I use my home computer as primarily just a videogaming machine, and I currently have an WD ATA-100 hardrive.
My first question: is it worth the time and money to upgrade to a Sata 3.0 g/s drive? Would it be noticably faster than an ATA-100 drive? Drive capacity notwithstanding, I am just curious if it is noticably FASTER.
My second question: is there any benefit to using the SATA drive in AHCI mode as opposed to IDE emulation for playing video games? Because I use Windows XP, getting the drive to run in AHCI mode when installing the OS is a pain.
Nope, it only has a bit faster xfer times, and a smaller cable which is a plus. It also depends on the seek time of the drive, like a Western Digital Raptor, a 10,000 RPM drive, favored as the primary drive for the system files. If your Mobo has SATA, great, you will see a BIT of increase but nothing super. Go SATA 2 and a Raptor, you will see faster load and boot times.
Question #1, for gaming you would see a little faster load times, your PC will boot a little faster.
Question #2, for gaming, you won't notice any difference in AHCI or emulated IDE mode.
SATA drives are pretty inexpensive, although I think that the actual performance gain you will see over your IDE drive is not going to be huge, I would still suggest changing to SATA. For other things you do with your PC outside of gaming, an SATA drive can make a difference.
If you are looking to increase performance, give us your complete list of hardware. You may get more benefit elsewhere for the money depending on your setup.
Newer HDs do tend to be faster, but the interface (SATA v IDE) is not the limiting bit. Increased rotational speed (in RPM and thus reduced latency, in ms) and data density are the primary factors in speed. I would not bother upgrading a HD unless it were failing or I need more capacity.
I was just curious about the speed. A buddy of mine has a new system that I was impressed at the load times of certain games.
My system is a pretty good system.
Core2duo 6400 (overclocked to 2.6 ghz)
2 gig Ram ddr2 667
My buddies computer is a new gigabyte board with a 1333 bus speed and a core2duo 6750 2 gig ram DDR2 800 with a 7950gt, so the combination of the bus speed and the processor is probably what makes it load so fast. He also has a SATAII drive, where I have an ATA100 drive, so I was wondering how much of a difference that makes.