150gb Raptor through PCI?

Recently I was thinking of building a new computer, but I still think I can get another year of use out of my 6800gt, and I don't want to have to trash it by switching to PCI-e, so I decided not to upgrade.

Now recently I was experiencing very long hard drive access times, which was especially apparent in games. After defragmenting, the problem seemed to grow worse, so I ran some benchmarks on my hard drive and I found read times to be less than 2 mb/s. This was a 250gb Maxtor drive that I spent about $80 on, and if what I hear about Maxtor is true, I should have expected it to die.

So my idea was to purchase the new 150gb Raptor -- something that I could use it in my new computer when I do eventually rebuild. Unfortunately, my motherboard doesn't have SATA connectors, so I was thinking I could purchase a PCI card with those connectors and then buy the Raptor. I'm concerned, however, that I'll experience a major performance decrease from not having the hard drive connected directly to the motherboard. Is this a valid concern? Also, are there any PCI SATA controllers that would work best with the new Raptor, and are known for stability and performance?

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  1. Also, is the drive recognition similar the same as how it would be if it were connected directly to the mobo? Or is there a larger potential for the BIOS not recognizing the drive, not booting to the OS on that drive, etc...
  2. generic sata (and sata raid) cards are as usually as good as onboard sata
  3. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. be careful. this is true only if they are of the PCI-X or PCI-E variety. plain ole PCI SATA cards are not worth using... esp if you have a high speed drive liketh the Raptor WD1500. which is exactly what he wants to do.
  4. here's the deal with plain ole PCI SATA cards. they suck. they might have a lot of great features n stuff, but when it comes down to BANDWIDTH you're screwed. PCI bus supports a max of 133MB/s throughput (which is shared by all other pci devices). Additionally, it runs at 33mhz... so there's added latency esp in seek times. it'd be like dropping a 12 cyclinder viper engine into a VW bug.

    if you really want to get any performance out of a Raptor WD1500, you need to find yourself a SATA RAID PCI-E or PCI-X card. Those cards have an enormous amount of bandwidth to work with.

    however, since you do not have sata ports... i'm assuming that you probably don't have PCI-E slots.

    so here's my recommendation: SATA to IDE adapters exist. Here's one:

    Basically you can convert a bad ass SATA WD1500AD Raptor to work on an IDE bus. It's a cheap solution and it works. It'll set you back $23. This is the best recommedation I have. ATA133 will set your performance back a little bit, but no where near what a PCI sata controller would do. Very few benchmarks have been able to breach 133MB/s with those raptors. In real world applications, none do. So it's the best of both worlds.

    you can kiss me now

  5. i thought it was 266mb/s max, but you have a good point there bout bandwidth, how does onboard cope with such a bandwidth issue?

    and btw - if your paying out that much for an expensive hdd, why not get a decent board (or system) to match? ebay the card and get a new one with a new system!
  6. PCI 64 bit supports a max of 266MB/s. But PCI 64 bit is rare in systems these days. PCI 32bit, which is what he probably has, is limited to 133MB/s

    Newer onboard RAID controllers cope with the issue by connecting to the PCI-E bus. However, older on board RAID controllers still use/used the PCI bus to connect.

    Integrated RAID controllers (like NVRAID in the nForce4) are built into the MCP- so they have the hypertransport's full attention. Same w/ Intel's RAID solutions in their southbridge. Intel calls it their "storage matrix." So like intel to put a spin on RAID.

  7. under device manager check the hard disk controllors and make sure they are running in UDMA mode 5 or 6. It might have been set to pio mode for some reason.
    Is this drive also the main system drive? Does windows take forever to load also?
  8. 1) PCI bus speed is only about 127 MB/s The "M" in Megahertz = 1,000,000 while the "M" in MB is 1048576. I wish people will quit quoting 133 and then blaming the 126.8 performane on some soft of overhead or inefficiency.

    2) It taks 2 Raptors to max out the PCI bus, and then only if both are reading at the same time. Since write Rates are lower you won't see any performance decline when copying content from one Raptor to the other.

    3) All PCI bases SATA cards perform pretty much the same in single card operatoin. (RAID performance in another matter)

    Just get the Raptor and a cheap SATA PCI card you will be very happy with the results.

    PS check to see if you slow drive is in the correct DMA mode (6), also check its smart status and run an extended Drive self test.

    If it fails replace it under warranty or if out of warranty throw it in the trash.
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