Blast from the Past - The Mysterious SATA Ports that Won't Work

Dec 8, 2019
Let me preface this by saying - I don't expect much, this is all probably a shot in the dark that's a waste of time, but I need to up my post count here and this is something that's bugged me for years.

Hopefully this is in the correct forum.

The scene:
I have a little crap-box Cisnet tower that I've had for a while. I've done work to it over the last decade as I've learned about computing, like putting 2gb of RAM in it, upgrading the CPU to an Athlon 64 3200+, and other little minor things. I've upgraded the BIOS too, which was probably a mistake. It's good enough for a small web or game server here and there when my normal quadcore board is busy (or down... ugh)

The board is branded as an ASUS board: K8VMX/S, which is apparently equivalent to a Fujitsu-Siemens D1711 board. The BIOS it currently has on it is the most recent D1711 BIOS from 2006 or so, that I managed to scrounge up from some dark net Ukranian site that went offline a while ago. And before you ask, the "official" Cisnet BIOS has long since been lost to the sands of time.

The problem:
I'm currently limited to IDE drives only. Obviously, this leaves me in a pinch as storage options go, and it's slow storage at that. However, the motherboard does have two SATA ports available on it, labeled SATA1 and SATA2. Surely if the ports were added, the motherboard must have support for SATA drives, right?!

I can't access them no matter what I do. Drives attached to them don't spin up, don't appear in BIOS, Windows Device Manager or any Linux drive listings, hell there's not even any BIOS options for anything relating to SATA as far as I know (although, it has be been a few months since I've looked at this machine in-depth, there may be something I've missed).

So, I'm not sure whether they're just vestigial plugs that got added to a board that doesn't support them, I screwed the pooch by upgrading to an "unofficial" BIOS version, or if things are just plain broken. Again, this isn't a critical fix, but more a labor of love for an old machine that was my first real entry into the PC realm.

Any insight that the Wise Ones are able to give is greatly appreciated.
  • Interface
    ATA-100, Serial ATA-300
  • Connector(s)
    2 x 40pin IDC, 2 x 7pin Serial ATA
  • Supported Devices Qty
    2, 4
  • RAID (Level)
    RAID 0 / RAID 1 / JBOD
Ah, that's the old thread I remember finding! Thanks for that, and the spec list too.

All of those links are dead unfortunately. But knowing the BIOS number differences does help a bit if I get lucky and find some.

I think the SATA-300 only support may be an issue. I only have newer SATA-600 drives, although theoretically they should autorange to SATA-300 if it's supported right?
Resurrecting an old post, sorry for this.

No, this is a Sata 150 controller and an especially crappy one. Sata II proper might not work on this.
You're fine PlanDreaM, I just parked the project over winter break because of other issues. It's not a high priority.

Is there actually a difference between the "SATA-150/300/600" and "SATA I/II/III" designations? As I understand it using the "150" designation was just another term for the SATA I specification, since SATA-I runs at 150MB/s transfer rate.

I may try to dig up some older SATA drives and see if they work, or force one of these newer drives into SATA-I or SATA-II mode via jumpers if possible.
Another bit of thread necroing again.

The VIA 8237 south bridge on your motherboard doesn't implement the auto-negotiation feature correctly, so SATA II and newer drives don't work unless they're forced to SATA I speeds.

To answer your other question the official product designations for the different SATA revisions are SATA 1.5Gb/s, SATA 3.0Gb/s, and SATA 6.0gb/s. Unofficially, SATA-150 and SATA I are the same as SATA 1.5Gb/s and so on.