Home > Uncategorized > My Sandybridge Upgrade Fiasco

My Sandybridge Upgrade Fiasco

Well, my previous system was unfortunately limited to 2 CPU cores because Intel never released a CPU with 4 cores and integrated graphics.  I really needed 4 cores because when we were watching TV on 3 TVs, the performance degraded.  Also, I needed more power for Remote Potato which transcodes the video on the fly to stream it (I think) and commercial detection and Video disk ripping.  So, when the Intel Series 6 CPUs and motherboards came out (aka. Sandybridge), I jumped on it.  That was January.  And I am not happy.  Perhaps this is the price for being on the cutting edge.  If you don’t want to read all the details, the take-home message would have to be (I hate to say this):

Avoid the ITX form factor!

I’ll get to the why a bit later…  So, here’s what happened…  The hardware, the Intel Core i5-2500 Quad core processor with integrated Graphics and the Foxconn H67S motherboard.  DSC02213

On paper the board looks like a fine, cheap board, but unfortunately, it has a critical problem.  The obvious issue is that the Sandybridge chipset had a flaw in the SATA controller and was recalled.  The less obvious issue is that my eSATA port multiplier card won’t work with it.  You see, I have a Silicon Image Sil3132 Controller card to connect my TR5M harddisk enclosure.  It has always worked well for me, but when installed in this board, I don’t even see the post-BIOS config screen.  So I bought another Sil3132, which again did not work.   Which suggests a BIOS compatibility issue.  But wait, this is not BIOS, it is the new UEFI system.  Maybe it’s not UEFI compatible?  But wait, according to this news article, they have a firmware update that makes it compatible.  So I finally find the firmware file and discover that the update utility is built into the device manager in its own tab.  So, I update the firmware and… nothing.  It still doesn’t work.  At this point, a B3 H67-based ITX board is in-stock at Newegg, so I order it immediately hoping that the ASRock UEFI works better.  So, I get the ASRock H67M-ITX and same DSC02233problem…  So now I am getting desperate.  This whole time, I have had my enclosure connected in my office, accessed over the LAN and performance has sucked.  With my usually high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) tanking rapidly, I have to get this working, so I order a few parts.  So now, I order a RocketRaid 622 card hoping that will work.  I also order a SansDigital TR4UTBPN which is a 4 disk USB 3.0 enclosure.  Thinking that the USB would be a slam dunk, I don’t even try the RocketRaid card and send it back.  Then I tried the USB enclosure which worked great… for a few hours.  Then, the disks disappear from Windows explorer and my Wife’s recordings all stop!  Catastrophe!  She said:

Why can’t we have a Cable Box like normal people? 

Yikes, I had to figure this out quick.  Confidence in my Media Center was declining more imagerapidly than I thought.  I checked out the event log and I see some sort of paging error.  Out of desperation, I try another cable, then the USB 2.0 ports… and that is working.  Two days of perfect operation and counting…Whew.  Although this is not ideal, it’s working.  I have since read in a few places online that the ETronics USB 3.0 controller chip used in this motherboard is buggy.  I read that some USB 2.0 devices will BSOD (Blue screen of death) windows when plugged into these ports. 

So, the reason why I am down on Mini-ITX is that this is the lastest example of, “if I had another card slot or 2…” I could work around this with an NEC based USB 3.0 card.  Well, who knows if the NEC is better, but I would have more options for sure.  Mini-ITX is just cutting it too close and you live and die by the integrated components working…

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. trackeree
    April 28, 2011 at 8:59 am

    ASrock just released a beta BIOS on 4/26/2011 for my mobo, H67M-ITX that fixes the Sil3132 issue. I can now access my external port multiplied enclosure (Rosewil RSV-S8) without any issues.

    • April 30, 2011 at 12:51 am

      Thanks for telling me. I had stopped paying attention because the USB based enclosure is really working well for me on the Intel USB 2.0 controller (although the disks don’t ever spin down). Unfortunately, it’s too late for me because I just eBay’d my old enclosure. At least others will benefit from my nearly 4 months of suffering…

  2. daveburton
    December 3, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Where did you find the UEFI-compatible firmware for the SiI3132 (Sil3132?) adapter?

    I’ve just sent the following email to Silicon Image tech support:

    —————————————–

    Dear Silicon Image support,

    I have found a 2008 press release from Silicon Image announcing “a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) 2.1 Firmware upgrade to its SiI3132 and SiI3124 SATA SteelVine controllers,” here:
    http://www.siliconimage.com/news/releasedetails.aspx?id=478

    However, I can’t find that firmware upgrade anywhere on the SiliconImage.com web site. Here are the BIOS/firmware versions listed for the 3132, and none of them mention UEFI compatibility:
    http://www.siliconimage.com/support/searchresults.aspx?pid=32&cat=15&ctid=2&os=0&

    Where can I download the UEFI BIOS/firmware upgrade for the SiI3132, so that it will work properly in computers with UEFI BIOS, like my Dell Inspiron 620 computer?

    Thank you!

    Sincerely,
    Dave

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