Dunno about the latter, but my guess is that if it requires some software to report to joo, then the software will use up resources, which ain't good for some demanding games == slooow. Don't think it'll actually slow down the HDD.
SMART does not slow down HD performance. SMART status is only checked at boottime. AFAIK windows does not check SMART status.
SMART is a smart way of predicting numerous faults of the drive. SMART can warn about these faults soon enough to allow you to backup data before the drive is completely gone. Ofcourse, if you don't want to know about that or you allready backup data often then SMART may be considered useless. But I see no reason not to enable it.
<i><b>Engineering is the fine art of making what you want from things you can get</b></i>
Windows does check SMART status. If it sees a SMART failure, it reports it in the event logs. If I'd been regularly checking the event logs, I might have noticed that my drive was getting SMART failures and bad block reports before it died.
EDIT: actually my BIOS also reported a SMART failure, but it only reported it after the drive had utterly failed. I also didn't check the event logs until after it had failed, at which point I saw the notices... so I don't know if SMART would have told me before the drive failed or not. By the time I saw the first SMART notices, I was fighting to get windows to see the drive at all.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Grafixmonkey on 02/13/04 05:42 PM.</EM></FONT></P>