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General System Speed

By Deadly Ernest ·
OK, this is some IDE hardware advice.

Most motherboard that with a PII or later, and all hard drive over 10GB are ATA 100 capable, 100 mhz data transfers. Early motherboards and hard drives are ATA 33, only 1/3rd of ATA 100.

ATA 100 needs 80 pin cables, yet some new systems from shops and major suppliers have ATA 33 (40 pin) cables.

Two devices on the same cable will both work at the speed of the slowest device.

About 95% of the PC CD and DVD drives are ATA 33. Many shops mount the CD/DVD as the Primary IDE Slave, thus slowing the hard drive access down.

The best performance from a modern IDE system is by using two or three hard drives and a CD that are all ATA 100 compatible. You set up the Primary Master hard drive as youroperating system, the Primary Slave hard drive as your Applications/Programs disk, and the Secondary Master hard drive as your data store, with the CD as Secondary Slave. All ATA 100 compatible with 80 pin cables. If only two drives set up the Primary IDE as above and put the data on either one.

When you run an application the system can access all four devices at once instead of hunting over the one hard drive switching from the operating system to the application to the data, as it needs to access different parts of each.

This will greatly speed up the performance of most systems, and works on any system. The use of 3 hard drives will actually give a better operational improvement on slower systems (ATA 33 or ATA 66) or those with big hard drives.

BTW The only inexpensive ATA 100 IDE CD that I have found is the ASUS E616 CD/DVD player.

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Sorry....have to correct you!

by GuruOfDos In reply to General System Speed

There are NO drives, ATA or SCSI, that transfer data at 100MHz!!!

What you mean is 100Mb/sec.

No drives are capable of 100Mb/sec!

100Mb/sec is the maximum peak burst transfer rate for ATA100. This cannot be sustained for any length of time and the average throughput over time is nearer 8Mb per second. Try any good disk benchmarking program and see for yourself.

The speed is only attainable with ATA100 (or ATA133) when data that is buffered in the drive's cache is transferred to the system under a DMA transfer. As even the best drives have between 1Mb and 8Mb of cache, that is where the bottleneck occurs.

To really tweak the speed of an ATA system, ONLY EVER USE ONE DRIVE PER CONTROLLER!!! That is, never use a slave device. Disable the slave controller on the IDE interface and fit an additional controller for more than two drives. Using a slave drive on an ATA interface slows the interface up by 20%, even if both drives are ATA100. This is because of the electronic design of the interface and the extra clock cycles required to multiplex between two devices on the same cable.

If you want raw speed, sustained speed and the fastest possible access times, then SCSI will always be a better choice than ATA.

For mostcomputers, human interaction takes a lot more time than transferring data in or out, so is drive speed really that critical?

Even on file servers, if a drive can only average 8 or so Mb/sec, then that is more than fast enough to keep up with a 100Mbit/sec LAN, 100Mb per sec is about 12.5Mb/sec....and you are not telling me you can copy a 12Mb file in one second flat over CAT5?!!!

ATA100CD?? I can lay my hands on a dozen different models at under US$ 25 apiece. How many would you like?

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Not that many available down under

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Sorry....have to correct ...

I could only find the one ATA 100 CD available in Australia at a reasonable price when I was looking about 3 months ago. That is the ASUS E616, many devices available in the USA and Europe are not made available in Australia due to the smaller market size. I now have all I need.

BTW the cheapest CDs here are around A$55 ea and a good one runs about A$130 up.

Re what the ATA figures stand for, I will get out my text books again however I was told at college that the figure stood for the speed frequency at that they had only dropped the MHz off the end. It was also stated so in one of the text books, will dig through the boxes an look at some point.

I was not refering to MB as the figure. Yes the buffer size affects the data transfer but only in a situation when you are loading data into the drive faster than it can record it, or when you are getting it off the disk faster than it can transfer it.

I was looking at the actual data transfer performance in line with the data read performance. Hard drive access is slowed everytime the drive has to access another part of the disk, if it is access the same hard drive for the o/s, application and data it is constantly drawing from different parts of the disk and thus constantly checking the File Allocation Table (FAT) then going to the releavnt part of the disk. If the one drive is drawing from the same part of the FAT then it can usually access the disk quicker as most modern drives keep the last referenced section of the FAT in a cache to speed up access.

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