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Getting AHCI to work on Windows 8

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Getting AHCI to work on Windows 8

Postby feline1 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:56 am

My main desktop PC is a very nice box that Scan built for me a few years ago, and it generally works great... but being an inveterate tinkerer, I will keep fiddling with it and trying to pimp it up more.

I installed Windows 8 Pro 64 bit on it in November (on a new bigger Corsair Neutron GTX SSD SATA3 system drive), and it's working very nicely for me.

But, I then read that my SATA3 drive will go twice as fast if I can enable "AHCI" mode in my BIOS instead of "IDE" mode... so I duly go into the BIOS and change it ... only to find that Windows hangs at the boot screen now. Tsk. (Easy to roll back, of course ... but now AHCI mode hangs tantalisingly over the horizon, taunting me with its unreachableness).

The problem appears to be that, unless you install Windows with AHCI mode switched on in the first place, Windows doesn't load an AHCI driver at boot time.

You could fix this in Windows 7 with a registry tweak, but and whilst the Interweb's suggest a slightly renamed key tweak to do the same in Windows 8, it's not working for me (I notice I'm not the only one on line who find this)

Getting into the nitty gritty of my motherboard, it's a Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R (rev. 2.0) Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R (rev. 2.0) ...
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Re: Getting AHCI to work on Windows 8

Postby feline1 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:02 am

(looks like this http://uk.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3449 )
It has 8(!) SATA ports on the board. All of them are SATA2, except a pair which are SATA3 and have a different Marvel controller.
Scan had built it with the SSD system drive and BluRay drive plugged into a SATA2, and a big spinning platter D: drive on a SATA3 port.

So, I wanted to try and move the new SSD drive onto the spare SATA3 port too - which works, but only will boot if in 'IDE mode'.

Anyone any tips for getting Windows 8 to switch to AHCI?

And also - the thing is, the motherboard's SATA2 ports WILL switch to AHCI (which use a microsoft driver), but not the SATA3 port (with the Marvel controller).

So if I can't get the SATA3 port to go AHCI, which will be quicker: a SATA2 port in AHCI mode, or a SATA3 port in IDE mode?
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Re: Getting AHCI to work on Windows 8

Postby feline1 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:02 am

Hmm... so after some help on Gigabyte's forum, it basically turns out: the Marvel 9128 SATA3 controller turned out to be a turkey. It doesn't work properly with AHCI, the drivers are pants, and neither Marvel nor Gigabyte ever provided a fix. Many people who bought a motherboard incorporating it just had to accept it didn't work. Meh.
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Re: Getting AHCI to work on Windows 8

Postby Pete Kaine » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:52 am

Hmmm... What was the original SSD, was it a sata 2 drive originally?

Yeah, the Marvell controller did turn out to be a bit rough, but it was the controller of choice for all the main motherboards (asus, gigabyte Msi and even some Intel) up until the generation after those where Intel took it native and sorted it all out. Annoying case of early adopter syndrome!

The are some newer drivers and a firmware that may apply on http://www.station-drivers.com/page/marvell.htm near the bottom (do a page search for "9128") that may or may not improve things. The are 2 different AHCI settings in the bios with the intel controller being where you expect it to be and the Marvel one is hiden under another menu. I can't recall the name of it but I do recall it's under the first drop down on the far left in the bios under something like system info or something else you may not suspect. You may already know this, but I'm just covering what I can from memory.

An add in sata 3 card may give a better result if all else fails.
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Re: Getting AHCI to work on Windows 8

Postby feline1 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:15 pm

Hi Pete!
Pete Kaine wrote:Hmmm... What was the original SSD, was it a sata 2 drive originally?


I can't recall, I think it was an Intel 128GB, it's inside my Akai MPC4000 now! Scan fitted it to one of the Intel SATA2 ports, only the Western Digital spinning platter hard drive was connected the SATA3 originally.

Pete Kaine wrote:The are some newer drivers and a firmware that may apply on http://www.station-drivers.com/page/marvell.htm near the bottom (do a page search for "9128") that may or may not improve things. The are 2 different AHCI settings in the bios with the intel controller being where you expect it to be and the Marvel one is hiden under another menu. I can't recall the name of it but I do recall it's under the first drop down on the far left in the bios under something like system info or something else you may not suspect. You may already know this, but I'm just covering what I can from memory.


Yes, the Marvel port has its own BIOS setting. I think I used the latest driver and controller firmware that Gigabyte supplied, but I guess it won't do any harm to try those ones too.
[/quote]

Pete Kaine wrote:An add in sata 3 card may give a better result if all else fails.

Oh, can you get those for PCI slots?
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Re: Getting AHCI to work on Windows 8

Postby Pete Kaine » Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:32 pm

Hello!


feline1 wrote:
I can't recall, I think it was an Intel 128GB, it's inside my Akai MPC4000 now! Scan fitted it to one of the Intel SATA2 ports, only the Western Digital spinning platter hard drive was connected the SATA3 originally.


Yeah, I was trying to work out in my mind why that would be. Depending on when you go it the SSD's from that era might still have been Sata 2, where the mechanicals claimed to be Sata3 althrough you'll only hit that coming from the cache rather than stright off the drive but it might still have been in mind when they did it. I was just trying to get inside the thought process of whoever put it together!

feline1 wrote:
Yes, the Marvel port has its own BIOS setting. I think I used the latest driver and controller firmware that Gigabyte supplied, but I guess it won't do any harm to try those ones too.


They helped someone else a few months ago but it may have been situation specfic. Perhaps worth making sure your SSD is on the latest firmware but I don't expect it to make any vast difference at this stage.

feline1 wrote:
Pete Kaine wrote:An add in sata 3 card may give a better result if all else fails.

Oh, can you get those for PCI slots?


Yeah, but after a quick hunt I don't think we have any left. If you Google up "pci sata 3" the are still a few options available still from a number of suppliers. The other option is if you have a spare GFX card slot you could mount a PCI-E one into it if you have no other plans for it.
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Re: Getting AHCI to work on Windows 8

Postby feline1 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:39 pm

In the end, I just put my SSD system drive, spinning platter data drive, and my optical drive all on their own SATA2 channel, all in AHIC mode. And they all work fine. SATA3 will have to wait for a mobo upgrade!
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