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IDE/SATA question

Last response: in Storage
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October 30, 2006 12:11:35 PM

Hi Guys, long time lurker first time poster here. Decided to finally bite the bullet and register so I could actually post myself. Quite surprised that this user name wasnt taken as it is on just about every other forum I register on....


Anyway, on to the point at hand. On all of my system builds I have been using IDE hard drives on the sole basis that if it isnt broken, then dont fix it. I have used SATA drives from time to time, mostly because a customer comes in with a SATA drive that needs replacing. The owner of the busines I work for is reluctant to move to SATA as he has had a number of DOA's and is a little picky...

What I want to know is how much benefit do SATA provide over IDE drives in a non-raid system? would say having the system drive on sata and the data on IDE (or indeed visaversa) be better then using both on one interface? Is there anything else I should really know about? Is IDE on the way out as well? seeing as I am frequently seeing motherboards with only one IDE connector and a million and seven SATA connectors...

As a reference to how picky the owner is, we have only jsut started using PCI-e graphics cards even though I have been pushing for us to do so since i joined the company a year ago...

And rather then make a seperate post as its a smallish question... well i want the short answer anyway, but are modern laptops upgradeable on the graphics side of things. Ive been reading about MXM interfaces but I never see any cards out for general sale... So yeah...

Right, where is my profile... *edits around*

More about : ide sata question

October 30, 2006 12:23:06 PM

better just to use either sata or pata - not both. (can you even do raid witrh pata and sata drives?)

There is a push to replace PATA with SATA, especially on the intel front, the new 965p motherboard from intel does not come with a PATA connector - most (if not all) thrid party vendors have used a third party PATA controller. The reason forthis is, just like with PCI-e and AGP intel are trying to 'continue to innovate'.

Whereas AMD does not produce their own motherboards, VIA, ATI (now AMD) and Nvidia produce them and these vendors include one PATA connector on their motherboards.

modern laptops are not upgradable, as with theri predescesors only the processor + ram are the only main things you can upgrade. :( 

Grapics im not so sure about as most have integrated graphics sooo unless you buy from a vendor you know will put a graphics card in it you have but a small chance.

Even then yuou mioght have trouble trying to buy a laptop graphics card... :( 
October 30, 2006 12:47:45 PM

well we arent really looking into using RAID too much... we only tend to for our higher end machines and our servers... thelatter of which we are still using SCSI... and looking into SAS but we havent got that far yet - we are a small company. So small that I am the only employee... So my time is limited mostly to customers with bits and bobs of research related to the customers needs.
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October 30, 2006 2:01:07 PM

There's several benefits provided by SATA drives:

1. The drives themselves are newer technology. A Seagate 500GB/750GB or Western Digital 320GB or Raptor represents the latest advances in data throughput, cache, etc. I know that at least some of these new drives aren't available in PATA. So if you want to use the latest technology, you'll need to use SATA.

2. SATA has easier configuration. No master/slave/cable select jumpers to set. No restrictions on position of devices inside the case (used to be a big problem when you wanted to use a hard drive as master and an optical drive as slave - frequently, you could not get an IDE cable to reach like that).

3. Some new SATA controllers support features like NCQ and Hot Swap that PATA does not support. SATA hot swap is particularly useful for removeable drive enclosures. I've built several video editing machines that have a SATA hot swap removable drive enclosure - the video editor frequently will store different video projects on different removable drives.

4. The SATA cable is easier to route through the case and doesn't impede airflow as much as the flat PATA cables. The SATA cable is also allowed to be longer than IDE cables (1m for SATA vs. 18" for IDE). This helps with cable routing in large tower cases.

5. RAID options abound for SATA. Many motherboards now have a RAID option, and there are many RAID controllers out there for SATA, all the way from cheapies to high-end stuff. PATA RAID controllers were few and far between.

6. SATA can show slightly higher performance than an IDE setup because devices do not share a channel.

SATA has a few pitfalls as well that aren't experienced with PATA:

1. SATA cables and connectors are more fragile, and are only rated for 50 insert/remove cycles. Be careful that you don't overuse a SATA cable (like on a test bench for example) and wear out the pins inside the connector. Fortunately, SATA cables are very inexpensive, so replacement generally isn't an issue.

2. Some motherboard BIOS's identify SATA drives in a less-than-optimal order when they enumerate all the drives in the machine durning POST. This can be a problem when both PATA and SATA drives are connected to a machine and the SATA drive is supposed to be the boot drive. Make sure the BIOS settings for boot order stay as you intend.

3. Some SATA hard drives have both a SATA power connector as well as a legacy Molex connector. Use one or the other, never both at the same time.

4. SATA transfer rate can be the older 150MB/sec or the newer 300MB/sec rate, depending on what the hard drive supports. If the hard drive supports 300MB/sec but the controller only supports 150MB/sec, they are supposed to negotiate that automatically and choose 150MB/sec. The problem is that some older SATA controllers don't support the auto-negotiation either (The Intel ICH5/ICH5R in particular). If you have a 300MB/sec drive on a 150MB/sec controller that doesn't support auto-negotiation, you can have problems ranging from inability for the BIOS to even detect the drive, all the way to almost normal operation except for odd dips in the transfer rate. In these cases, you need to install a jumper on the drive to limit the transfer rate to 150MB/sec. Most Seagate 300MB/sec drives come with the jumper pre-installed, Western Digitals do not.

Follow those rules, and SATA drives will serve you very well.
October 30, 2006 2:24:43 PM

wow you wrote all that?

good on ya :D 

he's right (the parts that i read of it anyway) :D 
October 30, 2006 3:48:01 PM

If I were building a new system, I'd go with SATA for the reasons listed above.

If I had an older system with no SATA ports I'd use EIDE instead of buying a SATA card because the difference between them is fairly minor.

Overall you aren't missing out on much by going with EIDE, but SATA is nicer overall.

As for using system on one and data on the other.... the only reason I can see to doing this is to put your system on SATA and data on EIDE so that you can move your data to a larger variety of computers in case of an emergency. Otherwise you might as well use SATA for both.
October 30, 2006 6:50:48 PM

Cheers for the reply guys, you have been a great help *plans method of attack on business owner*

:) 
October 30, 2006 7:58:08 PM

Yeah, these guys pretty much nailed it. IDE works perfectly fine since HDD's aren't known for fast data transfers anyways so having the expanded SATA bandwith will have minimal performance anyways.

Worse comes to worse, you can always get SATA controller cards or IDE controller cards (depending on situation) that work fine also.

No need to change if you don't have too...
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