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PPC - Peripherals - SiI for Serial ATA

Pre-requisites and Limitations

It is important that you read and understand this section BEFORE you install your SiI3112, SiI3114 or SiI3512 card, so as to avoid problems during the installation and disappointment later when things don't work as expected.

The pre-requisites and limitations identified for the SiI3112, SiI3114 and SiI3512 Serial ATA cards are:

  • The 2 x 460mm Serial ATA cables supplied with the cards were bright red with a small black connector at each end, and are a lot stiffer than ribbon cables or round cables.

    Unlike parallel ATA-133 cables there must be one Serial ATA cable per drive - there is no primary/slave concept, and the supplied cables were more than long enough to reach the hard drive bays for the two hard drives.

    Also supplied are two power adapter cables, one end of which plugs into the drive and the other into an existing Molex connector (the usual 4 pin power socket found on Parallel ATA drives).

    The on-board VIA bus was retained for the CD and DVD drives, the result being fairly tidy as you can seen by the picture.

  • The AmigaOS 4.0 kernel must be version 51.15 or greater. (The latest is 51.3 for AmigaOS 4.0 Update #3.)

  • The following instructions apply to the SiI3112, SiI3114, or SiI3512 driver software installed with AmigaOS 4.0 Update #3, which is version 51.43, hereafter described as SiISATA.

  • Your kicklayout file must contain "nonvolatile.library.kmod" (50.2+) and "nvram.resource.kmod" in order for the appropriate siiSATAide.device to access the environment variables specified in U-Boot, otherwise it will use default values.

  • OS4 can use the VIA ports if "a1ide.device" is in your AmigaOS 4.0 kicklayout file and it can use the SiISATA ports if the appropriate "siiSATAide.device" is in your AmigaOS 4.0 kicklayout file. The a1ide.device and any of the siiSATAide.devices can work together without any problems. If you don't have anything connected to the VIA IDE ports, or just don't want AmigaOS 4.0 to use whatever is connected there, you can remove a1ide.device from your kicklayout file. The same applies for the SiI680 IDE ports and sii0680ide.device. However, removing a1ide.device means that it is more difficult to revert back to using the onboard PCI ports should you need to for any reason.

  • In the U-Boot Preferences Menu for PCI/AGP devices, the PCI Interrupt "Trigger by" values specified for interrupts 9, 10, 11 and 7 must be set to Level (NOT Edge).

  • AmigaOS 4.0 must already be installed. At this time it is not possible to install OS 4.0 using an SiISATA card, but this will change when OS 4.0 is released. (Currently it is dependant on Update 3.)

  • Debian Linux can be installed using a SiISATA card, but the installation instructions need to be modified to suit. If you do not understand these changes, it may be best to install Linux using the on-board IDE bus instead.

  • The sii0680ide.device does not enable UDMA modes automatically. You must use either the "sii0680ide_xfer" environment variable in U-Boot, or "idetool" to switch between xfer modes. Do not expect any speed improvement simply by installing the SiI680 card, in fact currently its PIO code is even slower than the VIA PIO (because prefetch buffers have not been enabled in the sii0680ide.device yet).

  • The sii0680ide.device also supports UDMA for ATAPI devices (CD/DVD readers/burners). In previous version, UDMA was completely disabled because it could not be made safe for the a1ide.device, and this restriction was retained for the sii0680ide.device, so only operated in PIO modes. The latest version of a1ide.device with OS4.0 update 3 also supports UDMA for ATAPI devices.

  • If you are using Debian Linux in a multi-boot configuration on a single hard disk, you must check that you have defined a Linux-SiI680 option for the SLB Menu. This means that there must be a second entry in the /boot/a1boot.conf file for the SiI680 implementation. The bootargs value can remain the same as long as you replace the "ide=nodma" parameter with "ide=reverse". This removes the DMA restriction and tells Linux to use the SiI bus before using the onboard VIA bus, which means that the drive names do not have to be changed. It is also a good idea to add "hde=noprobe" and "hdf=noprobe" if there are no drives connected to the VIA bus.
Once you have confirmed that all of the pre-requisites have been met and you understand the limitations of what you are about to do, you are ready to begin the installation.

Disclaimer: Amiga Auckland have prepared the above information for the use of its members based on our experiences and as such is subject to revision at any time. Amiga Auckland cannot guarantee any of the information and cannot be held accountable for any issues that may result from using it.

Copyright 2005 Amiga Auckland Inc. All rights reserved.
Revised: December 05, 2005.