Asus A7V600-X (VIA VT8237) with SATA II Hard Drive

This is one of those “I spent far too long Googling and didn’t find anything useful, so I’ll post myself in the hope that it helps someone else” posts…

I’ve got an Asus A7V600-X motherboard in this here machine, and recently one of my SATA hard drives began misbehaving (it lost its partition info, although the data were all intact). Time for a new hard drive.

I bought a 250GB Western Digital drive, plugged it in, booted to a Linux live CD in order to copy the data from the old drive and… nothing. No sign of the new drive at all. I rebooted and found it wasn’t even appearing at the BIOS level.

My initial thoughts were that the drive was dead, but booting with the same Live CD and plugging the drive into an external SATA=>USB adaptor showed that the drive was available and could be formatted and used with no problems.

I started looking at BIOS updates, but none of the fixes in newer BIOS versions claimed to address any SATA or hard drive issues. I built this machine with no floppy drive, so updating the BIOS would be a pain to do – so I spent a bit more time searching in the hope that my problem didn’t lie with the BIOS at all.

I’m glad I did. It seems that the problem is actually that the Southbridge chip on the motherboard (VIA VT8237) can’t handle SATA II drive speeds (300 Mb/s) – and that they don’t auto-negotiate down to SATA I speeds (150 Mb/s) 🙁 The answer to the problem was therefore to add a jumper to the drive to force it down to the slower speed. Actually finding a spare drive jumper in the house was another matter entirely – but when I finally did, the drive appeared in the BIOS and everything went according to plan. In fact I’m writing this post from within the Linux Live CD environment as my data is being copied in the background 🙂

This problem probably affects other motherboards with the VIA VT8237 chipset. There’s more information (including jumper settings for common hard drives) in the FAQs on the Asus support site, but unfortunately it’s not possible to link directly to the specific FAQ, so you’ll need to search for it yourself.

Comments (10)

  1. Hi, I’m glad I found this post. I have tried basically everything I can possibly think of to get my S-ATA II drive to work with the Asus A7V600-X motherboard. My problem is that there is no jumper settings, only a firmware patch, that doesn’t seem to work. Did you have to enable any settings in the BIOS to get it to recognize the drive?

  2. In my case the SATA II drive was a replacement for a SATA I drive that had started to lose some data, so once I fitted the jumper to slow the drive down, it was just a plug-in replacement.

    If this is the first time you’re putting a SATA drive onto the motherboard you may well have to enable the interface – I can’t remember the specifics of this motherboard, but I know that when I was recently having problems getting a SATA drive recognised by a Dell machine it was because each SATA interface had to be individually enabled in the BIOS.

    Good luck.

  3. I have spent hour and hours trying to get around this problem to no avail.
    I have too have an Asus A7V600-X motherboard and had a SATA 1 drive that was playing up (worked for years though). I bought a WD 500GB SATA 2 replacement, popped on the jumper and its still not appearing in the BIOS. I’ve updated the BIOS to 0009(latest) and its still just not working. The drive itself is fine as I’ve tested it. I can’t install windows XP as it can’t find the drive. Please, does anyone have any idea of what I can try next??

  4. It sounds like you’ve done all the right things and that, for whatever reason, the drive and motherboard just aren’t compatible. It’s probably worth double-checking that you’ve put the jumper on the right pins, and that you plugged into the same SATA port that was previously in use by the old drive. If you’re using a different SATA port, try swapping it to the old one – I’ve known machines ship with unused ports disabled in the BIOS.

    Beyond that I think your only recourse is to try contacting Asus and/or Western Digital, or to try replacing the drive with one from a different manufacturer to see if that works any better. As you mentioned that your old drive is “playing up”, as opposed to “completely dead”, it might be worth plugging that back in to confirm that it still appears in the BIOS – it would be unlikely, but it is possible that the motherboard itself has developed a fault.

  5. in VT8237 I had the error bios does not be installed, with my wd 350gb, using this pdf I configured my hd WD to 150 MB/s and now it works! my bios is happy now 🙂 I ‘ll try to install my xp sp3.

    thanks a lot!

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