I'm so tired of tinkering—today, PCIe—that I'm forgetting about computers and getting a $75 tablet

gospelmidi

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with a dual boot to some arcane O/S unknown even to Bulgarian hackers.

If I had known 40 years ago what I know today about wasted time, I would have never touched that first microcomputer. In fact, I should have known better than to start out tinkering with the cards in a DEC PDP 11/23 (with 64KB RAM and 14-inch removable platters holding a seemingly limitless 5MB, no less).

For at least a year, I've been trying to get Windows 8.1 and my trusty ASUS AMD M4A785-M m/b, with its (formerly) dusty PCIe 2.0 x 1 slot, to recognize a SATA III card—any 2-port, non-RAID, SATA III, PCIe 2.0 x 1 card, such as the HighPoint Rocket 620A, or the IoCrest (SYBA) ASM1061 SY-PEX40039, or you name it—in order to accelerate from 3.0 Gb/s (SATA II) to a gut-flattening 4.0 Gb/s (SATA III on PCIe 2.0 x 1).

Had I known PCIe would be this chancy, I should have bit the bullet and upgraded to a new ASUS AMD m/b with 8 GB of DDR3 (or DDR4), upgradeable to 16 GB, and an M2 SSD card with more than 111 GB. But even if that upgrade only cost $300, I would still have more time to waste than money to burn. What do you suggest? A SATA III PCIe card or a new build?
 

13thmonkey

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no reason why it shouldn't work, if everything is as you think it is.

Page x of the manual https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/M4A785M/HelpDesk_Manual/ suggests that it might just be a PCI-E1.n x1 and not PCI-E2.0 x1 given that the 2 is listed explicitly for the x16, but not for the x1. Nor is it on the website.
https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/M4A785M/specifications/

You might want to say what you have done? because your whole post could be condensed to 'more than 1 sata card doesn't work on my PCI-E x1 socket, on AMD M4A785-M', but my money is on it being a PCI-E1.1 x1 port.

As to a new build, wait for Ryzen (AMD's new arch) and then make a choice. Current AMD offerings are poor (hot and inefficient), but the new architecture might shake something loose.
 

Eximo

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Well, here shortly is a good time to upgrade to AMD's new platform. Might cost you a little more than three hundred. But that would get a new Ryzen CPU, DDR4, and a shiny AM4 motherboard with all the modern features.

Booting from add in PCIe cards on older motherboards is a fairly common problem. Usually they only work as secondary drives once the computer is booted into an OS.
 

Geekwad

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Getting new AIBs to work with older hardware can be very frustrating sometimes. What BIOS version is your board running currently?

https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/M4A785M/HelpDesk_Download/
 

13thmonkey

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no reason why it shouldn't work, if everything is as you think it is.

Page x of the manual https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/M4A785M/HelpDesk_Manual/ suggests that it might just be a PCI-E1.n x1 and not PCI-E2.0 x1 given that the 2 is listed explicitly for the x16, but not for the x1. Nor is it on the website.
https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/M4A785M/specifications/

You might want to say what you have done? because your whole post could be condensed to 'more than 1 sata card doesn't work on my PCI-E x1 socket, on AMD M4A785-M', but my money is on it being a PCI-E1.1 x1 port.

As to a new build, wait for Ryzen (AMD's new arch) and then make a choice. Current AMD offerings are poor (hot and inefficient), but the new architecture might shake something loose.
 

dgingeri

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Definitely a motherboard upgrade. That board doesn't have the slots to handle a 6Gb SATA controller no matter what you do. No PCIe 2.0 x1 card would have the bandwidth to handle it, and that chipset is more restricted internally than the slot interface would be. Plus, new AMD motherboards have many 6Gb SATA ports built in.

However, I advise to wait a bit. When Ryzen comes out, if and only if they prove to be proper competition for Intel, they could cause a big drop in motherboard and CPU prices. Wait until Ryzen is officially released to see if they'll be competition. If they do prove to be good processors, then wait for at least 2 more months, preferably 3 months, for the prices to drop. Then buy. If they do not prove to be good competition, then cut your losses and buy a low end Intel based system.
 

dgingeri

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PCIe 2.0 is only 5Gb/s per lane each way, so a single lane isn't capable of carrying a single SATA III interface properly, plus there is management overhead with the interface that only makes it a useful 4Gb/s transfer rate. (8/10b encoding, meaning only 80% of the interface speed actually carries the data.) No matter what the SATA interface is capable of carrying, it can't get into memory properly without a proper interface. It requires a PCIe 2.0 x4 or PCIe 3.0 x2 interface to properly support a 6Gb SATA controller. That's why so many addon chips on motherboards and addon card can't perform as well as AND's or Intel's integrated SATA III controllers. The bottleneck is at the interface.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express
 

13thmonkey

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All of which is irrelevant to the OP as the PCI-E2.0 x1 cards that he has access to don't work, not work slowly, but don't work.
 

13thmonkey

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Agreed, he doesn't even have 2.0x1 to work with.
 

gospelmidi

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WOW!!!! Who is paying for all this expert help? Is there a tip cup to leave a tip?

ASUS tech support is to tell me within 48 hours whether the PCIe x 1 slot is 2.0 or 1.x.

I got a breakthrough on this installation. The driver on the enclosed CD did not work, so I searched the IOCrest website for a new driver, which turned out to be an old driver. I searched the SYBA website for the SY-PEX40039 card and found no mention of it, using their site search. Then I used startpage dot com to search the web for an SY-PEX40039 driver. Behold! Startpage unearthed a driver file on the SYBA website that the SYBA site search either overlooked or didn't provide, a larger driver file than the one on the CD. This more extensive driver file had individual drivers for Sun OS, BEOS, a variety of Linux distros, and almost everything in between, INCLUDING an AMD driver.

After installing this AMD driver within Windows 8.1 x64 and restarting Windows, the ASMedia splash screen appeared after the AMD splash screen and before starting Windows. Windows 8.1 Device Manager now has "Asmedia 106x SATA Controller" under Storage Spaces (not under SCSI Controllers). "Details" for the Asmedia 106x device entry has PCI Link Speed = 00000002, PCI Link Width = 00000001, and Safe disconnect required = <false>, which all look good. A "scratch" HDD now appears under Disk Drives, and "Details" for this drive has Safe removal required = <true>, as one might expect for a physical hard disk drive. Windows Explerer sees the scratch HDD and accesses it with no problems, read or write.

Before installing the SATA III card, I blew out any dust that may have been in the x1 slot.

The latest ASUS M4A785-M BIOS, 1101, is installed. I have temporarily set "Plug and Play O/S" to "No", in order to force the BIOS to manage the selection of interrupts. All drives are set as AHCI.

I have not yet altered the boot configuration of the ASM1061 card. I expect that I may need to do that, in addition to specifying a drive attached to the ASM1061 card as the boot device in the ASUS Setup. After I do that and connect my boot SSD to the ASM1061 card , I will run ATTO or something similar and report the results, either < 300 MB/s (still... sigh), or something closer to 500 MB/s (I still hope), comparable to the speed of the SSD itself.

How 'bout those #1 Clemson Tigers?!?!
 

gospelmidi

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After installing an updated driver that enables the ASM1061 card to run on an AMD motherboard, I can see the card in Device Manager under "Storage controllers"; I can see the attached HDD under "Disk Drives"; and I can read from and write to the HDD. Now I need to know how to make that attached HDD the boot drive.

gospelmidi wrote:
"I have not yet altered the boot configuration of the ASM1061 card. I expect that I may need to do that, in addition to specifying a drive attached to the ASM1061 card as the boot device in the ASUS Setup."

How then do I modify the boot configuration of the ASM1061 card, and/or add an Asmedia command line to the startup commands by using msconfig? The ASUS setup lists the HDD connected to the Asmedia 1061 card as "IDE<drive_id>" but doesn't list that HDD among the choices to be the boot drive. "IDE<drive_id>" probably indicates that I need to change the Asmedia configuration from IDE to AHCI. So, given the token, one page "User Manual ver. 1.0," how do I access the Asmedia 1061 card configuration file?
 

gospelmidi

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That appears to be such a common deal-breaker that I marvel at so much interest in SATA III adapters for PCIe 2.0 x1 slots. Probably most buyers expect this cheap upgrade to speed up their boot SSD.
 


Have you tried slipstreaming the device drivers for the pcie card into your windows installation media? This way your drive will be seen by the installation media why you try to boot to it.

 

gospelmidi

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@SgtScream wrote, "Have you tried slipstreaming the device drivers for the pcie card into your windows installation media? This way your drive will be seen by the installation media [when] you try to boot to it."

@SgtScream, I'm quite certain only of that I have no idea of what you're talking about. I'm not installing Windows ATT; Windows is already installed on both the SSD (currently on SATA II on the m/b) and the HDD (currently on SATA III on the PCIe 2.0 x 1 card). I have installed the AMD driver for the Asmedia 1061 PCIe 2.0 x 1 card on the SSD copy of Windows 8.1, and I will do the same for the HDD copy of Windows 8.1 when I plug the HDD into a SATA II socket on the m/b and temporarily identify it as the boot drive in the AMD m/b system setup.

But none of that gets me into the Asmedia 1061 configuration utility, to identify a drive connected to that card as the boot drive, or at least as a potential boot drive which the AMD M4A785-M Setup can then select. Know how to do that? I'm looking for a howto. Because unless that is done, the computer does not recognize the 1061 card and its associated drive(s) until Windows 8.1 starts up and initializes the Asmedia 1061 Windows driver—much too late for the drive on the 1061 card to be the boot drive. For that to be the boot drive, the Asmedia 1061 card must be initialized long BEFORE its Windows driver lights it up—that is, back when the AMD M4A785-M and Asmedia 1061 splash screens appear.

Thank you for the ideas you offered. They are appreciated.
 

13thmonkey

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slipstreaming is the inclusion of software or drivers into another software package, typically and OS, typically windows, so if your mobo requires drivers without which it will not install windows at all then you would slipstream those drivers into the windows iso, and hence make them available during install. That won't help here.
 

gospelmidi

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I'm crediting 13thmonkey with the solution, not so much for a specific solution but because he kept bumping the discussion. His interest kept me me on task when I had all but given up.

So here are the results for a 3-year old Mushkin Chronos 120 GB SSD (std., 550/515 MB/s r/w) and a new IOCrest (SYBA) SY-PEX40039 SATA III PCIe 2.0 x 1 disk interface card, on a 4-year old ASUS M4A785-M AM2+ (AMD) motherboard, running Windows 8.1 x64.
[graphic of Atto benchmark]

When the Chronos SSD was attached to a SATA II port on the mobo, 1 MB or larger files transferred at about 275/250 MB/s (r/w).
Attached to a SATA III port on the IOCrest SY-PEX40039 PCIe 2.0 X 1 card, throughput jumped by almost half, to 402/342 MB/s (r/w).
The Mushkin Chronos 120GB SSD is the boot drive in both configurations. Boot-up is not much faster in the second configuration, because most of the time is spent downloading virus definitions and scanning for viruses.

For $15.66 plus tax at Amazon, I know of no better upgrade than the IOCrest SY-PEX40039. Some will point to the new M.2 NVMe SSDs, which roughly quadruple disk storage performance. But I don't know of any M.2 sticks selling for $15.66 plus tax... yet.
 

gospelmidi

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[Re: ASUS M4A785-M AMD motherboard.]
PCIe is version PCIe 1.0 slot and not a version 2.0
Please make note of your case number for future reference: =Nxxxxxxx
Regards,
Karthik C.
ASUS Technical Support
http://www.asus.com/us/support/

So there you go. While the x16 slot is PCIe 2.0, the x1 slot is PCIe 1.0.
And still the ASMedia PCIe x1 card gives me 402/342 MB/s r/w.
Adding 25% for the two bits per byte comms overhead, that is
503/428 MB/s r/w total throughput.
So I'm getting 500 MB/s as expected, EVEN WITH A PCIe 1.0 x 1 SLOT.

PCIe 1.0 x 1 slots are architecture-limited to 2.0 Gbps total throughput or 250 MB/s data.
The only way to make sense of that is to say that ASUS tech support has bad info.
 

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