In article <de0bo4$nn0$1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "John
Smith" <Me@xxxxxx> wrote:

> I'm about to build a system using an ASUS P5GPL motherboard with 120gb WD
> SATA drive, i'll be installing XP home with SP2. Does the setup need SATA
> drivers as part of the Windows installation (The F6 step), if so where
> exacly are they on the CD.
> Thanks
> Ian P.

I think vanilla SATA doesn't need a driver on an Intel Southbridge.
(This doesn't apply to all Southbridges, so a user must research
each case as they come up.) In addition, if your Southbridge
supported RAID and you enabled it, you would need to F6 a RAID
driver at install time, but since you don't have RAID, that is
not an issue.

The SATA looks like a PCI mapped IDE drive (when the interface is
set to Enhanced), and the claim is, Win2K/WinXP can handle that on
their own.

When the interface is set to Compatible, it gets even better, as
depending on which pair or pair(s) of SATA interfaces you enable,
they look like I/O mapped IDE interfaces. That allows an older OS
to have drivers, even though that old OS doesn't know what SATA is.
The older OS will think the drives are PATA drives, and perhaps
even call them master and slave.

The downside of Compatible mode, is only four of six drives can
be operated at one time (i.e. four SATA, two pata + two SATA).
That is because legacy IDE had only two PATA cables for four
drives, and the Compatible mode cannot invent resources not
present in the old days. (Only IRQ14 and IRQ15 for the two
cables etc.)

Using Compatible might even be a solution if you want to multiboot,
as you could leave the setting alone, and both old and new OSes
could be happy with four of six disk interfaces as I/O mapped IDE.
Basically, you would be throwing away room for two drives,
in order to not have to mess with the BIOS every time you
boot a different OS.

To read about this for yourself, try this Intel doc (PDF pg. 13).
It may help fill in the cracks when you read the Asus manual.

"(AHCI) Programmers Reference Manual (PRM)"

Also, when using "Onboard IDE Operate Mode" [Enhanced] in the
Asus BIOS, leave "Enhanced Mode Support On" set to [SATA]. If
you use the other two settings, the disks will operate in slower
modes than they should. "Onboard IDE Operate Mode" [Enhanced]
will make all six drives available for WinXP, and the [SATA]
setting is appropriate, even if you want to use two PATA
drives. In other words, Asus has baited a trap, so don't
fall in :-)