Intel SATA - unused ports are disabled


I don’t know where to put this, so I drop it here.

We have an IBM System x3100 M4 (2582) at work. It has 6 SATA ports (Intel) and the controller is set to AHCI mode.
Now I installed an eSATA slot plate, but the ports are disabled if no device is connected.
The controller is shown with only 2 ports (instead of 6) and devices connected to the eSATA ports are not recognized.
I already tried to switch the controller to RAID mode, but then it wants to erase all disks.
How can I disable this “disable ports if no device connected” feature?

Best Regards,
Mr nUUb

Maybe a wrong BIOS setting caused your problem.
I recommend to connect the manufacturer of the eSATA adapter card.

There is no eSATA adapter. It is just a bracket with eSATA ports that connect to the SATA ports of the Intel AHCI controller embedded in the mainboard chipset.
Somehow the mainboard disables unused ports of the chipset so they are not usable for hotplug drives (although AHCI should be hotplug capable).
I do the very same at home. Maybe it is better to just get an additional eSATA or USB card.

Regarding the wrong BIOS setting: there is only one setting regarding the SATA controller: IDE/AHCI/RAID mode.
Nothing else…

Next wekk I’ll try a BIOS update: 1.00 (2011) → 1.40 (2016)
THIS is proper support :smiley:

Isn’t that a SATA>eSATA adapter?

Yes, it is. Reading your previous response I though you meant an eSATA card with its own controller.
I just stated that it is just a pair of cables without a controller.
So why should I contact the manufacturer of the cable?
Now I’m confused…

@mr_nuub :
Maybe you will find a solution after having read >this<.

Thanks, but this thread did not offer any additional information.
I already use such cables at home and it works perfectly.
But this IBM system is totally different? Why does the BIOS disable unused ports?

Questions like these were the reason why I recommended to contact the manufacturer of your mainboard/system.


To be honest, I dont think the motherboard somehow disables any sata port at all. As you said, 99,99% of all SATA controllers currently used by common HW producers such as Sony, HP, IBM/Lenovo, Acer, Fujitsu-Siemens,…are hot-swap or hot-plug…whatever-you-call-it ready (similarly to USB behaveiour), means even if you connect a HDD to a SATA port while you are already in Windows, this HDD will spin up, load up and then be detected and available in the device manager and for the whole system.

I know ibm/lenovo office computers quite well. I would say they are not disabled by means, they are only present on the board but are not connected to the controller means they are dead fake connectors. This is the same situation we had with a different ibm pc and HP as well. There is one layout of the PCB of the motherboard for multiple chip/controller setup and their functionalities. The reason is that companies cover themselves against the unwanted self-upgrades. In the lower classes of office pc you can find a chipset that is capable of 4-8 SATA peripherials such as HDDs, SSDs, DC-ROMs…, BUT there are only 2 SATA connectors present on the board that are working - 1 HDD, 1 CD-ROM - thats it! The BIOS upgrade wont guarantee any SATA port management extension in the BIOS GUI nor it guarantee that the other ports will somehow "wake up". If they are down, they are not connected. Sorry to say that, it is simply not only the SATA controller chip but also the smd electronic parts that have to be there for the connector to be working, you know, those tiny little resistors, capacitors etc.

Good luck

The ports are disabled during POST.
If I connect a HDD to the mainboard before powering up the machine the drive is present.

So nobody knows what to do.

you should read your manual …
your mainboard has a esata3 port : page 13 i/o panel
the red one near the pcb , above the orange audio mini-jack

some case have esata connector but the sata cable and its power [ coming from usb connector] are easy to spot .
your cable lacks the power plug

You should read the whole thread. I’m not talking about the ASRock board, I’m talking about an IBM System x3100 M4.

sorry forthe mistake of board…but the problem is still the power … when you plug your hd to the esata without power; then it drains the power from the sata connector that is why no hd already plugged does its usual job…

if you look at
then you see pci-bracket with or without old hd power plug
these are made for external hd in box with power [some hand-made by user]
this one from google shopping…690956836585915
is very incredible

or you have card to insert in pci/pcie that will give power to the hd …it should be best for “esata stick”

Dude WTF? I said read the thread!

If I plug in the HDD (with it’s own external PSU) before powering on the PC, the drive and port is there (in Intel Rapid Storage Console click on Help and then on System Report).
If I plug it in after the PC is booted to the OS, then the drive is not detected and the port is gone.

The power supply is not the problem!
The port is connected to the chipset (not a fake port)!

that gets more clear
you want the hd to be hot-plug able…but bios is not able

try to convert your esata hd to usb or update the mainboard or do a reboot when your hd is plugged …
i think you want this pc to be online 24/7 so reboot is not cool , may be you can try to create a virtual pc with it and second pc so you ll be able to reboot the ibm : Virtual machine migration
beside wmware or virtual box , there are Cisco virtual OS and xen

I can confirm that the drive is hot-pluggable, but the drive must be connected before the PC is powered on.
If I remove the drive, the drive letter is freed up and the Intel RST console shows the balloon tip “drive removed”.
If I plug it pack in, the drive is recognized properly and usable again.

I really don’t know why IBM decided to disable the ports during POST.

bioses are not all time perfect…
fot your board here is the support page :…ed%7Edeselected

there are plenty , most of them for linux

for windows :…ttings=selected

there is one made in 2014 for the SAS/SATA Controller…randind=5000008

may be it will help