We may NOT be able to switch AHCI mode to IDE mode.


After easily switching "Compatible" mode to "Native PCI",
I tackled the task of switching AHCI over to "Native PCI".

I haven't given up yet, but my initial impression is that doing 
this may be highly chipset specific. The PCI enumeration of my 
motherboard in AHCI mode is more different than I expected 
compared with IDE mode.

This machine has a Series 6/C200 chipset, and I have the 
detailed datasheet for it (which goes well beyond the AHCI 
standard.)  So I'm going to learn about it to see whether I
can understand what I'm seeing... and whether it might apply 
somewhat more generally.

In AHCI mode:

> Bus# Device Fnc Clas PgIf  Type  Vendor Device Programming Interface
> ---- ------ --- ---- ---- ------ ------ ------ --------------------------------
>   0    31    2  0106  01   AHCI   8086   1C02   Supports non-AHCI legacy modes 

In IDE mode:

>   0    31    2  0101  8F   IDE    8086   1C00   Native PCI      Native PCI     
>   0    31    5  0101  85   IDE    8086   1C08   Native PCI      Native PCI     

Steve... working on SpinRite v6.1 https://www.grc.com/dev/sr6.1/
7/6/2013 9:16:40 PM
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On 7/6/2013 3:16 PM, Steve Gibson wrote:

[See Steve's post above]

Could this have anything to do with the fact that IDE only supports two 
drives per cable, while as we have seen AHCI can support at least 6 
drives (where the cable and master/slave concepts effectively go away)? 
I don't know at what point the two drive (master/slave) limit per "IDE 
cable" comes into the IDE protocol, but perhaps the chipset is 
presenting two IDE interfaces so you can address all the drives you see 
with AHCI.

7/7/2013 6:47:55 AM
[for the unabridged version, see Milton Scritsmier's post above]

> [See Steve's post above]
> Could this have anything to do with the fact that IDE only
> supports two drives per cable, while as we have seen AHCI
> can support at least 6 drives (where the cable and master/slave
> concepts effectively go away)?  I don't know at what point the
> two drive (master/slave) limit per "IDE cable" comes into the
> IDE protocol, but perhaps the chipset is presenting two IDE
> interfaces so you can address all the drives you see with AHCI.

Yes, that's it exactly.

The AHCI specification provides for up to 32 SATA "ports" per 
controller. However, when ANY AHCI controller is operating in 
its "legacy" mode, it appears as a primary AND a secondary ATA 
IDE controller, each with a master and a slave device. So it can 
then ONLY support up to four SATA drives.

In the present case of Intel's Series 6 /C200 chipset, the AHCI 
controller supports SIX SATA ports.  So if the AHCI controller 
is going to be operating in legacy mode, it needs some help from 
another controller to support the other two ports.  And that's 
what's going on.  In legacy mode, a secondary controller that 
only supports Native PCI mode is enabled and appears in the PCI 
I/O space.

Steve... working on SpinRite v6.1 https://www.grc.com/dev/sr6.1/
7/7/2013 5:02:49 PM

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