As I finally heard from Intel that the ICH7 chipset on my DG41TY mainboard does NOT have the ability to support NCQ or port multiplication I looked around for a PCIe-x1 add-on card that could do so. I found a card with the SiI3531 chipset available for a very good price and ordered it.
While I was exchanging messages on a listserver about this topic someone warned me that some add-on cards have BIOS that will write their own RAID formatting to a drive attached to them. As I am going to be connecting an ARC-5020 external RAID unit, which of course is already RAID formatted and appears as a set of multiple drives, this would be deadly to my already formatted unit and the operating systems and data loaded on them. Given this I have installed the card but have not yet attached the unit to the eSATA port. I see no additional BIOS messages at startup, so perhaps this particular card has no such BIOS. Or perhaps the BIOS doesn't even issue messages until a drive is attached.
I have booted Gloria with this card installed and lspci -vv shows the following for it:
02:00.0 Mass storage controller: Silicon Image, Inc. Sil 3531 [SATALink/SATARaid] Serial ATA Controller (rev 01)
Subsystem: Silicon Image, Inc. Sil 3531 [SATALink/SATARaid] Serial ATA Controller
Control: I/O+ Mem+ BusMaster+ SpecCycle- MemWINV- VGASnoop- ParErr- Stepping- SERR- FastB2B- DisINTx-
Status: Cap+ 66MHz- UDF- FastB2B- ParErr- DEVSEL=fast >TAbort- <TAbort- <MAbort- >SERR- <PERR- INTx-
Latency: 0, Cache Line Size: 64 bytes
Interrupt: pin A routed to IRQ 16
Region 0: Memory at d2202000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=128]
Region 2: Memory at d2200000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=8K]
Region 4: I/O ports at e000 [size=128]
Capabilities:  Power Management version 2
Flags: PMEClk- DSI+ D1+ D2+ AuxCurrent=0mA PME(D0-,D1-,D2-,D3hot-,D3cold-)
Status: D0 PME-Enable- DSel=0 DScale=1 PME-
Capabilities: [5c] Message Signalled Interrupts: Mask- 64bit+ Queue=0/0 Enable-
Address: 0000000000000000 Data: 0000
Capabilities:  Express (v1) Legacy Endpoint, MSI 00
DevCap: MaxPayload 1024 bytes, PhantFunc 0, Latency L0s <64ns, L1 <1us
ExtTag- AttnBtn+ AttnInd+ PwrInd+ RBE+ FLReset-
DevCtl: Report errors: Correctable- Non-Fatal- Fatal- Unsupported-
RlxdOrd- ExtTag- PhantFunc- AuxPwr- NoSnoop-
MaxPayload 128 bytes, MaxReadReq 4096 bytes
DevSta: CorrErr+ UncorrErr- FatalErr- UnsuppReq+ AuxPwr- TransPend-
LnkCap: Port #0, Speed 2.5GT/s, Width x1, ASPM L0s, Latency L0 unlimited, L1 unlimited
ClockPM- Suprise- LLActRep- BwNot-
LnkCtl: ASPM Disabled; RCB 64 bytes Disabled- Retrain- CommClk+
ExtSynch- ClockPM- AutWidDis- BWInt- AutBWInt-
LnkSta: Speed 2.5GT/s, Width x1, TrErr- Train- SlotClk+ DLActive- BWMgmt- ABWMgmt-
Capabilities:  Advanced Error Reporting <?>
Kernel driver in use: sata_sil24
I see no mention in the above of a ROM, even a disabled one. Can I be certain in this case that there is no BIOS ROM?
I have a message in to Areca support asking if there is a way to write-protect the unit, but I got an automated message that they are out until Monday due to a typhoon in the area. Should I wait to hear back from them?