|"I was told by MSI technical support that the southbridge on this is basically RAID only,..."|
I think you misunderstood.
If the SATA chipset supports RAID, usually trying to install drivers for a similar but non-RAID chipset will not work - you have to install drivers for the RAID chipset.
- those drivers include support for non-RAID use - you can use the drive in SATA a.k.a. AHCI mode as well.
- you do NOT have to set up a RAID array if you don't want to
- you can't set up a RAID array anyway if there is only one drive hooked up to the controller that has RAID support
- if you DO use RAID, usually the RAID array has to be set up BEFORE you install the operating system.
If you don't want to use RAID, do not set up your bios Setup SATA controller mode to RAID mode - use SATA a.k.a. AHCI mode .
If you set it to RAID mode, it is probable that every time you boot will get a message about RAID and there is a short delay so you can press a key to set up a RAID array if you want to.
Your mboard is recent enough that the SATA support on the mboard should support recognizing the SATA II (300mbps) drive without it having to be being forced into SATA 1 (150mbps) mode via a jumper.
I suspect you may have had a poor data cable, or SATA power cable, connection at the time.
Check your SATA data cables. The connector on each end should "latch" into the socket on the drive and on the mboard, or on the drive controller card - it should not move when you merely brush your hand against it near the socket - if it does, mere vibration can cause a poor connection of it - use another SATA data cable that does "latch", or tape the connector in place.
(There is a slight projection or bump on one side of the outside of the connector that "latches" it into the socket - it's easily broken off or damaged)
The same thing applies for the SATA power connection.
Regarding your SATA drive not booting.
If you mean it would not boot at all,
- other than a cable problem, many mboards have some SATA headers you CAN boot a bootable hard drive (or a bootable disk in an optical drive) from, and some you CANNOT boot a bootable hard drive (or a bootable disk in an optical drive) from - sometimes the two types are different colors, sometimes they're not. See your mboard manual.
- make sure the bootable hard drive you want to boot is first in the boot order in the bios Setup - if you have more than one SATA drive connected , depending on which connector you have the bootable SATA driveconnected to, it may not be first in a list of hard drives in the bios, which is usually near where you set the boot order of it isn't in the boot order settings.
Some bioses will boot a bootable IDE drive first when both it and a bootable SATA drive are connected by default, some will boot the SATA drive first by default.
Most if not all bioses will NOT try to boot other than the first hard drive listed in the bios Setup if you have more than one installed when the first one listed is not bootable. .
If you meant to say it boots but it won't load / boot into Windows, that's normal behavior if Windows was installed on the hard drive when it was on a different mboard and the hardware on the mboard you now have it on is more than a little different. Typically, you see the first bit of Windows graphics, then a black screen with a blinking cursor top left, and nothing further happens.
In that case, you can boot using the Windows CD, and choose the SECOND Repair option in Setup (Repair your existing Windows installation or simlar) , without you losing the data that is already on the Windows partition.
Many call that a Repair Install, but I prefer to call it a Repair Setup, because what it does is run Setup again.
An XP Repair Setup will (almost always) not harm your existing Windows installation, but it can only fix things Windows detects as wrong, and/or replace corrupted or missing Windows files that are on your original XP CD. In the case of drastically changed hardware, it will set Windows to the new hardware situation.
You will need a Windows CD of the same version as the one of your Windows installation, and the Product Key, preferably the one that was used to install it, but it can be one for the same version as the one of your Windows installation.
In most cases you get the Product Key from the official Microsoft sticker on your computer case, or from the official Microsoft sticker that came with your Windows CD if it has not been stuck to the case, or if you can't find that or don't have that, you can use a program to find the Product Key your Windows installation is presently using, BEFORE you run the Repair Setup (Repair install) - e.g. search for: keyfinder, by Jelly Bean whatever.
How to do an XP Repair Setup, step by step:
You will need to load all the drivers for the new mboard after Setup is finished.
.....after Setup is finished you must load the drivers for the mboard, particularly the main chipset drivers, in order for Windows to have the proper drivers for and information about your mboard hardware, including it's AGP or PCI-E, ACPI, USB 2.0 if it has it, and hard drive controller support. If you have a generic system and have the CD that came with the mboard, all the necessary drivers are on it. If you load drivers from the web, brand name system builders and mboard makers often DO NOT have the main chipset drivers listed in the downloads for your model - in that case you must go to the maker of the main chipset's web site, get the drivers, and load them.
If your Windows CD does not have SP1 or SP2 updates included, and you updated to SP2, you may have to install SP2 again to get it working properly. SP1 or later is required for USB 2.0 and hard drives larger than 137gb (manufacturer's size; 128gb in Windows and most bioses).
Similar applies to SP3 updates.
If your XP CD does not have at least SP1 updates included, and you have hard drives larger than 128gb (in Windows; = 137gb manufacturer's size), you need to burn a slipstreamed CD that has the contents of both the original Windows CD and the SP1 or SP2 updates (or SP3 updates), and use THAT CD when you run the Repair Setup (Repair install).
Slipstreamed Windows XP CD Using SP2
You can integrate the SATA drivers into the contents of the CD as well, if you want to, then you won't need to load SATA drivers during Setup for this mboard.
You may also need to re-install some of your Windows Updates.