Should I upgrade top SATA?

Should I upgrade top SATA?

Will upgrading to a SATA drive make any noticeable difference to the speed of my computer?

My spec is:

Elite RS480-M skt 939 motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice
2x 512mb Geil DDR PC3200
200gb Maxtor DiamondMax 10 (8mb cache) IDE
Windows XP SP2 (but considering upgrading to Vista)

It’s a bit of an old system, but I can’t afford to start again with a new motherboard, so am going to upgrade the processor to a Athlon 64 X2 3800 skt 939 while there are still some available. I was thinking about picking up a new Hard Drive while I’m at it as I’ve always wondered if having an IDE instead of SATA drive was causing a bottleneck? I do a lot of video compression / conversion etc, which certainly puts it through its paces!

I know this has been debated many times, but most of the discussions on I’ve found about this date back to 2004/5, so I want to ask this again taking into account advances in HDD technology since then, but also bearing in mind my motherboard is a few years old & only supports SATA 1.5 (as far as I can tell).

Would one of the drives below make a noticeable difference?

320GB Seagate ST3320620AS Barracuda 7200.10 SATA 16mb cache NCQ
320GB Samsung ND321KJ SpinPoint T166 SATA300 7200 rpm 16mb cache NCQ

As well as being SATA they have double the cache. I don’t need the storage, just looking for an improvement in the speed of my PC, but don’t want to spend another £50 unnecessarily.

Thanks in advance!
12 answers Last reply
More about should upgrade sata
  1. the cache is doubled so yes it will be faster than 8mb. and go with seagate between the two you're lookin at!
  2. I've used that exact same Seagate 7200.10 on a SATA 1.5 controller without issues. There's also a jumper that comes on the drive from the factory that can force it to SATA 1.5 if there is a compatibility problem with older controllers. But when I used it, it was set for SATA 3.0 and worked fine on the older controller.

    I can't verify the Samsung drive. Sorry.

    Also, it's not the interface that will speed things up (IDE vs. SATA). The newer drives have platters that are more dense and have more cache, that's what will make the newer drives feel faster than your old one.
  3. What do you use the PC for?

    Depending on that, a RAM upgrade (to 2 GB) and a single very fast HDD would maybe be better or "just enough".
  4. First and foremost, with the current computer you have, do not get Vista.
    The Seagate 7200.11 series of sata hd's are fast, about $120 for a 500GB drive.
    Another 1GB of ram will also do wonders for you, about $50.


    Rattus Viola: Sino non they quisnam operor non have scientia futurus vestri rector.
  5. Agreed. Get a Seagate. Now the interface will help. One SATAI drive for me from my IDE though made a difference. Then when I bumped up to a RAID0 it really jumped the performance. I can insteal Windows XP in 15minutes.

    Considering your mobo you might be limited to SATAI. The cache will help a lot. I say do it!!!!!!!!
  6. Definitely upgrade the RAM to 2GB.
  7. Many thanks for your comments.

    So that sounds like a yes to Seagate. As a few of you mentioned RAM, I was considering going up to 2g, but my board only takes DDR which is more expensive than DDR2. My upgrade spend would be:

    New processor £60
    Seagate HDD £50 (320GB)
    2GB RAM £70

    =£180

    Also wondering if a 3.0 SATA card would make a difference? (another £18):

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=676573

    That’s more than I wanted to spend, and if I did I may as well start again from scratch with a new motherboard and components.

    So, it’s either the HDD or 2GB RAM. Which would make the most difference?
  8. No, the SATA 3Gb/sec. card will not help. the SATA 1.5Gb/sec. already outstrips the bandwidth required for that drive. It's not really the change to SATA that is giving you the speed increase, it's the improvement in the drive itself. It just happens to be SATA, since that is the newer interface.
  9. So, my decision has changed to: Buy 2GB Ram or a Segate Drive? Which would make the most difference? I use the PC for general office work, lots of surfing and, most important to this thread, video editing, compression and conversion.

    Thanks.
  10. That's a hard one to pin down. the Seagate is about 12MB/sec faster give or take. But one GB of RAM really isn't enough. I would say better to get the RAM. Maybe someone more into video editing, compression and conversion could post their opinion.
  11. There are many benefits to SATA, smaller cable, easier configuration and setup. But overall, sata vs pata, really not much of a performance difference, not worth upgrading if your going to keep your current system.

    Your best bet in my opinnion, when you upgrade your whole system, definetely make the change. But don't simply go from pata to sata thinking your going to do it and notice a big difference in performance. Better bet would be upgrading ram, processor or something else.

    Very very small performance gain if any, the only way you might be able to tell is doing an hdtach benchmark, other then that a waste of time. Now, on if you want to upgrade storage size, then yes absolutely go with sata.

    Regarding new hard drive or more ram for performance, ram is going to win hands down.
  12. Thanks. I'll leave it as it is for the mo, and when i get my new processor i'll see how it performs then & decide if i need the RAM or not.
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