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Empty primary bay causes boot timeout from SATA ultrabay

T4x series specific matters only
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mspacek
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Empty primary bay causes boot timeout from SATA ultrabay

#1 Post by mspacek » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:00 am

Hello,

I've searched around a fair bit, both here and elsewhere, and I can't seem to find anyone else with the same problem:

I bought a SATA to PATA ultrabay slim aftermarket caddy off of ebay a while ago for my T41. Just recently, I bought a new Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB SATA drive (ST9500420ASG) to put in it. I successfully cloned my existing PATA 160GB drive (ST9160821A) in the normal drive bay onto the new 500GB drive in the ultrabay, changed the boot order in the BIOS and can now boot fine off the 500GB SATA drive in the ultrabay, into both Ubuntu and WinXP (after fixing some registry problems).

The problem is when I remove the 160GB drive from the primary drive bay. On power-on or reset, the BIOS screen (Thinkpad logo) just sits there, waiting I suppose to detect a drive in the primary bay. When it finally decides there isn't one, it tries the ultrabay, and only then does the 500GB ultrabay drive start to spin up. From power-on to the start of actual booting off the ultrabay drive can take about 20 seconds. Sometimes, it completely times out and comes up with a "No operating system found" error. Ctrl-Alt-Delete fixes that. When I return the PATA drive back to the primary drive bay, the delay vanishes: on bootup, first the primary drive, and then the ultrabay drive spin up in quick succession, and bootup proceeds (off of the ultrabay drive, which is still set at the top of the boot order).

I feel like I need to disable auto detection of the primary drive, as can typically be done on a desktop computer BIOS, but there doesn't seem to be that option in the T41 BIOS. I've updated to the latest BIOS version (3.23), no dice. I've removed all boot devices, save the ultrabay device (HDD 1) from the boot order list. Doesn't seem to make a difference. I also tried disabling the "boot from USB" option.

Anyone have any ideas? The final thing I can think of that I haven't tried is to set a jumper on the new SATA drive to force it into SATA-150 instead of SATA-300 (the caddy apparently only supports SATA-150), but it must be doing that automatically anyway, since otherwise the SATA drive wouldn't work at all.

By the way, the new drive is great. HD Tune reports double the sustained transfer rate (72 MB/sec average) of my 160GB PATA drive. This is in spite of the SATA-PATA bridge bottleneck, which seems to max out at 80 MB/sec (others with native SATA interfaces have reported 100 MB/sec max transfer rates for this drive). Who would've thought a 4.5 year old T41 could take a screaming 500GB drive? :D

Thanks for any thoughts,

Martin

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Re: Empty primary bay causes boot timeout from SATA ultrabay

#2 Post by sjthinkpader » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:12 am

Welcome to the forum.

Did you try the "X' (exclude) option to remove the primary HDD fromthe boot order.
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mspacek
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:58 pm
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Re: Empty primary bay causes boot timeout from SATA ultrabay

#3 Post by mspacek » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:20 am

Thanks for the quick reply.

Yup, I've excluded HDD 0, and all other boot devices from the boot order, except for HDD 1 (the ultrabay drive). Even when excluded though, it seems the BIOS still wants to figure out at least the model name of the primary drive. When the primary drive is in the bay, its model name shows up next to HDD 0 in the excluded device list. When the primary bay is empty, I get the delay/timeout, and obviously no model name listed next to it in the bios.

Hm, this gave me an idea. Maybe I should remove the ultrabay drive as well, hook up either a usb drive or the CD/DVD drive, enable only it in the bios, and see if i get the same behaviour...

mspacek
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:58 pm
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Re: Empty primary bay causes boot timeout from SATA ultrabay

#4 Post by mspacek » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:57 am

By the way, when there's no drive in the primary, there's the same ~20 sec delay when waiting to get into the BIOS.

I tried taking out my ultrabay HDD and caddy and replacing it with my CD/DVD drive with a bootable CD in it. Set ATAPI CD0 as the only boot device in the boot list. Again, with the primary bay empty, I get a ~20 sec delay before it even starts accessing the CD/DVD. So it really seems the system wants to find a primary drive above all else...

Could someone else try the same? Remove your primary drive and just leave something bootable in the ultrabay, disable all other boot devices in the boot order list, and see if you get a similar (annoying) delay?

Cheers,

Martin

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