Optimum IDE configuration

Id be gratefull if some1 could give me some advice with regard to optimum configuration of drives for the following setup.

For some reason I have recently encountered a significant drop in performance, I can only assume this is to do with my installation of the actuall drivers for my MB rather than letting windows sort it out, could any1 explain why this should be the case?

My system spec is as follows:

Gigabyte GA7-VTX motherboard
Primary HD: IBM Deskstar 60GXP ATA/100
Secondary HD: an old Seagate 8.4gig drive, Specs available here http://www.seagate.com/support/disc/specs/ata/st38641a.html

Further i have reletively old CD and CDRW drives attached, unfortunately im unaware of the tech specs of these devices (around the same period as the seagate HD if that helps).

Further could any1 explain to me what the score is with regard to IDE cables? Are specific ones required to ensure optimum performance or are any suitable?

Id be gratefull for any response.

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  1. Well you should have a 80wire IDE ribbon cable for the 60GXP. The rest, given their age, should be happy with standard 40wire cables.

    Ideally i would have that 60GXP alone on 1 cable, The optical drives together on a cable and the old slow hard disk on a third cable or as slave to the 60GXP.

    Drives of ata33 or lower specification use 40wire cables. Drives of ata66/100/133 use the 80wire cables.

    <b>All CDs will be protected and you are a filthy pirate! - <i>Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG)</i>
    Serving THGC for over 2 years.</b>
  2. Thanks alot.

    Thats the setup I have at the moment, only im not sure about the cables. Is there anyway to check this?

    Also have u any ideas why ive lost performance on installation of the via 4in1 drivers for my motherboard? Presumably these should increase performance over default MS ones :S ??
  3. Yeah. Look at the cables, count the wires.
    The 40 wire ones have large wires. the 80 wire cables are obviously much finer.

    How did you determine that your hard drive performance went down? And by how much?

    I would just check the Primary and secondary IDE channels in the system devices page to make sure that UDMA is properly enabled.

    <b>All CDs will be protected and you are a filthy pirate! - <i>Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG)</i>
    Serving THGC for over 2 years.</b>
  4. Unfortunately theres nothing techincal about my observations about performance lol. I play a lot of computer games, in particular quake 3. With the installation of the MB drivers i noticed a significant increase in loading times (rather drastic change tbh).

    Im considering removing these drivers and returning to the MS ones and attempting some kind of bench mark test using that sandra program. Would this be a worth while venture?

    The via drivers are required to allow my gfx card to run in AGP mode but presumably i could remove just the part releting to the ide controller?

    With regard to DMA, it is enabled for both HDs on the one ide channel however if i attempt to enable it for the optical drives I completely "loose" my secondary IDE channel (thus the optical drives being unrecognised) forcing me to remove the controller and resinstall it. Ive no idea why this is but all drives are consistanly detected by the bios on start-up, its just windowz having a fit :S

    Just fathomed that i only have 40 wire cables, this obviously stifles performance but its always been like that so i still cant understand the change :/
  5. Using 40 wires cables instead of 80 wire cables does not in itself reduce performance. 80-wire cables were invented to reduce signal crosstalk at high transfer speeds. If you use a 40-wire cable and UDMA is enabled you should get the same performance but with a potential risk of datacorruptions.

    Note: Its possible for the mainboard to detect which cable is used, and force a lower transfer speed. I dont know which (if any) motherboard actually do this. So check that UDMA is enabled for the drive. For now ignore the cable, but in the long run you might want to change it to an 80-wire so you are sure datacorruptions doesnt occur.

    <i><b>Engineering is the fine art of making what you want from things you can get</b></i>
    <A HREF="http://www.btvillarin.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=655" target="_new">My systems</A>
  6. Whoa... that rates pretty high on the "wierd-o-meter"
    enabling DMA disables it for the 2nd-ary HDD. damn strange.

    Some sort of benchmark would be helpful.
    But i suspect half of your problem is due to the elderly devices you are running.

    As for the 40wire cables, that should be no problem with all your old devices, however it somewhat hampers you 60GXP, as it can transfer data at up to 40-50Mb/sec but the cable limits it to 30-33mb/sec.

    <b>All CDs will be protected and you are a filthy pirate! - <i>Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG)</i>
    Serving THGC for over 2 years.</b>
  7. Dont think i phrased my last post to well.

    I have DMA enabled for both hard disks on IDE0. However, when I attempt to enable it for the optical drives, both on IDE1 rather than Windows just switching it off as its not supported it "removes" my IDE1 channel, not detecting either of the CD drives on it :S Consequently I have to reinstall the IDE interface drivers. This is possibly caused by the CD drives not supporting DMA i dont know, but its a rather wierd resposnse, id have expected DMA just to be disabled again on reboot.

    Will attempt some benchmarking :)

    Thanks for all ur help, appreciated.
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