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IDE ATA Ultra on IDE ATA connector?

Last response: in Storage
August 1, 2012 5:00:56 PM


Thank you for reading this thread, I extremely appreciate it; also thank you for your responses too. :) 

Just a quick question (I hope), I've attempted to search for an answer but, unfortunately no avail. Perhaps it's just too simple for anyone to even ask, but of course, I am a newbie. :p 

Will an IDE Ultra ATA100/ATA-6 hard drive be compatible on a motherboard which only sports IDE ATA 100/66/33?

Thank you. :) 
August 1, 2012 5:35:13 PM


Thank you for your response; I extremely appreciate it. :) 

I understand the difference between IDE and SATA, but I doubt that an IDE Ultra ATA100/ATA-6 is a SATA device; I believe it is an IDE device, as the name implies. Of course, I'm not going against you, and I do understand your logic. :) 

I'm planning to purchase a ST3160215ACE hard drive; which is a 160GB Seagate DB35.3 to attach onto my motherboard; which only sports IDE ATA 100/66/33. The hard drive:

The manual above states it is a PATA device, which is IDE right?

So back to the main question; Will an IDE Ultra ATA100/ATA-6 hard drive be compatible on a motherboard which only sports IDE ATA 100/66/33?

Thank you once again for your response, I appreciate it.
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a c 371 G Storage
August 1, 2012 5:56:39 PM

If I run diskcheckup on my sata drive, it states it's running ATA-6.

Yes, PATA (parallel ATA) is IDE. SATA = Serial ATA.

I wouldn't worry about the bus speed (133/100/66/33) as much as the interface. If your motherbaord has PATA only then you need a PATA drive.

August 1, 2012 6:09:47 PM

Thank you for your response once again, I extremely appreciate it. Thank you. I hope that line hasn't become cliché, as I actually mean it. :) 

So, the Seagate 160GB drive should work perfectly fine, right? Of course, I'm going to assume that I'll receive lower speeds than expected, as my motherboard doesn't have IDE Ultra; just IDE alone.

Thank you for your response again. I'll just buy the drive and check if it works, I'm sure it will, thanks to your response.

Again, thank you. :) 
a c 371 G Storage
August 1, 2012 7:06:19 PM

Yes, ATA is backward compatible, so a ata-133 can drop it's speed to ata-100 if that's all your motherboard supports. The important thing is to match the drive with the motherboard interface, SATA or PATA.
a c 342 G Storage
August 1, 2012 7:25:49 PM

The "Ultra" thing was just introduced to indicate the version of ATA is faster than the original ones. They started at 33 Mb/s and sped up, reaching 133 at the end.
Your mobo supports the 33, 66 and 100 speeds, and your drive is built to use the 100 speed system, so you're OK.

You should check one other thing. Since the early '90's at least, HDD's have been using an addressing system known as "LBA", and machines using this have boasted that they "support large hard drives". The original version of this used a single address number of 28 binary bits' length to specify what Allocation Unit (Sector) to access on the disk, and that system allowed for HDD units up to 137 GB in size, as counted by the makers of HDD's. (Windows uses a slightly different definition of "GB", and it calls this a 128 GB HDD.) To use any HDD larger than this you need the latest version of LBA, called "48-bit LBA Support", BOTH in the mobo HDD controller, AND in the Operating System. (These were introduced about 2000, and some systems made into the early 2000's lacked the new LBA system on their IDE ports, although it IS included in all SATA ports.)

So you need to check first whether your mobo has this Support for 48-bit LBA. Note that just "LBA Support" or Support for large hard disks" is not enough - it must specify the 48-bit part, OR specify disks OVER 137 GB. If you do NOT have this feature in your machine, sometimes you can get it. The IDE HDD controller on your mobo really is run by a part of the BIOS, so often you can download and "burn" a new updated version of the BIOS for your machine that adds this feature. The website of the mobo maker may have BIOS updates for your model, and software utilities to "burn" the updated file to your BIOS chip.

For the Operating System part of this, the original version of Win XP did NOT have this feature. It was added in Service Pack 1 and maintained after. So if you have ANY SP installed on Win XP, or if you have Vista or Win 7, you're OK. But if you are using Win XP with NO SP's installed, you MUST update it before installing any drive over 137 GB. And if you are using an OS earlier than Win XP, you must try to update it with that feature is possible.

There is a way out of this, sort of, if you find it impossible to ensure that you have 48-bit LBA Support in BIOS and your OS. Seagate's drives have a feature you can access by downloading and using their free utility package called Seatools. It allows you to limit the effective size of your Seagate HDD to the 137 GB limit that the older 28-bit LBA system imposes. In it you get to specify the MAXIMUM number of Allocation Units (Sectors) on the drive by manually entering the number. That number to enter is 2^28, or 268,435,456. (If you allow for 512 bytes per Sector, this makes the disk capacity 137,438,953,472 bytes - that's 137 Billion bytes, right?) From then on, your HDD will always behave as if that is its real size, and you will never have a problem using it in an older system that lacks 48-bit LBA Support. However, you are now forced to use a disk a bit smaller than you bought. By the way, I have done exactly this with a 160 GB Seagate unit in an old system from the mid-90's.
August 1, 2012 9:28:41 PM


Thank you for your responses everyone! I extremely appreciate them, more than I can say.

Paperdoc, thank you for your response also. You definitely went to a lot of effort, and I thank you very much. I hope others can use your post for reference someday.

Unfortunately though, with your response, I became tangled in more questions and difficulties. I'm wondering whether my motherboard supports 48-bit LBA. From your post, based upon dates, I'm going to assume my mobo does, however, I cannot be certain. My operating system should be of no problem, since I'm running Windows 7 on my 7 year old computer luckily.

My motherboard is an ASRock P4i45GV R5.0, which I believe was released in early 2004. Due to the release date, is it possible to have 48-bit LBA pre-installed? I went and took a look through my BIOS, and found the option "LBA Mode" on a hard drive (all current hard drives drives on my computer state "LBA Mode: Enabled" in BIOS). My current hard drives are 40GB, 10GB and 30GB; so I guess I don't need LBA mode enabled; of course, that's 48-bit LBA.

So, does my motherboard possess 48-Bit LBA? Sorry for asking so many questions.

That's my motherboard manual above (linked), states:

LBA Mode: This allows user to select the LBA mode for a hard disk > 512 MB under DOS and Windows; for Netware and UNIX user, select [Off] to disable the
LBA mode. (page 20)

Also my motherboard manual states:

Ultra DMA Mode
Ultra DMA capability allows improved transfer speeds and data integrity for compatible IDE devices. Set to [Disabled] to suppress Ultra DMA capability.

I'm sorry again for asking so many questions, but what is the Ultra DMA Mode? Will I be able to run IDE Ultra?

Sorry again, and thank you very much for all your help everyone! Thank you again. :) 
a c 812 G Storage
August 1, 2012 11:11:45 PM

that should have the ICH4 southbridge which does have 48bit LBA so unless the bios isnt update to support it, which I doubt, then you should be fine.
a c 342 G Storage
August 3, 2012 2:59:43 PM

With a bit of searching on the ASRock website for your mobo, I found an answer to a question in FAQ here:

It confirms the mobo DOES support 48-bit LBA, so you are OK there. And as you say, Win 7 also is OK, so you have NO problem with hard drives over 137 GB. Go ahead!

I suggest you Enable the Ultra DMA mode on your mobo's IDE ports. Set the configuration (mobo manual pages 19-20) to Auto-Detect and it should set most of the rest itself. If there is any confusion, set to LBA mode. This covers both the older LBA mode needed for drives over 0.5 GB and up to 137 GB (your old drives) AND your new larger drive. Do NOT set to USER mode that requires entry of other parameters. You can turn on the next 4 - Block Mode, Fast Programmed I/O, 32-bit transfers, and Ultra DMA.