I have 3 controller cards with RAID/SATA capabilities...I sometimes get carried away with the urge to compare different manufacturers
. I've even had a Syba card
, although I chose to go with Promise and Highpoint cards.
First thing to remember...whoever made the card...has made drivers for it available at the respective website. But drivers are not the only thing needed, you also need to download any BIOS package that is available with the drivers.http://www.siliconimage.com/products/product.aspx?pid=28
The controller card BIOS is what enables you to have the card recognize any drives attached...and it allows you to determine whether you run in RAID mode or not. It must be installed in Windows in the same manner that drivers/programs are and it will be visible briefly every time that you boot the system.
It's important because it's your only indication as to what drives are attached to and recognized by the controller card. You won't see the drives in Device Manager because they are not connected to the motherboard directly. But you will see the controller card reflected in Device Manager, along with everything else connected directly to the motherboard.
Sooo...it's just as important to install it as it is to install the controller card drivers.
After you install your card properly....you then have two BIOS screens that you can access. The main BIOS of the system, which will never reflect your drives connected to the card...and the BIOS of the card, which will show drives attached.
Your controller card BIOS should automatically detect any SATA drive attached...and reflect such as part of the boot process. The main BIOS screens will go first, followed by the controller card BIOS.
There should be no need to actually enter the BIOS screen of the controller card, unless you decide to set up a RAID. Not sure where you got your info from...but drives attached to controller cards...are just like drives attached to the motherboard, in one sense...there is no need to do anything special to set them up. They are detected by the device, in the same way that the motherboard detects drives connected. Of course, if there is a problem with a drive...they won't be detected and you will become aware of that.
So...install your controller card and attach the drives to it. Your drives won't be reflected in Windows...until you install the controller card BIOS and drivers and reboot Windows.
Once that is done, you should be ready to go
The drivers for some cards include the BIOS already...what appears at the card manufacturer's website may be an update. So, although I would download such, I would only install the driver package...boot the system...and see if the controller card BIOS goes by before the XP logon/Welcome screen comes up.
Many drivers come in .zip packages and they include the drivers for that device and various operating systems. You need to unzip that file and extract the contents. Then you need to concern yourself only with the contents/folder which applies to XP Home/Pro/32-bit/X86. The labels change but they are all the same thing.
Typically, a package will have drivers for any O/S that the device will work with...but you only need the one which is indicated for X86 or XP or something analogous. The same drivers apply to XP Home and XP Pro...but not to XP64. There's probably at least one set of Vista drivers in that .zip file. Don't concern yourself with anything other than package for XP or X86 or XP32-bit...something like that.
What I always do...is create a folder for the correct drivers and name it after the card...and store it with all the other programs I keep file copies of. It prevents the possibility of installing the wrong drivers.
Once you have the drivers unzipped, extracted and separated from all the drivers you don't need...you can go to Device Manager and install the drivers for your controller card...or if the drivers include a SETUP or INSTALL file...just double-click that and it will happen.
After the drivers are installed...reboot the system...all should be golden:).