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aolszowka
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Dell Optiplex 790 Does not Recognize SIL3132 Based eSATA Cards

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Apparently the first time this was posted it was felt that providing as much information as possible, was deemed against the Terms of Service. In the spirit of any good Freedom of Information Act document the original post is shown below. Should this post still not meet the ToS I would like the chance to hear exactly what else needs {REDACTED} from this document:

I have gone round and round with Dell Support, frankly I'm getting a little sick of hearing the same script from {REDACTED} and the constant deflections and frankly outright false statements by {REDACTED}. Buying from Dell Small Business use to mean that you actually got support and a tech that was willing to take a look at the issue and escalate if necessary , however it seems those days are gone. Anyway on to the actual issue:

I recently bought a Dell Optiplex 790 and I've been attempting to get my SIL3132 based eSATA card recognized and have had little luck. Here's the current system setup:

BIOS Updated to the latest (A06 at the time of writing)
Intel Core i7 2600
16GB of RAM
Gigabyte ATi HD 4550

I've actually got 2 SIL3132 based eSATA cards here to try out:

  • Dynex™ - 2-Port eSATA II PCI Express Adapter model number DX-ESATAP (BestBuy.com)
  • Rosewill RC-219 Silicon Image PCI Express eSata x2 NCQ non-RAID SATA II Controller Card (Newegg.com)

Both of these cards work without issue on my old rig (Dell Optiplex 755) and my even older rig (Dell Optiplex GX260) however after sticking these cards into my new rig they fail to be detected at boot; this was verified by going into the BIOS and looking at the PCIe Slot configuration section of System Information. In addition this cards will normally display the Silicon Image banner upon boot up, which does not happen on this new system.

I have attempted to stick the cards into every single one of the PCIe Slots available on the motherboard  (the 16x, 4x, and 1x slots) with no luck.

The first tech ({REDACTED}) I talked to decided to claim that this was a Windows problem of some sort, and asked that I repeat the same troubleshooting steps that I had already taken. Because I had started the chat on the machine in question (dumb move on my part) I obviously lost the first tech I was working with after rebooting the machine in question. It was at this point that I got wise and found the System Information section of the BIOS to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the card was not detected at all in start up.

Having now proven what I already knew I once again waited patiently in queue for another tech support agent ({REDACTED}) after having to explain the problem all over again, reiterating all of the steps that had been performed, he had a dispatch sent out to replace the motherboard assuming that it was a Motherboard problem.

While waiting for the replacement Motherboard to arrive I continued to research the issue on my own, much to my dismay Google returned few results. The biggest heart breaker was finding out that there was one other person that had the same issue that had posted on the Dell Support China Forums, a machine translation of this page (of which my favorite part is "790 is too black heart") seems to infer that this customer attempted to use another SIL3132 based eSATA Card (albeit one from Syba) with no luck.

After waiting for 2 business days for my Next Business Day Onsite Dell Contracted Tech to arrive with my motherboard and getting it installed I was disappointed (but not surprised) that this did not resolve the issue. For giggles I took the cards into work and tried it on 2 other Optiplex 790 machines that we've got laying around the office with similar specs, each of them failed to detect these cards as well.

Now one would think that this would have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is some type of configuration problem that exists on these motherboards (my best guess is an IRQ problem of some sorts). The contracted Dell Tech that replaced the motherboard sure thought so as well. However the third tech ({REDACTED}) I talked to refused to admit this fact. After explaining the problem AGAIN in detail, {REDACTED} came to the conclusion that the card was at fault. After clearly explaining that this card worked without issue on 2 other machines but failed on every Dell Optiplex 790 that was tried, therefore ruling out that the card was bad. I even took the liberty to link him to the above machine translation of the Chinese Dell Support Site. {REDACTED} instead continued to insist that something was wrong with the Dynex card. At this point he refused to escalate the issue, instead choosing to remain obtuse about the fact and continue to repeat that I should contact Dynex support.

Realizing that {REDACTED} refused to "take ownership" of the issue, contrary to what the canned email responses sent from {ADDRESS REDACTED} says, or get it to someone who might be able to offer a real solution; I decided to entertain him by letting {REDACTED} off the hook and giving Dynex a call. After waiting in queue on the phone with Dynex for several minutes I was greeted by a pleasant woman by the name of {REDACTED} who spoke with a heavy {REDACTED} accent. After explaining the problem and making sure to mention the fact that this card worked on 2 other distinct systems and not on the third {REDACTED} came to the same conclusion that I had a number of days ago: there is something wrong with the Dell Optiplex 790. With this 'new found' knowledge I decided to spin the chamber and go for another round of Russian Roulette with Dell Tech Support.

Now I kid you not you not my fellow travelers but my fourth Dell Tech of the night was none other than {REDACTED} himself ({REDACTED}). If there was anyone in the world that could help a brother from another mother out, the fisher of men, he who raised the dead, he who turned water into sweet wine, it is {REDACTED}. It was if my prayers on high had been answered in some type of cosmic joke centered around my foolhardy blind faith that the {REDACTED} Corporation could provide quality hardware and support at a reasonable price.

While {REDACTED} has been rumored to see all and know all, I had to once again explain the same issue. Thankfully {REDACTED} was willing to listen to my sad sad story and admitted that there was most likely some type of configuration issue related to the BIOS, these words of wisdom were spoken: "{REDACTED}" After giving my contact number and being assured that I would be contacted by someone for follow up {REDACTED} said he could do no more.

Imagine my disappointment when no contact or follow up was made by {REDACTED} or his "Boss" ({REDACTED} are you there?), if {REDACTED} can let you down you do you trust?

So in the meantime I've left with a Computer that doesn't support either of my SIL3132 based eSATA cards, meaning I'm at the moment for getting to my 8TB external array. I've turned to the Dell Community forums in the hope that someone has some sort of solution (or even a brand of known working eSATA cards that support port Multipliers). Help me Dell Community forums, you're my only hope.

As an aside lessons learned from this is that {REDACTED} must pay their techs to get customers problems solved as quickly as possible, or if they can't be solved divert the customer until they give up. While I understand the need to drive down costs in this cutthroat business, {REDACTED} had maintained an excellent reputation in the past on their {REDACTED} side. So much so that it was a driving force in our decision to source {REDACTED} as our sole supplier for the College, and the reason that I continue to bring up their name anytime I am asked for advice on anything hardware related. After this sour experience one has to wonder who do you turn to? {REDACTED} has decided to exit the business, {REDACTED} isn't high on my list because of their ties to the {REDACTED}, which leaves us with {REDACTED} or {REDACTED}, both of which don't have the greatest track record either. Has it really come to the point where we need to start building our own machines for deployment? Has {REDACTED} decided that the Customer Experience is second to providing a decent product?

{REDACTED} what happened to you? Where are the 3 C's? What happened to producing a quality product out of a small business for small business? Is it really going to take another entrepreneur working out of a garage with nothing but 6 ft tables and a couple of screwdrivers in order to turn the tide again here?

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speedstep
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Re: Dell Optiplex 790 Does not Recognize SIL3132 Based eSATA Cards

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Some of the information does not match reality.

   * Dynex™ - 2-Port eSATA II PCI Express Adapter model number DX-ESATAP (BestBuy.com)

   * Rosewill RC-219 Silicon Image PCI Express eSata x2 NCQ non-RAID SATA II Controller Card (Newegg.com)

"Both of these cards work without issue on my old rig (Dell Optiplex 755) and my even older rig (Dell Optiplex GX260)"

The GX260 does not have PCI-E slots.

Some Newer Dells come with a BIOS feature for PCI Enumeration.  Turning this ON or Off may make a difference.

The Power Supplies in the 790 have VERY Little wiggle room.

The Tower is 265W the Desktop is 250W total power. (The 755 has 305W or 350W or 375W power supply.)

I also notice that the Dynex card has a Molex Power connection and 2 power Jacks out the back.

The cards are likely trying to draw 75W or more power from the bus.  This is not allowed.

10W max for the X1 slot


In order to address a PCI device it must be mapped into the I/O port address space or the memory mapped address space of the system.

Some bios also allow an IRQ to be assigned.

A new Bios may also be in order.

Bios A05   06/22/2011

Fixes and Enhancements
1.Added support for Signed Firmware Updates.
2.Additional vPro support.
Added DASH ~{!.~}PLDM for BIOS Control and Configuration~{!/~}.
3.Modify Strong Password help text to indicate applicability
  to Admin and System passwords only,
  instead of "all passwords".
4.Added support for UEFI OS install with greater than 8GB of memory.
5.Updated Intel Management Engine FirmWare to 7.1.13.1088
6.Added support to flash BIOS with /S parameter under Windows
7.Enhanced Admin Password supports
8.Enabled NIC PXE boot by default

Dell™ OptiPlex™ 790


PDF HTML
Setup and Features Information Tech Sheet View Download    
Owner's Manual (Mini-Tower) View Download    
Owner's Manual (Desktop) View Download    
Owner's Manual (Small Form Factor) View Download    
Owner's Manual (Ultra Small Form Factor) View Download    
Intel Active Management Technology v7.0 Administrator's Guide     View Download
System Board Mode Configuration View Download    

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aolszowka
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Re: Dell Optiplex 790 Does not Recognize SIL3132 Based eSATA Cards

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Good catch my friend, it is in fact a GX280 not a GX260.

Do not allow the Molex Connector on the first card to confuse you (I mention this below), that is not pulling power to the card at all, instead that is used for powering those 2 "DC Ports". In addition that would not explain why the Rosewill card did not work (which requires no power), in addition that addition it would also stand to reason that there is enough power to power the HD 4550 which was in the 16x slot. Removing that card and using a known working slot, did not yield a detection in the BIOS.

The BIOS is updated to the latest as was pointed out in the post above, in fact, right above the portion that you copied and pasted:

BIOS Updated to the latest (A06 at the time of writing)

I too assume that there is most likely an IRQ issue at hand here, however this BIOS does not allow for additional configuration to attempt to troubleshoot the issue. I have verified that this does not work with A05 and A06 as well.

Not enough power was another consideration, however I do not believe that this is attempting to pull any more power than any other compliant card. However in order to test your theory I did strip out the Graphics Card when attempting to test this in the 16x slot.

I do appreciate that you were willing to take time out of your day to collect this information, however I am sorry to say that most of this information was investigated .

Dell was kind enough to respond to me via phone early this morning and I have send them a 'Just the Facts' email I have reproduced it below for anyone else that wants to take a stab at this. You will notice below that I again incorrectly referred to my second machine as a GX260 as opposed to a GX280. I have since responded to inform them of my error. I will keep the thread updated with additional information as I receive it:

<Quote>

Hi {REDACTED},

First let met say thank you for taking the time to research this issue and resolve to escalate it to those who can effectively troubleshoot the issue, this is the type of service that Dell has been known for for years with myself and why I continually recommend using them as a source.

I have two Silicon Image 3132 based eSATA Cards that are not detected on boot on this Dell Optiplex 790 running the latest BIOS (A06 at the time of writing), both have worked successfully in my previous system (a Dell Optiplex 755) and an even older Dell System I have here (Optiplex GX260):

Dynex™ - 2-Port eSATA II PCI Express Adapter model number DX-ESATAP

Rosewill RC-219 Silicon Image PCI Express eSata x2 NCQ non-RAID SATA II Controller Card

For your convenience I've linked to the Sil3132 brief here http://www.siliconimage.com/products/product.aspx?pid=32. Again for your convenience here is a list of steps already taken to try and troubleshoot the issue on my end:

  • I have stuck this card into the 1x, 4x, and 16x slots with no avail (IE it was not detected in the BIOS, verified by going to System Information and looking at the 'PCI Configuration' section
  • I have verified that this card works in 2 other machines (a Dell Optiplex 755 and a Dell Optiplex GX260)
  • I have verified that this card DOES NOT work in other Dell Optiplex 790's (with BIOS revisions A05 and A06)
  • I have verified that the check box that states 'Enable PCI' was checked (there is no documentation on this option other than it enables the PCI slot, this could refer to the actual PCI slot that exists on this motherboard or could refer to the PCIe Slots, there is no mention of what the default is on page 41 of the technical guide provided here http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/products/optix/en/optiplex-790-tech-guide.pdf)
  • This Motherboard has been replaced by Dell to verify that there was nothing wrong with the PCIe Slots
  • The machine currently has a Graphics Card Occupying the 16x PCIe Slot (a Gigabyte ATi HD 4550) which operates without issue
  • I have updated the Firmware on each of these cards to the latest firmware provided by Silicon Image http://www.siliconimage.com/support/searchresults.aspx?pid=32&cat=15

A lot of googling reveals that I am probably not the only person that has had issue with this card; apparently a similar issue was posted on Dell Support's China portal, here is a link to a poor machine translation http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=ht... reading through the post it appears that the user is also using a SIL3132 based eSATA card (albeit one made by Syba).

A quick gander of your Dell Online Store shows that you have at least 1 (possibly 2) SIL3132 based eSATA cards for sale, I would go out on a limb to say that this cards would not work either:

  •  <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed / replaced from this post by Dell> which specifically states that it uses SIL3132 chipset
  • I would put good money on a bet that says this card <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed / replaced from this post by Dell> is also a SIL3132 based card based on its low price, a quick google seems to confirm my suspicions.


Continued googling this morning (not sure why it didn't show up last night) has shown these interesting posts on Dell Forms http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/servers/f/956/p/19270165/19470378.aspx, http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/servers/f/906/p/19250747/19404378.aspx which seems that others have run into this issue with other Dell Products (this one specifically being on their Server Side).

Once again thank you for escalating this issue. If you need additional information please feel free to contact me at any time via email or phone.

</quote>

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aolszowka
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Re: Dell Optiplex 790 Does not Recognize SIL3132 Based eSATA Cards

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10/26 Update. The latest BIOS Release (A07) did not resolve my issue. However it did yield some interesting results. If you 'spam' F2 on boot to enter into the BIOS setup the card will be detected (!) and will show up on the System Information Panel as a 'Mass Storage Device' However this victory is short lived as exiting the BIOS Performs a reboot which wipes out this detection.

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speedstep
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Re: Dell Optiplex 790 Does not Recognize SIL3132 Based eSATA Cards

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The GX280 has more power available on the PCI-E Slot and I don't recall them having ANY 10w Limits on the X1 slot.

Dell Compatible Part#: G5611 K5146 U4100 H7276 FC928 FG114 X6554 C7195 0G5611 0K5146 0U4100 0H7276 0FC928 0FG114 0X6554 0C7195 DG476 CG816 XF954 X7967 U7915 KC361 XF961 KC012 CG812

Socket: LGA775

Expansion Slots: 3 PCI, 1X1 PCI Express, 1X16 PCI Express

Chipset: Intel 915 Express


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aolszowka
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Re: Dell Optiplex 790 Does not Recognize SIL3132 Based eSATA Cards

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Some of the information does not match reality:

"The GX280 has more power available on the PCI-E Slot and I don't recall them having ANY 10w Limits on the X1 slot."

The Optiplex 755 Clearly states on the motherboard silkscreen PCIE 1X 10W. I'd be happy to take a photo for you. In addition here's the spec sheet http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/products/optix/en/opti_755_techspecs.pdf (a quick glance didn't show any mention of 10W).

Even if we completely ignore the fact that this card works without issue in the 755 and the GX280, if you look at the reference design I posted above (via SiliconImage's site) you will see the card's power requirements are as follows:

Power Requirements
• +3.3V +/- 9%, .6A (max) from the PCIExpress
Connector

Using some simple math (Watts = Voltage * Ampere) this shows us that the card at MAX will pull a little under 2 watts from the PCIe Connector, this is well below the maximum threshold of 10W.

I appreciate your willingness to continue to troubleshoot the issue, but I'm sure we can safely rule out power as an issue as I stated in my second post.


But never mind that; here comes Mongo:

I got the card working in this box! Though an amazing combination of settings, how I got to is unknown, makes this card work. Which one of these was the root cause I am not sure, hopefully someone at Dell can figure out what the heck went wrong here. At very least put out a bulletin to inform others that they're going to get burned by this. In any case I'm not going to chance changing any of these settings. I happened to stumble across it in my replacement of the main drive with an Intel 320 SSD 120GB Drive:

  • Upgraded to the latest BIOS Available at the time (A07)
  • You CANNOT use the SATA Revision 3 Port on this Board, For some reason using it will cause the card not to show up, in addition I was getting some really really weird behavior out of my SSD when attached to this port (dog slow, such that the Windows Install failed to complete), after swapping to one of the SATA Revision 2 ports my issues disappeared and my SIL3132 based card was detected in the BIOS! This sucks in the sense that this means that I probably won't be able to use any SATA Revision 3 based SSD's (unless Dell releases a fix), but is acceptable in this case.
  • (May or may not be related) I couldn't use a GPT boot disk with windows, so its an MBR formatted disk, sticking in a GPT formatted disk seemed to mess this up (no clue as to why, could just be my imagination)
  • (May or may not be related) I used the Legacy Boot Mode (NOT UEFI) and for *some* reason I have to have the Floppy Disk Drive set as the first boot device (although this machine doesn't have a floppy in it, once again could just be my imagination)
  • It seems to be a shot in the dark if you'll see the BIOS Banner for this card or not, I have not seen it on cold boots, but I have seen it on warm boots. Windows still seems to see the card though which is all I care about personally.
speedstep
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Re: Dell Optiplex 790 Does not Recognize SIL3132 Based eSATA Cards

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The 790 is not an optiplex 755.

The 10w limit for the PCI-E slot is in the 790 spec.

The 755 has a Bigger Power Supply than the 790.

"Using some simple math (Watts = Voltage * Ampere) this shows us that the card at MAX will pull

a little under 2 watts from the PCIe Connector, this is well below the maximum threshold of 10W."

What the paper spec says and what is actually going on are 2 different things.  Putting a watt meter on the unit

before and after installing the card and getting Idle and in use figures for the card should show the actual wattage used.

Replacing a SATA Drive with an INTEL SSD would reduce power use per drive  from 12watts to 4watts.

(Remember the 10w max problem?)

Power - Active - Up to 4W (TYP), Idle: 700 mW (non-DIPM)



www.dell.com/.../optiplex-790-tech-guide.pdf

Page 19.


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aolszowka
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Re: Dell Optiplex 790 Does not Recognize SIL3132 Based eSATA Cards

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Hi SpeedStep apparently we are having trouble communicating here.

"The 790 is not an optiplex 755."

I never once claimed it was.

"The 10w limit for the PCI-E slot is in the 790 spec."

The 10w limit for the PCI-e slot is also in the 755 spec, this is the point I made above. I have attached a picture to better illustrate this point to you: http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/5962/optiplex755.jpg Therefore if the card was attempting to draw more than 10W of power it would not have worked in that (the Optiplex 755) machine period regardless of the increased power supply size.

"The 755 has a Bigger Power Supply than the 790."

I have never refuted this point, however this point is moot based on the below.

"What the paper spec says and what is actually going on are 2 different things.  Putting a watt meter on the unit before and after installing the card and getting Idle and in use figures for the card should show the actual wattage used."

Do you mean a Multimeter? I have never in my life heard it called a watt meter, I've heard it called a Multitester, but never a Watt meter. I would be happy to pull out my Multimeter to prove to you that this card is not pulling 10Watts, but logic should already dictate to you that it cannot be pulling more than 10 watts. Or are you suggesting that I see how much the entire machine is pulling at load? A quick queue to my APC UPS states that my machine (at 100% CPU Load) is pulling 115 watts. In addition to this if you refuse to believe the specifications provided by the manufacture of the card themselves then who do you trust? By that logic the chart provided by Dell could "actually be two different things" this is extremely unlikely.

"Replacing a SATA Drive with an INTEL SSD would reduce power use per drive  from 12watts to 4watts."

Replacement was a poor choice of words on my part and I apologize. By replace I meant to indicate that I was adding this drive in addition to my existing drive that shipped with this PC. The solid state drive in addition to the existing drive are both in the 790, therefore, at very least, the system is now pulling MORE power NOT less.

Even all of the above being said, this still does not explain why, when not using the SATA Revision 3 port on this (The Optiplex 790) board, this card works without issue (in fact I've pushed about 2TB through this card just in the last 24 hours). Are you still making the claim that this card is not getting enough power in the machine that its currently detected and working in? Obviously I have proven here that even using MORE power from the Optiplex 790 the card still works without issue, and that the true issue lies with the motherboard.

Once again to repeat myself this card is now working in the Optiplex 790. The root cause is either one or a combination of the factors I listed in my post previous to this, not due to lack of power.


Please take no offense to this, but I feel like you latched on to blaming the card or the power supply and refused to accept the ultimate issue at hand was related to the motherboard (or to be more exact certain configuration settings of the motherboard). You obviously take great pride in offering assistance to others on this forum, and your information is useful, however when the facts point to another conclusion you need to be willing to accept the possibility that you were incorrect in your assumptions. I wish you the best of luck in the future when troubleshooting others issues.


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speedstep
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Re: Dell Optiplex 790 Does not Recognize SIL3132 Based eSATA Cards

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"Please take no offense to this, but I feel like you latched on to blaming the card or the power supply and refused to accept the ultimate issue at hand was related to the motherboard (or to be more exact certain configuration settings of the motherboard). "

Updating the Bios was recommended early on and CMOS configuration per PCI enumeration was listed as one possible solution.

" the facts point to another conclusion you need to be willing to accept the possibility that you were incorrect in your assumptions."

Power and Bios were suggestions not assumptions.  There is no right or wrong answer. There was no indication that there was only one answer.

The previous posts do not show a repeatable reason why "it works" now vs before.  The "not working hardware was not dell hardware and therefore not supported by dell.

It is reasonable to try to analyze what the issue is by process of elimination.   When you bring up other models and indicate that they work then differences between models are a likely starting point.

"Do you mean a Multimeter? I have never in my life heard it called a watt meter, I've heard it called a Multitester, but never a Watt meter. "

You can purchase a watt meter at your local home improvement store.  It plugs into the wall then you plug your computer into it and it

shows the watts used.

P3's Kill A Watt EZ is an simple way to monitor electricity consumption. It's able to display hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly costs, as well as actual line voltage, all by an easy to use menu system. 


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aolszowka
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Re: Dell Optiplex 790 Does not Recognize SIL3132 Based eSATA Cards

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Hey David,

You are 100% correct that this has nothing to do with power consumption (read my above posts as I continue to point that out). Measuring the consumption of the Power Supply as suggested also is not the correct way to tell how much load is being pulled from the card itself (the correct way would be with a multimeter measuring from the card itself), but that is neither here nor there.

I actually suspect what we're seeing is that these cards don't like UEFI BIOS's (which are used in the newer Dell boxes and is used on that board that the poster over at anandtech is having issues with) which would explain why selecting 'Legacy Boot' worked in my case (I'm suspecting it either disables UEFI or runs in some type of compatibility mode). Have you checked out your BIOS to see if you have such an option?

I'm actually able to see the BIOS Banner and I have my card working in my system now. However I have my card flashed with the NON-RAID Firmware so I can't confirm if I can get into the card's RAID setup or not. I'd be happy to give you the exact details of my setup if you think that'd help you out.

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