Sata pci cards in ultra 60 or blade 1000

Marius Strobl marius at
Thu Jul 23 19:07:28 UTC 2009

On Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 02:40:55PM -0500, R J wrote:
> Hi all,
> I have both an ultra 60 and a Sun blade 1000.  I have freebsd 7.2 running 
> on both seemingly without issue, outside of sata pci.
> I have had a promise SATA300 TX4, 66MHZ (4 port version) in the ultra 60 
> and rebuild the kernel to contain the ata driver.  When the system boots, 
> it sees the card just fine, but it doesn't see any drives attached to it. I 
> had two disks attached (one 40gig fujitsu, and one is a 1TB hitachi), but 
> none of them were seen.  I tried powering the drives with a different power 
> supply, but they would not be seen by the promise controller.  The drives 
> work fine in a pc with linux.
> I switched out the promise card, and put a silicon image Sil 3512 in the 
> ultra 60, and the two drives were seen.  I was able to lay ufs file system 
> on them, and even copied files around, but the system was not stable. I.e, 
> I would copy files to the sata hard drives for a few minutes before it 
> would hang and remain that way till I did a hard reset.
> I then took the Sil 3512 out of the ultra60 and put it in the Sun blade 
> 1000, and attached the drives, and, just like the promise card, the sil 
> card is seen by freebsd, but the drives are not.  Remember, the drives are 
> seen with the same card in the ultra60.  I currently don't have the promise 
> card with me to test with the blade, but I would imagine the same thing 
> will happen.
> Has any body had success with sata pci cards in any of the ultrasparc pci 
> systems?  If so, what cards/chipsets/workarounds?
> Other than the 66mhz v 33mhz(with respective 3.3/5 volt) and 32 v 64 bit, 
> is there any other thing quirky about the sparc pci busses that would cause 
> this sort of behaviour?
> Any help appreciated.

For several controllers ata(4) depends on the firmware to do
at least part of the initialization, even for models without
RAID etc functionality, which would be required to be written
in FCode in order to work in sparc64 machines. Depending on
the system firmware and the PCI class a specific controller 
reports it might be treated as ordinary IDE controller or not
which might explain the different behaviors you have seen
between machine models. Generally this is highly controller
dependent though, IIRC I had no problems with a Promise
FastTrack TX2 in a Sun AXe board and a VIA VT6421A-based
controller in a Blade 1500, the latter was only lightly
tested though. Another possibility for connecting SATA disks
to sparc64 machines is to use a SAS controller driven by
mpt(4), which aren't necessarily more expensive than TX4
on Ebay.


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