Connect an extra SATA hard drive in Debian
Q I have a Debian GNU/Linux rig on a Celeron based system. I would like to connect an extra SATA hard disk as an upgrade and need a Linux compatible SATA adaptor in PCI form factor, before I break the bank for a new system mainboard. Can you give me guidance on this search, so I can connect the SATA drives with a PCI SATA adaptor and also tell me mainboards have a SATA controller compatible to Linux?
A What counts here is not the individual makes and models of adaptors but the chipsets they use. Manufacturers sometimes switch to a different chipset while keeping the same model name, making decisions based on anything but the chipset somewhat risky. However, most SATA chipsets are supported in Linux, especially those that support the AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) standard. The kernel contains drivers for a number of SATA controllers - you can see the ones that are included with your distro with this command
modprobe -l | grep sata
I've used a few low-priced SATA controllers that all utilised the Silicon Image chipset, which has been supported in the Linux kernel for years. Equally, motherboard SATA controllers are well supported, especially if you go for a well-known brand. SATA is no longer new technology, to the point where SATA drives now cost less than their PATA equivalents, so you should have no trouble with anything from a common source. You can look up individual controllers or motherboards, (or just about any kind of hardware) in the Linux Compatibility database at www.linuxcompatible.org/compatibility.html. Some distros also list of known working hardware for their kernels on their websites. There are also PATA to SATA adaptors that fit on the back of a SATA drive and provide a PATA interface (and adaptors that do the opposite, so make sure you get the right type), such as this one from Maplins in the UK: http://tinyurl.com/2t4j3z. Other countries will have similar suppliers that provide similar items.
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