Can a latest HDD make PC faster?

I recently build my new PC. It's a Phenom II X4 955 BE, 4GB ADATA RAM 1333mhz, ASUS M5A88-M mobo. Due to huge price hike on HDD, I am currently using my old IDE HDD, its a WD cavier {WDC WD800BB-63JKC0} 80GB about 7 years old (using via IDE to SATA converter as there are no IDE ports on MOBO).
The problem is Startup, My PC take very long time for startup and take 3-4 minutes after that to become workable. I just have some drivers in startup items, no buggy software stuff.
now it has become very annoying.

I am thinking of buying a new HDD, a Seagate Barracuda {ST1000DM003} 1 TB 64mb cache SATA III.
Will this improve startup speed and overall performance.
My old Compaq Laptop with Athlon X2 and 2GB ram appears much faster than this phenom II & 4GB ram.
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  1. Will this improve startup speed and overall performance.


    Should make quite a difference, but you probably need to reinstall Windows with F6-load the AMD AHCI sata.inf drivers

    (set the drive to AHCI in the BIOS)
  2. ok thanks @wisecracker,
    can you elaborate AHCI stuff a bit......
  3. IDE HDD : 50MB/s
    SATA3 HDD: 110MB/s

    You'll get better performance, typical startup time would be 1min. For some more dramatical startup performance, why not buy SSD, and your IDE HDD can still be used for storage (data stuff).
  4. actually i feel SSDs are still in their developing stage and they are a bit overpriced right now. In coming few years their prices may drop like in case of memory cards. So I don't want to go for SSD right now. I need more storage which only HDDs can provide at nice price.
  5. can someone make me understand in detail about AHCI configuration in BIOS while installing OS. What is that and what to do with that? What benefits will I get?
  6. AHCI(Advance Host Control Interface) Allows the drive to among other things, be hotplugged and use NcQ(Native Command Queuing). NcQ allows the drive to streamline its operation and can improve speeds under the right conditions.

    It is enabled by a bios setting and a driver in Windows(or any OS for that matter).

    Depending on the age of the system it may not even have this option(your system WILL have it).

    The catch is that windows does not like it when you swap the sata modes from sata to AHCI or raid.

    If you are on Win7 or Vista, you may be able to do it without a reinstall.

    Check in the bios, you may already be in AHCI mode(will be called SATA mode. options are most likely IDE,AHCI and RAID). IDE mode was useful for older operating systems that did not know how to use AHCI mode(XP without the need for the F6 floppy driver disk).

    You may also be able to swap IDE -> AHCI mode even under xp, but the directions will be different as XP does not know what AHCI is out of the box.

    As for speed, Your old drive is slow because back on the day, drives did not put as much data on a platter as they do now.
    The more data you can place per platter, the faster the drive can read and write(PMR allowed MUCH more data per platter and much more speed).

    Think of this as the same as going from a CD with 700megabytes of space to a bluray disc with 25gigs of space. CD's had a speed of 1.23 megabytes/sec @ 8X and bluray has 36 megabytes/sec at the same 8X speed.
  7. not familiar with asus bios but it in one that select mode for controling mass storage in bios, usualy the choise are auto, ahci, or raid

    before u install os make sure u using a ahci mode (or raid*) if os installed before ahci, it will require trick to enable it (harder, have to go to m$ patch)

    *raid automaticaly enables ahci

    using ahci will give u some benefit the most usefull is schedulling of instruction, and etc (basicaly performance boost)
  8. "AHCI in BIOS" is a setting you can make - and SHOULD make sure it's correct.

    History: the new SATA drive systems and Windows XP were released at almost the same time. At that time, XP was released fully able to deal with IDE devices through its "built-in" device driver (like previous Windows versions), and this was never changed in XP. It only was changed in Vista and Win 7, which added "built-in" drivers for the new drive type.

    "SATA drives" refers mainly to the hardware system design. From the software side of using them, they are best treated as "AHCI devices". In addition to some hardware improvements that affect performance, AHCI devices also have some extra features that IDE devices never had. For any OS to use any device type, it needs a software driver that manages communication with them. Win XP, like previous Windows, has several "built-in" drivers for common device types like IDE drives, ATAPI optical drives, floppy drives. It does NOT have drivers for other types, such as AHCI devices, SCSI devices, or RAID arrays. It can have those device drivers installed into it once it is running, but that imposes a limit. To be able to use such devices, XP has to boot from a device (typically a HDD), get itself running, then read the required device drivers from that HDD and add them in. THEN it can start to use them. But that means it cannot BOOT from such a device.

    For a long time, Windows has had a process to deal with this. When you first install XP, for example, one option presented early is to press the F6 key if you wish to add in some device driver(s) not already part of XP, and make them a permanent "built-in" driver for all future use. When you do this, that particular installation of XP on your machine now DOES have these extra device drivers "built in" and it CAN load them early enough to actually boot from a device of that type. In this way you can enable your Win XP to boot from a SCSI drive, a RAID array, or an AHCI drive. BUT the only way Win XP knows how to do this is from a FLOPPY drive containing a disk with the drivers on it already. So, to do this, you have to have a floppy drive as part of your hardware (at least temporarily when you first install Win XP) and a diskette on which you have previously loaded the driver file(s). Now, as it happens, about the same time as XP and SATA were coming in, floppy drives were disappearing and many people did not bother to install one in their new machines.

    To solve that problem, BIOS makers included a "work-around". Very near the place in BIOS Setup where you Enable the SATA ports, there is a line for something like "SATA Port Mode", offering choices like "IDE (or PATA) Emulation", Native SATA mode", "AHCI Mode", and "RAID Mode". When using SATA drives, the ideal setting is AHCI mode so that all of the features and performance of these units can be used. If you are installing Vista or Win 7, this is definitely the way to set this option, because those newer OS's have "built-in" drivers for AHCI devices and can handle them just fine. But to use that in Win XP you must do the driver addition from a floppy drive, as above, using the F6 process. The alternative is to set this option to "IDE (or PATA) Emulation". In this mode, the BIOS intervenes and makes the actual SATA device behave like an older IDE device, and Win XP is perfectly happy to deal with that without any added driver. However, in doing this you lose a few of the advantages of AHCI devices, which may or may not matter to you.

    In your case, I suspect you are using Win 7 as your OS, and not XP. So you should set the BIOS Setup option for SATA Port Mode to AHCI to take full advantage of the new design features.

    I still have some reservations about this, though, and this has nothing to do with SATA Port Mode. You are using an older IDE drive via an IDE-to-SATA adapter on a SATA port. You say your boot times are several minutes long. Although a new SATA HDD will surely be faster than the old IDE drive, that would NOT explain a difference of 4 minutes versus 1 minute for a boot. There is something else taking a long time in your boot process. I know my machine is slow to boot, and I suspect that is because my grandson and daughter have loaded many games on it that check with their websites as the machine boots. I'm also suspicious that the automatic re-indexing of the hard drive files takes time. I expect to "fix" this when I upgrade to a new OS soon. But I'm sure I could not fix this with a simple HDD upgrade.
  9. To answer your question, yes - the difference in access time speeds (especially if you select a 7200RPM drive) will improve at startup.

    I personally have made the jump to an SSD and would never go back. Intel, Samsung & Crucial have been making quick and reliable drives and on occasion you can nearly get $/GB pricing. Considering you're currently using a 80 HDD, you could likely either shrink to a 64GB SSD or get a 128GB drive. I just got a 128GB Samsung 830 from newegg this week for $136 - it's incredibly fast and I have used them in order builds without any complications. I have a 120GB Intel 520 in my desktop and it also has been bulletproof and is the fastest drive I have used.

    Just my two cents...
  10. psm360 said:
    ok thanks @wisecracker,
    can you elaborate AHCI stuff a bit......

    No worries, mate :D Glad I could help as little as I did (with all the great responses).

    As you re-install Windows (with the new HDD set as AHCI in the BIOS), simply have the most current AMD AHCI sata.inf file available on a thumbdrive.

    Carefully pay attention and you will see the *F6 Load Drivers* button -- click it, browse to the thumbdrive, and there yah go.

    AHCI also includes a port-multiplying function allowing up to 15 SATA devices per port. Your motherboard does not have eSATA, but with a $5 bracket like this you can run a fancy multiple-bay external HDD enclosure.
  11. @nukemaster & @paperdoc, Thanks a lot, you guys explained me in huge detail very effectively.
    @wisecracker, Thanks for suggesting thumb drive option, actually that ancient floppy drive option pinched me. ;D
    I will try to reinstall OS. Yes I am using Win 7 ultimate 64bit
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