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Advice re/ 2.6 kernel + SATA + d-i/Debian

Hello all,

I saw some bug reports regarding the Intel ichr (ata_piix.ko) SATA driver,
which is the diver used on, among other things, the Dell Precision 370n.  This
is exactly the machine I was considering purchasing, but Dell's web site only
offers SATA or SCSI -- no PATA.

I think I would rather try to avoid the problem all together rather than mess
with it or buy an extra PATA drive for the boot drive that I have to install
myself -- too many deadlines rushing at me!

I've searched for information about other Dell Precision workstations in
debian-boot with few or no results.  Has anyone any experience with the 470n's
or 670n's?  It seems they use a beast called an Adaptec CERC SATA1.5/6ch
v.,A11 (or at least, that's the name of the RedHat Enterprise 3
driver that you can download from Dell support).  So far the only thing I can
find on the 'net is that hardware RAID isn't supported for this controller,
but there seems to be some confusion regarding the exact 2.6.x kernel

Or, baring that, anyone have enough experience with SATA to be able to
recommend what SATA controllers (or motherboards with such beasts built-in)
are suitably mature enough with 2.6, d-i(sid or sarge) and Debian(sarge) to
use as a boot drive?

Thanks for your help,

Michael peek

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