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Thread: Z77 Extreme6 motherboard mounted eSATA connector has problems, drive disconnects




  1. #1
    scn101 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Z77 Extreme6 motherboard mounted eSATA connector has problems, drive disconnects

    I'm hoping that either I can save someone some of the headaches I've gone through, or perhaps, someone can figure out a fix to this issue.

    z77, Extreme6, i7-3770k, 16GB DDR3, 4x 500GB 7200.12 Seagates in RAID5, Windows 8, bios v2.30.

    The issue is with the motherboard mounted eSATA port (which is connected to the ASMedia SATA3_A2 port on the MB). Using an external Seagate 7200.12 500GB drive in a SATA cradle, the drive is sometimes recognized, sometimes not when I power on the cradle. Often it is recognized in My Computer or Windows Disk Mgmt when first powered on but will soon (after a few seconds) disappear, reappear, disappear. Sometimes it is stable for a while, most of the time it isn't. As a test I connected an eSATA to SATA bracket/cable assembly to the PC and the SATA cable ends to the MB ASMedia ports, SATA3_A1 and SATA3_A2. The drive is now always recognized when I turn on the eSATA cradle power connected to either SATA3_A1 or SATA3_A2 via the eSATA to SATA PC bracket/cables. Same SATA cradle, same SATA drive, same eSATA cable, etc., with the only difference that I'm not using the MB eSATA SATA3_A2 connector. Also note that my laptop has zero issues with my eSATA drive, cradle, etc.

    So I figure there's something wrong with the MB eSATA connector and I swap the board at the store I bought it from (a PITA for sure). No change in behavior.

    I've tried disabling SATA Aggressive Link Management in the BIOS (which I'm now leaving disabled unless someone gives me a good reason I should enable it) and I've turned off the Windows power option to spin down the drives after xx minutes. The best I can figure is that the MB mounted eSATA port is simply not reliable.

    I'm ok using an external eSATA bracket but am disappointed that the MB eSATA port is defective (or so it seems by all my testing).

    If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. Otherwise, if you're experiencing issues with your eSATA drive, you may want to use a cable converter like the one I'm using if you want eSATA, Newegg.com - Nippon Labs eSATA Bracket Two SATA II internal cable to 2 port ESATA bracket for SATA I and SATA II Hard Drive Model ESATAB-2P

    UPDATE: I tried copying a 44GB folder made up of 16 large files to the drive in the eSATA cradle plugged into the PC eSATA bracket plugged into the ASMedia SATA3_A2 (the port shared with the MB eSATA port). The drive repeatedly disconnected from the system after only a few seconds of transfer, I tried several times, always failed. I then tried the same folder using the same PC eSATA bracket plugged into the ASMedia SATA_A1 port (this port is not shared with anything else on the MB) and it failed at ~30GB (drive disconnected). A second attempt worked (with a respectable 125MB/sec transfer rate).

    My only conclusion is that the ASMedia SATA ports are marginal at best (SATA3_A1 is hopeful, A2 is useless-i.e. the port shared with MB eSATA connector). I'm using ASMedia driver v1.3.8.

    I hope this can be fixed by ASRock.
    Last edited by scn101; 12-02-2012 at 07:35 AM. Reason: Further testing causes me to believe the ASMedia SATA ports are marginal at best

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Z77 Extreme6 motherboard mounted eSATA connector has problems, drive disconnects

    Have you considered the cable you're using might be the culprit? Ok, yea, maybe just in/on the MB's rear port. But still, I didn't read where you swapped the actual cable.

    E-Sata I know upside down, inside and out. Most issues like you describe are usually cable related. Inexpensive cables that come bundled with a product like a dock, well, IMHO, ....... the box they shipped in are worth more than the cable. If you're using a cable that came bundled with an inexpensive product, please do consider buying a name brand cable.

    My goto cables are Addonics AAESATA100C and the now discontinued AAESATA200C. The Startech ones available on NewEgg and elsewhere are decent quality too. Yea, both brands are more costly than most, you rarely see them discounted, rarely with free shipping, and unless the device you purchased was over $200 they're not bundled either. Butt they're as dependable and as reliable as the day is long.
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  3. #3
    parsec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Z77 Extreme6 motherboard mounted eSATA connector has problems, drive disconnects

    My Z77 EX4 board has "SATA3_A1 connector is shared with eSATA3 port", and yours does say SATA3_A2. I wonder what "shares" means, as in your case it seems the opposite of what the spec states.

    This is from my boards manual: *** eSATA3 connector supports SATA Gen3 in cable 1M.

    A one meter cable is kinda short, is yours longer? I believe the eSATA spec is two meters maximum, or less. True or false, Wardog?

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    Default Re: Z77 Extreme6 motherboard mounted eSATA connector has problems, drive disconnects

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    My Z77 EX4 board has "SATA3_A1 connector is shared with eSATA3 port", and yours does say SATA3_A2. I wonder what "shares" means, as in your case it seems the opposite of what the spec states.
    From the Z77 Extreme6 Online Manual
    Code:
    If the eSATA3 port on the rear I/O has been
    connected, the internal SATA3_A2 will not funtion.
    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    This is from my boards manual: *** eSATA3 connector supports SATA Gen3 in cable 1M.
    As does my ASRock 990FX Extreme4 manual. Yet my Gigabyte UD5 manual makes no recommendation as to E-Sata 6Gb/s cable length.

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    A one meter cable is kinda short, is yours longer? I believe the eSATA spec is two meters maximum, or less. True or false, Wardog?
    Cable length is indeed spec'd at 2m, maximum length, and again assuming a shielded cable of suitable quality and construction is used while external influences are minimized. Inside our case the cabling is "shielded' by the case itself. Move that cable outside the case as E-Sata does and it now becomes subject to the many external influences/interferences our homes and many "must have' devices emit. What my home exhibits for influences/interference or lack thereof is no way representative of what yours may or may not exhibit, thus I believe why the 1m length is declared in the manuals. If you will, one of those manufacturer "Cover your a**" statements.

    In essence, outside the case the cable becomes an antenna for EMI and RFI. Controllers do not like dealing with EMI and RFI interrupted, degraded, and or corrupted data streams. The shorter the cable the less chance for it to occur in the first place.

    hehe, and the strange part is they, when mounted on the motherboard proper, are tied to a single PCI-e lane rated at 5Gb/s. Slot mounted add-on cards, with the exception of PCI-e x1 cards, aren't limited.
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    scn101 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Z77 Extreme6 motherboard mounted eSATA connector has problems, drive disconnects

    I really don't think the issue is with my hardware setup since:

    - the eSATA cable (which is 1 meter), drive, and drive cradle all work fine with my other PC and on my laptop (never any issue with either for 2 years now)
    - the setup seems to work when connected to SATA3_A1 through my PC slot eSATA to SATA converter (I did a 300GB backup that ran w/o problems)
    - the setup fails (drive is recognized but disconnects, reappears, disconnects, etc.) when connected to the PC slot eSATA to SATA converter connected to SATA3_A2 and also fails when connected to the eSATA MB connector which is also internally connected to SATA3_A2. And this is with a slower SATAII link, I think SATAIII could be worse.

    I think I've eliminated all variables in my setup. I really think there is something wrong on, at least on the z77 extreme6 board, with its eSATA MB connector. Since I've tried two MBs I don't think I could have got two bad MBs in a row.

    I'd appreciate anyone that could try their MB mounted eSATA port (do a large file transfer) to see if they have issue or not.

    It would be great to hear from ASRock on this issue too!

  6. #6
    parsec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Z77 Extreme6 motherboard mounted eSATA connector has problems, drive disconnects

    wardog, I certainly agree with all you wrote.

    Regarding the add on PCIe cards that may use a Marvell or ASMedia SATA chip, all of the Marvell 912x chips can only be connected to one PCIe lane, regardless of the type of PCIe interface they use. That is also one PCIe lane shared between two SATA ports. That is the basic problem with the Marvell 912x SATA chips performance, and the ASMedia seems to be the same.

    Some of the Marvell 912x chips support RAID. Can you imagine the result with two SSDs in RAID 0, sharing one PCIe lane at 5Gb/s? Besides their combined capacity, the performance will be terrible.

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    Default Re: Z77 Extreme6 motherboard mounted eSATA connector has problems, drive disconnects

    Quote Originally Posted by scn101 View Post
    I'd appreciate anyone that could try their MB mounted eSATA port (do a large file transfer) to see if they have issue or not.
    Wait a sec here. Is your problem that it fails, ie "when first powered on but will soon (after a few seconds) disappear, reappear, disappear. Sometimes it is stable for a while, most of the time it isn't." and "the setup fails (drive is recognized but disconnects, reappears, disconnects, etc.)" or this new one, that you cannot perform large transfers, ie "I'd appreciate anyone that could try their MB mounted eSATA port (do a large file transfer) to see if they have issue or not." ????

    Give a link to the external device and the HD('s RAID'ed?) it holds at the end of your cable please. And the installed driver ver for the ASM1061.
    #1 - Please, when seeking help, enter the make and model of ALL parts that your system is comprised of in your Signature, or at least the model #'s in your System Specs, then "Save' it.
    ____If you are overclocking, underclocking, or undervolting any parts, informing us of this and their values would prove beneficial in helping you.

    #2 - G.Skill RAM Configurator for your boardSamsung Memory for your boardLatest AMD Chipset Drivers/WindowsLatest AMD Graphics Drivers/WindowsLatest Intel Drivers

    #3 - Please use the eXtreme Outer Vision Power Supply Calculator found HERE to determine if it might be your PSU at issue.
    ____Consider your PSU to be the foundation from which all else is built upon. Anything built upon a weak foundation is poorly built.

  8. #8
    scn101 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Z77 Extreme6 motherboard mounted eSATA connector has problems, drive disconnects

    Thanks for your response. Summary is like this:

    - external single drive HDD eSATA dock plugged into MB eSATA port - recognized by BIOS and but is not stable under Windows as the drive appears, disappears, appears, etc. under Windows.
    - same dock/drive/eSATA cable connected to eSATA to SATA PC bracket cable converter connected to SATA3_A2 (port shared by MB eSATA connector) the situation is better. Windows drive appears but will soon disconnect under file transfer.
    - same dock/drive/eSATA cable connected to eSATA to SATA PC bracket cable converter connected to SATA3_A1 the seems to be fine so far.

    I am running the latest ASMedia 1.3.8 driver.

    My question/request was: Has anyone been able to connect an external eSATA drive to the MB eSATA connector and transfer large (backups, etc) files to the drive without problems? I've read some posts on this site that indicate there are drive disconnect issues such as mine using various ASRock MBs.

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    scn101 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Z77 Extreme6 motherboard mounted eSATA connector has problems, drive disconnects


  10. #10
    scn101 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Z77 Extreme6 motherboard mounted eSATA connector has problems, drive disconnects

    I received the new dock: Amazon.com: Uspeed Superspeed USB 3.0 & eSATA to SATA External Hard Drive Docking Station for 2.5 or 3.5in HDD with USB 3.0 Cable and eSATA Cable (Chipsets: ASM1051+ASM1453): Computers & Accessories and I plugged it into the MB's eSATA connection and I'm pleased to say that it worked flawlessly. I did a 325GB backup and tested the image and it passed. No drive disconnects. The old Cables Unlimited dock works fine in SATA2_A1 and all other computers that I have but not in the shared ASRock SATA3_2 port. The new dock works well in the shared SATA3_2 port. My guess is that the SATA3_2 port, being shared between two connectors, may be somewhat more sensitive to signal integrity and the new dock must simply be better.

    I highly recommend the Uspeed dock for those that might be having a similar issue with their MB eSATA port.
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