As much as you may not like it, I think you will have to do a bios update. I may be a linux noob, but I can tell you after hundreds of computer builds that socket A boards with sata controllers went through alot of bios upgrades. A lot in part for the sata controller. Depending on when you got the MSI board and what version it is, it may be behind by as much as 5 updates or maybe more if it a early version. Since we don't know what model you have I can say MSI is one of the "better" motherboad manufactures so the likely of a bios upgrade that could fix the problem is pretty good, but we still need to know what motherboard model you have for us to help you better.
Now if there is a bios update then what your most likely going to be looking for is a setting to choose between Raid, Sata or ACHI, or IDE (PATA). Thats asumming your board has raid which I think most sata boards have. I don't think I ever seen a non raid sata board. Once set to IDE any sata drive should show up as a ide drive and work fine in linux. But like what has been previously said, check for a bios update. The settings I described might not be there now, but after an update they could be. Plus flashhing a bios isn't as bad as you might think. Of all the bios flashes I have done I have only had 1 bad flash and thats because I tried install a custom bios and that bios was the wrong one for the board i was putting it on.