[nSLUG] Nvidia nforce3 SATA sata_nv ahci module shenanigans

Daniel Morrison draker at gmail.com
Sat Oct 18 01:04:51 ADT 2008

2008/10/18 Luke Gavel <fidomail2002 at yahoo.ca>:
> Hi,
> So, I've been in the process of salvaging and rebuilding a couple of comps at home.  I have two sata 1TB WD HDs and one IDE 40G HD which I was hoping to use to expand the role of a amd sempron 1.7Gz fc5 KDE workstation into a fileserver.  Nada.  AFAIK after extensive googling, not even the latest unstable kernel version includes a module that will recognize nvidia's nforceX sata chipsets--unless someone else knows otherwise?  Please?

You haven't given any model numbers or the exact chipset version.  The
list of nforce chipsets is here:

nForce 2, 3, 4, 500, 600, and 700 have SATA support.

This link: http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Hardware/sata.html#nvidia
says that:

libata driver "sata_nv" added as of 2004-07-08 development code,
included in kernel 2.6.8, and now production quality. As of
2006-01-25, Nvidia provided provided information (under NDA) that will
permit implementation of NCQ support. Note: Nvidia's proprietary Linux
i386 binary driver bundles for its chipsets seem to rely on (and in
some cases furnish) Garzik's "sata_nv" driver — presumably adding to
that Nvidia's own subdriver to support nvRAID disk formatting.
However, as usual, you're probably better off using Linux's own
open-source "md" software-RAID driver for the RAID functionality.

Note that newer Nvidia chipsets have switched to the AHCI open standard.


nVidia's support page for Linux is here:


It says the following distros have built-in support:

    * SLES 10 (
    * RHEL 3 UP7 (2.4.21-40)
    * RHEL 4 UP4 (2.6.9-42)
    * RHEL 4 UP5 (2.6.9-55)
    * Fedora Core 5 (2.6.15-1)
    * RHEL 3 UP8 (2.4.21-47)
    * SuSE 10.2 (
    * RHEL 5 (2.6.18-1)

But it also clearly says that the sata_nv driver comes with the kernel
source, and should work.

I also found a website forum post which states that newer versions of
the kernel no longer work, but using an older version of the sata_nv
driver is OK.


Strangely, it says kernel 2.6.5 work, although the above page says the
driver wasn't included in the mainstream kernel until 2.6.8.  But it
sounds like the poster is using RedHat, and they futz with the kernel,
putting in beta drivers and crap.  So you really can't be sure which
kernel will work.

He does say, however, that he was able to compile a newer kernel with
the older driver.

In any case, that was ages ago, and I can't imagine these problems are
still around.  Older chipsets should be sorted by now.  Newer chipsets
use the AHCI standard, so should be no problem either.

I must say it's a bit weird that you provide a generic link to Jeff
Garzik's page, and say it tells you that no one is interested in
taking nVidia's sample code and integrating it into the kernel.  The
websites I found with a quick google suggest something opposite: that
Jeff Garzik wrote a working sata_nv kernel module, and that nVidia is
now distributing it along with their proprietary extras which enable
things like motherboard RAID.

Anyway, keep trying, and maybe check the SATA options (AHCI vs. legacy
mode) in your BIOS.  Whatever it's set to, switch it, and try again.

If not, do yourself a favour and buy an Intel chipset next time!

Good luck,


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