New hard drive, old BIOS?

Viktor Lazlo viktorlazlo at
Sun Jun 22 04:25:40 PDT 2003

On Sun, 22 Jun 2003, Roger Merritt wrote:

> I've just installed a new, 40GB hard drive, and copied my system over to
> it. It booted and seems to be running fine, but I have a couple of worries.
> 1. My BIOS setup utility doesn't detect the drive using the Auto Detect
> Hard Drives feature. In fact, when I tried to run it, it hung. However,
> when I just went ahead and booted FreeBSD (on my old hard drive) it didn't
> seem to have any problem seeing and writing to the new drive. Is this a
> serious enough problem to take the risk of trying to flash an upgrade to my

FreeBSD only relies on the system BIOS to boot the system; once the kernel
loads it disables the system BIOS, so as long as it is booting normally
everything should be fine.  While it most likely wouldn't hurt anything I
wouldn't make flashing the ROM a priority unless it was having problems
starting up or there was some feature in the newer BIOS I wanted to take
advantage of.

> 2. When I booted up using the new hard drive, everything seemed to go OK
> for a while, then I got a number of error messages on the console: "ad0s1a:
> UDMA ICRC error reading fsbn 96639 of 48288-28369 (ad0s1 bn 96639; cn 6 tn
> 3 sn 60) falling back to PIO mode". Would this be the likely result of an
> outdated BIOS (the blurb says "copyright 1998")? Or is it more likely the
> result of old cables which don't meet the ATA66 spec?

This is typically the result of faulty IDE cables--if a new one came with
the drive try that and see if it still occurs.

> Subjectively, the machine seems to be running somewhat faster, despite the
> lack of DMA (I don't know if DMA ever worked on this machine). And it's a
> great relief to now have plenty of free space.

Even if Ultra-DMA isn't supported it very likely is faster, drives have
made a lot of advances since 1998, they spin faster, have larger
read/write buffers and improved data-handling algorithms.



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