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Modified BIOS for Microserver N40L enables hidden features


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judgeschambers

Ok, sounds good guys. Thanks.   Still need to clear up one more point on my question as I may have blurred it further by mentioning the ACHI settings.

  • All I want from the Bios Mod are the Sata 3gb option and USB 3.0.  I'm mostly concerned about setting up the Sata 3gb option.
    • Is the Sata 3gb setting change all that is needed to get it?
    • OR......Does the ACHI settings also need changed to make the Sata 3gb come on lline? Or is that a completely unrelated setting?

I have a feeling that they are two seperate settings that do two seperate things.  If ACHI settings changes are not needed for the Sata 3gb to come on line, then I'm good to go with no OS reinstall or registry hack worries. Just flash, tick the USB3 and tick Sata 3gb and go.

 

Thanks for your guidance.

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Hi Anttech,   I had the same issue and couldn't download it from the german site.   I found a mirror at the following address :   http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n

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cskenney

The Bios Mod does not provide USB3.  I realize it shows up in the BIOS but there is no hardware on the motherboard.  If you want USB3 you need to add a PCI-e card to your Microserver.

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Joe_Miner

Hi JudgesChambers!

 

While you need the BIOS-MOD to speed up Ports 4 & 5 to their max SATA II speed of 3Gb/s -- which is important IMHO -- if you're using a SSD on either of those two Ports I think the more important mod is setting them to AHCI which will enable features like NCQ (Native Command Queuing) and TRIM to work -- you really need trim or your SSD performance will degrade over time.

 

There's info on modifying the BIOS with BIOS-MOD in the Section "Modify the BIOS" of HP ProLiant N40L MocroServer Build and BIOS Modification Revisited

 

There's info about going from IDE to AHCI Here and Here --

 

If you already have your data in DrivePool (With Folder Duplication turned on -- Right?) you're still protected if you do end up having to reinstall your OS onto your OS Drive (As long as you don't have a partition in the OS Drive in the DrivePool and none of your Drives in DrivePool were attached to Ports 4 or 5)

 

You can check out how I replaced my OS Drive in Updating My Windows Home Server 2011 installed on the HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer and this was also discussed in HSS 216

 

Like Chris said too -- if you want USB3 you'll have to add in a PCIe card for it -- while the BIOS has code for USB3 there is NO HardWare on the System Board to support it.

Edited by Joe_Miner
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I'm with what jmwills and Joe_Miner recommend: you should go with AHCI, especially with an SSD, and you will require an add-in card in order to get USB3.

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judgeschambers

The Bios Mod does not provide USB3.  I realize it shows up in the BIOS but there is no hardware on the motherboard.  If you want USB3 you need to add a PCI-e card to your Microserver.

 Yes sir. I've already orderd the favorite WD version from ebay last weekend in preperation. We chatted about in the USB thread the other day. ;-)

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judgeschambers

Hi JudgesChambers!

 

While you need the BIOS-MOD to speed up Ports 4 & 5 to their max SATA II speed of 3Gb/s -- which is important IMHO -- if you're using a SSD on either of those two Ports I think the more important mod is setting them to AHCI which will enable features like NCQ (Native Command Queuing) and TRIM to work -- you really need trim or your SSD performance will degrade over time.

 

There's info on modifying the BIOS with BIOS-MOD in the Section "Modify the BIOS" of HP ProLiant N40L MocroServer Build and BIOS Modification Revisited

 

There's info about going from IDE to AHCI Here and Here --

Joe,

 

That you for the detailed info...Just what I like.

 

I see what you mean about AHCI enablement being needed for sustaining the life of the SSD. Forgot about that. I had read your Modify the Bios post along with all your others over the past 10 days to get my head around it all. And glanced quickly now to see that the steps are clear, which I think mostly are...LOL.  I should be able to pull that off without a hitch.

 

So I all I need to toggle is:

1- SATA IDE Combined Mode [Disabled] — sets Ports 4 & 5 to use AHCI

2- Forcing Embedded SATA Link Rate to 3.0Gbps MAX

 

And I'm good to go, correct?  

 

No need to mess with: OnChip SATA Channel [Enabled] or OnChip IDE Type [IDE or Legacy IDE](1), or SATA EPS on all PORT [Enabled](2) Correct?

 

Lastly:

I still want to make sure of one last detail.  And that is to clarify which of these settings causes the need to reinstall the WHS OS?  Is it the Embedd Sata Link Rate or the Sata IDE Comined Mode (AHCI)?  I bet it's the AHCI. Meaning I could.....If I really wanted to ....not toggle it and get away without an OS reinstall...but I won't.

 

 

 

Hi JudgesChambers!

If you already have your data in DrivePool (With Folder Duplication turned on -- Right?) you're still protected if you do end up having to reinstall your OS onto your OS Drive (As long as you don't have a partition in the OS Drive in the DrivePool and none of your Drives in DrivePool were attached to Ports 4 or 5)

 

You can check out how I replaced my OS Drive in Updating My Windows Home Server 2011 installed on the HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer and this was also discussed in HSS 216

 

Like Chris said too -- if you want USB3 you'll have to add in a PCIe card for it -- while the BIOS has code for USB3 there is NO HardWare on the System Board to support it.

 

Yeah, I've got drive pool installed (not paid for yet) and duplication on MOST folders. I'll follow your details and remove all the drives and reinstall the OS after setting the AHCI and Sata Link Rate.  Drive Pool's fix file should make the Shares visible in a flash and save some time.  I'll back them up again to another sata drive I have just to be sure.

 

On the USB, I'm all good with knowing it requires hardwar. The same WD USB 3.0 card you all have been using arrives today via ebay and will go in after the above is all said and done.

 

Thanks for all your patience and guidance.

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Joe_Miner


There’s a risk in everything but I’m with Ikon – there’s a good chance you can switch to AHCI without having to re-install your OS -- While it’s prudent to be prepared to re-install the OS if you have to – I wouldn’t do it unless necessary – YMMV

 

  1. Make sure everything is backed up (and I would have a plan in place to re-install my OS and StableBit DrivePool SW onto my OS Drive and re-attach my DrivePool.) and it would be a good idea to have you MicroServer on a UPS while doing the following:
  2. Do the Registry Hack in the MicroSoft article 922976  (Disclosure: I've done the Hack to convert an OS Drive from IDE to AHCI but this was several years ago and was not on an HP machine -- YMMV)
  3. Restart MicroServer
  4. Hit F10 during Post to go into the BIOS Menu [ROM-BASED SETUP UTILITY]
  5. From the MAIN Screen I would go to => Chipset Menu => Southbridge Configuration => SB SATA Configuration => and set: SATA IDE Combined Mode [Disabled] — sets Ports 4 & 5 to use AHCI
  6. From the MAIN Screen I next would go to => Advanced => IDE Configuration => and set:  Embedded SATA Link Rate [3.0Gbps Max] — forces the SATA Ports to run at 3.0Gbps Max mode – this forces the SATA II Ports to all run at Full SATA II speed of 3.0Gbps.
  7. Be sure to SAVE my changes when exiting the ROM-BASED SETUP UTILITY.
  8. That should do it and your machine should then load your OS.  You can run Crystal Disk Info to check that your SSD has Trim turned on.
  9. If by Murphy’s Law disaster strikes and your OS will not load – I would first do a reboot and check the boot order of my HDD’s in the BIOS – If that is good and the OS still doesn’t load ….. Then is when I’d go to Plan B and reload the OS onto the SSD and re-attach DrivePool.
  10. If a really huge disaster -- you still have your backups from 1.

 

Note:  if you do not make => SATA EPS on all PORT is ENABLED then you will have to come back later (no big deal actually – just reboot  and hit F10 during Post) and ENABLE it if you want to use the Port Multiplier on the eSATA Port.



 

Edited by Joe_Miner
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judgeschambers

Don't forget, you can switch to AHCI without having to reinstall. Might be worth a try.

Oy, yes. That's right you did give the registry mod to type to before hand.

 

I'll look at it tonight via Advanced Admin Console to see what the default is and note the change you posts.

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judgeschambers

 

 

There’s a risk in everything but I’m with Ikon – there’s a good chance you can switch to AHCI without having to re-install your OS -- While it’s prudent to be prepared to re-install the OS if you have to – I wouldn’t do it unless necessary – YMMV

 

  1. Make sure

 

Joe,

 

First, Thank You to all who helped to sort out these details.

 

I always back up my items off the pool to another drive before doing stuff like this. That way I've got no loss if something goes wrong. 

 

Then I'll roll out the bios mod first and leave it unchanged let boot to ensure all is well.  Then I'll mod the registry, reboot to Bios directly, make the AHCI and Sata speed changes, save and then reboot. Iff all goes well I'll be able roll on.....

 

 

Oh, should I pull the drives out before doing the registry mod and then AHCI switch also?  Or it it unnecissary during that stage?  (I know to do it if the OS needs reinstalled. ;-)  )

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