Serial ATA hard drives, how many?

The mother board has, what appears to be, four available connectors for SATA devices. One of them is being used for the existing hard drive. Since I excelled in math in third grade, I have brilliantly deduced that there are three available connectors remaining.

Can I use all three, for a total of four?

It’s an Intel 915 chipset MB.
Win XP Home SP 2 Media Center Edition.
New system with all the goodies.

Yes, provided you have the data cables, SATA connectors (or adapters) for the power supply, and bays to mount the drives in. Typically the power supply is the gotcha, most have 1-2 SATA leads only, but splitters and PATA-SATA adapters exist.

      • With the last computer I put together, I wanted to run four separate hard drives. Initially during setup the onboard Promise RAID controller would allow using two regular non-RAID drives on it–until I updated the BIOS, and then it would not. The drives were no longer detected by the computer without the Promise controller set up, and the only Promise controller setup options available were for either RAID 0 or 1. The mobo’s instruction manual says nothing at all about running two non-RAID drives on the Promise controller. Apparently some controllers will do this, but this controller, as it is installed on this mobo will not.

(-The mobo came with some problems that the BIOS update was known to fix, so I had other reasons for doing the BIOS update. The board is an Athlon-64/939 MSI K8T Neo-2 FSR, FYI-)

…And as it happened, I ordered a $50 four-channel SATA controller card anyway, because I thought I would need it. And then for a while I felt dumb because everybody told me I wouldn’t, , , , -but it ended up I did need it. <:)

  • But anyway–if you hook up a nard drive to one of the “other two” connectors and the drive does not appear in “my computer” next time you reboot, then you need to go into the BIOS setup for the RAID controller and set it to the non-RAID sonfiguration, if there is one. If there is no non-RAID setting, then you need a drive controller card. 2-channels are like $35, 4-channels are maybe $50. -And I highly advise that your OS should be on the hard ddrive connected directly to the motherboard.

This shouldn’t really be a problem. My 300 watt PSU came with 8 5V leads. You should be fine.

My 480 watt thermaltake comes with far too many leads but it’s nice being able to power all 8 HDs/DVD-RAMs without having to daisy chain them. I also needed power for my 6800 and it’s nice not having to split a 5V.

You can also use SATA and PATA (IDE) together without an issue. I wouldn’t split too many 5V plugs though. Get a bigger PSU if you need more power.

A little confusing. ALL of the four SATA connectors are embedded in the MB.
The MB only has one IDE ribbon slot and that is being used by the two optical drives. The current HD is connected to one of the four embedded SATA connectors.
Is this a RAID setup or am I (or you) missing something?

I don’t think I’ll need any additional controllers, no?

      • Well, maybe we both are. I was speaking of using an additional controller card, in a PCI slot–it might be possible to install WinXP onto a drive that is itself on a controller card that requires device drivers to work, but you probably shouldn’t. Enterprise-level hardware can easily boot off a RAID array reliably, but with consumer-level hardware, you really want your OS drive hooked straight to the motherboard.
  • But even concerning the four onboard connectors already there: usually (with AMD boards) two near the CPU are only for running “normal” drives, and the other two set farther away are for the onboard RAID controller. Your RAID controller may or may not support “regular” disk use. You’d have to know the mobo specs to be sure.