Ok so not too long ago I was loading up my computer and I noticed that my hard drives that are a Western Digital Caviar Black 640 GB, and Seagate barracuda 7200.11 320 GB were running in IDE.
I am just puzzled because they are both SATA drives and connected to SATA ports on my motherboard. I would like to know what this is and is it holding back my performance on these drives. If so how can I change them to run in SATA.
Asus P5Q Pro LGA 775 mobo
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
ATI HD 5850
4 GB G.Skill DDR2 800
Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit
Do not worry, and you may not want to change it. I looked at your mobo manual on page 3-13, SATA Configuration, Configure SATA As .... It indicates that you probably have your mobo's SATA ports set to IDE mode, the default way. This makes your actual SATA drives appear to Windows to be simple IDE devices. Doing it this way means you cannot take advantage of a few features of of these drives, but it makes things simpler for Windows.
On the other hand, this mode was mainly designed for use with Windows XP because of its limits. You have Win Vista which is supposed to be completely able to handle AHCI devices. So I expect you CAN go into BIOS Setup and change this setting to AHCI, Save and Exit to reboot. Do this for the ONE HDD that you have that is NOT your boot drive. See if that works there. If you have trouble, DO NOT WRITE ANYTHING TO THE DRIVE, just change it back, Save and Exit again. But if it works just fine, go back in and make that change also for your other drive. If Vista is fully up to the challenge you will have all the features of AHCI working for you.
This will not affect basic data transfer rates, but it does through an optimization feature. What you miss mainly is something called NCQ, or Native Command Queing. With that operating on a AHCI unit, writes to random locations on the HDD are NOT written immediately - they are buffered for a while, in hopes that another write operation will come along to be done on a nearby area. This allows the drive's brains to optimally reschedule the movement of the heads, resulting in overall faster data transfers. There are other features, too, that I don't remember. One must be support for delayed writes, which allows this NCQ feature to work but still protects the disk from failure to complete pending write operations as it is shut down. This particular feature is more important for random operations than for serial access to long files. For more, search the web for a list / explanation of AHCI.