IDE Controller failure on mobo?

By Webalix ยท 6 replies
Aug 18, 2005
  1. I have a 20 month old Dell Dimension 4600 running XP with 2 Hard disks installed. The PC was running fine until yesterday when it reported that no hard disks could be found on the system.

    I removed the 2nd HD (slave) and tried it on a different PC, and the HD seems to be perfectly OK.

    Trying to boot up the Dell with just one (master) HD, seemed to work fine as well - at least, initially.

    Thinking that the HD cables may have become defective, I swapped it out and now the Dell refuses to work again (Error message being no primary drive found) - regardless of whether I use the old cable or the new cable.

    Am I right in assuming that this indicates a faulty IDE controller (on the mobo)?

    If yes, is there any way of getting around the problem - e.g. installing an IDE controller card (and somehow designating this as the primary controller and disabling the mobo controller)?

    Any advice would be much appreciated.
  2. Liquidlen

    Liquidlen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,094

    Welcome to Techspot
    For the money of a Mb If I were you I would prefer the Stability of a new one. I am not convinced that disabled Primary IDE controller is going to be reliable in the long run . I am not even going to get into the differences in Data pipline ,as opposed to PCI 's etc.BLah Blah
    Before you do though Do a proper diagnostic test on the drive .Check Dell for update to Bios etc just in case .
    If you do a new Mb make sure it is compatible with that Dell case.
  3. Webalix

    Webalix TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Liquidlen - thanks much for the welcome!

    OK, I take your point about the wisdom of buying a new mobo rather than a secondary IDE controller card. However, does what I had described earlier sound like a kaputt mobo controller? Or am I way off on my guessing here?

    How do I make sure that a new mobo will be compatible with the Dell case? (Sorry, this is the silly question hour). Are the Dell cases not compatible with generic mobos?

    Quite apart from the fact that my warranty period is over, the very prospect of calling Dell's tech "support" gives me the shivers.
  4. SOcRatEs

    SOcRatEs TechSpot Paladin Posts: 966

    Hello! Welcome to TechSpot

    Yeah, dell techcupport, unless you bought the premium extended
    I quiver at the thought.. puke:
    Have you tried the hdd's on the secondary ide?
    When hooking up 2 hdd's.
    did you properly make them master/slave?
    Some boards require hdd's to have the master
    drive at the end of cable and the slave in the middle.
    It almost sounds like one drive might be CS (cable select).

    generic boards may not fit in a dell case.
    I've heard some agp vid cards won't fit in some stock dell boxes.
  5. CesarWilk

    CesarWilk TS Rookie


    I had a motherboard whit that problem several years ago, the IDE1 stopped working. I sold It LOL, the man who bought it said to me that it worked again whit a bios update....... Weird thing puke: puke:
  6. Liquidlen

    Liquidlen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,094

    I have not dealt with a Dell Box in many years.I would try their web site to see if you can get a part # etc for what goes in yours.They do sell parts directly and it might be more cost effective to buy from them.
    Otherwise you may have to take your stripped out Case to a Reseller and test fit .Understand that Dell uses many proprietary parts custom to them ,you just never know what can work till you try.
    Also If you do not have a Microsoft windows disk, but a Dell O/S disk it may not load the O/S to a non-Dell Mb
    My advice to you is based on a principal of you not spending too much $
    If $ is not an issue,great.
  7. SOcRatEs

    SOcRatEs TechSpot Paladin Posts: 966

    I agree Liquidlen
    I have one client that has a dell.
    The box splits right down the middle and so does the MoBo!
    The MoBo is acttually in three pieces with odd data cables connecting them
    to each other. It also has an expansion part that has three pci slots
    that have only enuff room to install nic cards and such (short in height).
    I would never be able to replace any major componant other than HDD, Cdrom etc.
    Even the heatsink and fan are like nothing I've ever seen before.
    It is the epitome of propriety! Though a very good running machine!
    She got the "extended premium level 3 super deluxe platinum Tech support"
    package and still pays me to talk with them when trouble occures.
    Talking to this level TS is like talking with a member here at TechSpot :haha:
    She spent $8,500 usd :eek:
    In my humble opinion:
    I think it wise to learn how to build a machine and get quality componants.
    I tech support myself (with alot of help from mem's @ TechSpot)
    In the end I spend far less over Dell, HP and the likes.
    Situation like Webalix is having instagate PPL to this end.
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