Storage

Solution: Why is Jim's ATA 100 hard drive running at ATA 33?

In a recent Pop Quiz, Jim was struggling to figure out why his newly acquired ATA 100-compliant hard drive was only running at ATA 33. This week, we have a solution to the problem, along with two lucky T-shirt winners!

You could win a TechRepublic T-shirt by submitting a correct solution to a Pop Quiz. We’ll select two random winners from all the correct entries we receive per quiz. Just think: You could be the envy of your IT peers!
What could be wrong?
When we last left Jim, he was faced with an interesting problem. He had recently received a bonus at work and decided to go on a spending spree. Jim purchased a new 7200-RPM Ultra ATA 100 20-GB hard drive, a 128-MB DIMM, an Ultra ATA 100 card (his computer only supported ATA 66), and a video game for his girlfriend.

After arriving home with his new purchases, Jim read the manual that came with the ATA 100 card. He discovered that the card wouldn't be able to detect the new hard drive unless the drive was partitioned and formatted before the card was plugged in. After formatting and partitioning, he could then hook his drive to the ATA 100 card.

Once Jim successfully partitioned and formatted the hard drive, he turned off his PC, unplugged the original ribbon from the motherboard, and installed the ATA 100 card in the computer. He then plugged the ribbon into the ATA 100 card, making sure that no other EIDE device was connected to the motherboard. He restarted the machine to see if the card would indeed detect the new hard drive and thus allow it to run at the ATA 100 setting.

However, an error occurred at the boot prompt after Jim powered up the computer. The card had detected the new hard drive, but something was set incorrectly that allowed the card to set the hard drive only to the ATA 33 setting.

Jim turned off the machine and tried to think what he could have missed. He took out the manual for the hard drive and began to read it. Once he got to the section regarding DMA and ATA 100 compatibility, he discovered what the problem was. In his mad rush to get the machine up and running, Jim had left the original 40-pin ribbon in the machine. In order for the hard drive to reach the speed of ATA 100, he had to use the new 80-pin ribbon that came with the hard drive.

Jim replaced the old 40-pin ribbon with the 80-pin ribbon and powered the machine once again. To his delight, a message came up saying that the hard drive had been detected and was running in UDMA 5 mode. He had achieved his goal of running at ATA 100!
This week, we award TechRepublic T-shirts to Jamie Bannister and Rob Bayly, whose winning entries were randomly selected from all correct answers out of the more than 1,100 e-mails we received. Congratulations!

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