Hotswap Docking bay on case.

xxwtfalexx

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Dec 2, 2011
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Hello,
I recently built a PC in a Rosewill Blackhawk Ultra case. The case comes with a "hot swap" dock at the top of the case. However, it is not functioning as a hotswap dock. It will not recognize an inserted drive unless I restart the computer.

Is there any setting I've overlooked that needs to be activated to enable this feature?

If it helps I'm using a gigabyte g1 assassin mobo.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 
Solution
Hotswap is supported in AHCI mode (or RAID mode, but let's not go there).

If you just change the port mode of the controller that the system drive is on, your system will fail to boot. For Win7, there's a single registry change that you can make, then shutdown, change the mode to AHCI, and restart. It will boot. So you could do that.

On the other hand, I don't think that SATA II will make any difference; mechanical HDDs can't saturate SATA II yet. Maybe the Momentus might run off the cache long enough for III to make a difference; I don't know.

The simplest case for you would be to change the southbridge ports to AHCI, move the dock to a southbridge port, and use hot-swap on that while you boot from the Marvell controller. This...
It sounds as if you're using an SATA port whose controller is still set to legacy IDE mode. This is the default mode, and it does not support hot swap. Wait while I look up your specs...

You have six southbridge SATA ports and two Marvell SATA ports. You could try setting the Marvell to SATA mode, and attaching said dock to the Marvell ports. This would eliminate the need to change the mode of the controllers in the southbridge that are controlling your boot drive. But I've had bad luck with hotswap on Marvell.

The problem is, if you switch the southbridge controllers to AHCI your system will not boot. The low-level drivers in your Windows installation will be trying to read from an IDE device and not finding one. If this is Win7, there's a simple registry hack to fix this.

So. What version of the OS are you running? Which ports are the OS drive and the dock attached to on the motherboard? And are the SATA ports set to IDE or AHCI mode? With that information, we can go further.
 

xxwtfalexx

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Dec 2, 2011
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Thank you for your response.

Currently the drive I boot from and the hot swap dock are both attached to the marvell ports as the marvell ports support SATA III. (I have a momentus XT 750gb hybrid)

The southbridge ports have no hard drives attached to them, just Optical drives.

I am running Windows 7 and I believe that both controllers are set to IDE mode.
In BIOS the following is shown:

ICH SATA Control Mode: [IDE] (presumably the southbridge)
GSATA3 6_7/IDE Ctrl Mode: [IDE] (presumably the Marvell)

Both of them have the following options:
[IDE] - Enable SATA as IDE function
[RAID(XHD)] - Enable SATA as RAID(XHD) function
[ACHI] - Enabe SATA as AHCI function.


I believe those are my controllers and that is where I would change it.
If there is another option in BIOS I should be looking at me please tell me.
 
Hotswap is supported in AHCI mode (or RAID mode, but let's not go there).

If you just change the port mode of the controller that the system drive is on, your system will fail to boot. For Win7, there's a single registry change that you can make, then shutdown, change the mode to AHCI, and restart. It will boot. So you could do that.

On the other hand, I don't think that SATA II will make any difference; mechanical HDDs can't saturate SATA II yet. Maybe the Momentus might run off the cache long enough for III to make a difference; I don't know.

The simplest case for you would be to change the southbridge ports to AHCI, move the dock to a southbridge port, and use hot-swap on that while you boot from the Marvell controller. This would be an unusual setup; most people boot from the southbridge controllers, but so what.

If you do it the other way around, let me know the results. I don't know if the Marvell controllers support hot swap or not.

A note on hotswap. I have found that if I boot the machine with a drive present, even if that drive is hotswappable, I cannot remove it. Only if I connected the drive after the system was started up. Always use the Safely Remove Hardware widget to ensure that drive buffers are flushed.

(final note - some people will tell you that you can remove a drive at any time if you turn off write cacheing in the OS. Probably true, but not a risk that I have taken.)
 
Solution

xxwtfalexx

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Dec 2, 2011
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thanks for all the information.
I do actually plan to set up a raid configuration some time in the future.
(Sorry for throwing that out there suddenly).
Any thoughts or ideas on how that may affect my hotswap? Anything I should know? I intended to run either both controllers or atleast the southbridge controllers (more ports) in RAID 5.

I tend to partition my drives into Boot/programs and media. So i thought I'd keep the Marvell as my boot controllers and southbridge for my media.

Is there any particular reason southbridge is prefered to Marvell for boot?

You mentioned that there is a registry change that can be made. Could you point me towards this? It would be good information to have for future reference. (and so that i could possibly test the dock on the marvell controller)

I will keep your notes about hotswap in mind as I use it. I do tend to use the remove hardware for most things just to be on the safe side.

Lot of questions, sorry but thank you for the guidance and patience with me.
 
thanks for all the information.
I do actually plan to set up a raid configuration some time in the future.
(Sorry for throwing that out there suddenly).
Any thoughts or ideas on how that may affect my hotswap? Anything I should know? I intended to run either both controllers or atleast the southbridge controllers (more ports) in RAID 5.


You can't have a RAID with drives on both the Marvell and the host ports. In this case, save the host ports for RAID.

I tend to partition my drives into Boot/programs and media. So i thought I'd keep the Marvell as my boot controllers and southbridge for my media.
See, that's just what my response was. Except that I am a strong believer in not using any RAID level unless there is a strong need that can't be met without it, or you just want to fiddle with it. One of my long-winded rants on the topic can be seen here - never mind, all the ones I found were against RAID0.

Is there any particular reason southbridge is prefered to Marvell for boot?
Well, it's "closer" to the CPU and there is less bus overhead, but the difference, if it exists, is pretty darned small. It's more like common practice. After all, is there any good reason why buttons on men's shirts are on the right and buttons on women's shirts are on the left?

You mentioned that there is a registry change that can be made. Could you point me towards this? It would be good information to have for future reference. (and so that i could possibly test the dock on the marvell controller)
Try this: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/61869-ahci-enable-windows-7-vista.html . It involves a small risk; make a backup first.

I will keep your notes about hotswap in mind as I use it. I do tend to use the remove hardware for most things just to be on the safe side.

Lot of questions, sorry but thank you for the guidance and patience with me.

No stress, that's what we're here for. Besides, I might finally learn if the Marvell can support hot-swap.