I have one Seagate Barracuda 250gb hard drive and two Asus SATA optical drives. I have an Asus M3A motherboard which supports both IDE and AHCI. I have WinXP Prof. 64 bit. Are there any advantages to using the AHCI over the IDE interface? I've heard that the AHCI can increase performance slightly due to what's called NCQ technology. I do know that a person needs to enable the setting in the BIOS to use it, as well as having the driver disk to install the drivers during the installation of the OS on start-up by pressing F6.
Basically AHCI will give you all the benefits of the SATA specification, NCQ, hotswap etc. With one internal HDD that isnt particularly fast i would say its not worth the hassle of floppy drives, drivers and the like. You can also add the driver through slipstreaming it into the cd, negating the "F6" requirement.
NCQ isn't really that much of a performance boost in desktop use so I personally wouldn't bother with re-doing the whole setup just to have it. If you get around to reinstalling your OS, you might give it a try but rest assured that you are not missing out on anything with your current setup.
Think ahead to the day when you might want
to cable an external SATA drive to one of your
motherboard's main SATA ports: without AHCI
you might not be able to "hot swap" any HDDs.
(I'm not familiar with the internals of the M3A motherboard, however.)
Lots of modern cases now come with eSATA ports
e.g. on top or front panels, and a standard SATA cable
to connect to the motherboard's main SATA ports.
To illustrate, we correctly configured the eSATA
port on our ASUS P5W64 WS Professional motherboard,
and it has been very useful for formatting and testing
SATA drives without needing to install them in the chassis.
We keep an old AT-style PSU around, e.g. Antec 300,
which has its own ON/OFF switch: that way, we can
power up devices like HDDs and fans using the Molex
connectors and cables on that AT-style PSU.
Unless you have saved everything to another disk, and it is not a big deal for you to reinstall the entire OS, or you need the hot swap function, it really does not make enough difference to worry about...if you are just concerned about the performance.......really, you will not be able to tell the difference.
Agree with MRFS if you dont have hot swap working on eSATA (if you have them) its a royal pain. I just had the same problem with mine and had to fix it, fortunetly though the eSATA ports were on a different controller to my OS drive so it was only a quick change in the BIOS and an updated driver.
I just got done enabling AHCI on my desktop due to switching out an old IDE for a new sata 3. It's as easy as going into regedit and changing the bit from 3 to 0 on the start process in the msahci folder and restarting your computer. as far as people saying you won't notice the difference, that is complete nonsense. I have a secondary 1 tb sata 2 drive installed and whereas it used to take about 20 seconds to open my movies folder it now is instantaneous after clicking it. the noticeable difference was a massive one and you would have to be computer illiterate to not notice it. I'm sure that on a tiny drive with nothing on it the difference would be much less noticeable but for me it was a must have option and the process is simple (no need to reinstall windows that absurd). sometimes I have concerns with the tech advice on here.