't confirmed your hypothesis
about the effect that a correspondent was quoted in the sata.add about.
I'm not being critical; I'm just trying to help prevent jumping to any

> dmesg does have the line "SCSI subsystem initialized" during 
> kernel bootup.  Maybe without the Sil3112 driver installed yet, 
> the controller chip doesn't get initialized.

So, the way it's _supposed_ to work is:  The kernel monitors the stream
of data reported to it by (among other things) the motherboard's PCI
controller chip.  As the latter reports PCI devices it has registered,
the kernel compares their PCI IDs against a list it has (upstream copy
of that list:  http://pciids.sourceforge.net/).  That list is a lookup
table:  For each "known" PCI ID in that list, the kernel has a
corresponding driver.  Upon seeing such an ID, it modprobes that driver.

> The BIOS doesn't see the disk either....

This is interpretation, on your part, and not useful.  It would be a
great deal more useful if you would report raw data, instead.

> ...but there's no mention in the BIOS manual about anything SATA.

I'm completely unclear on what you were hoping to find.  I suspect
you're going off on a wild goose-chase, here.

> I'll check to see if there's a later motherboard BIOS version.

And here, too.

> Anyone know of a nice cheap, e.g., $30, PCI-SATA controller card 
> that's well supported in Linux, and maybe even sold in Fry's?

Have you considered the possibility that the -- what, 2.6.9? -- default
kernel in your SUSE 9.3 might just be too old?  What happens if you
cross-check using your choice of modern live CD?

On the other hand:

> I should upgrade to an AMD 64X2 6400, but that would probably
> cost about $800 all told and a lot of research time.  Half 
> my memory crapped out last week, so I'm down to one 1GB stick,
> running non-interleaved, so slower, but it's still usable.
> I want to install openSuSE 10.3 with that 500 GB SATA disk
> (which the 10.3 installer doesn't see either). 

openSUSE 10.3 seems likely to use a _very_ modern kernel, so maybe you
do have a hardware (or hardware-configuration) problem.

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