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Brave New World: Operating IDE Hard Drives on SCSI Host Adapters

SCSI Or IDE? It's Not A Question Of Taste

In reality, it's a non-issue for home PC users. While it may be faster, SCSI is much more expensive and, hence, unattractive. In addition to shelling out a lot for a modern drive, you will also need to buy a host adapter. Those who want a RAID controller as well will have to fork out at least the price of a fast Pentium 4 on top of that.

Thanks to two Ultra160 SCSI channels, the Adaptec 39160 offers a degree of versatility that is hard to beat.

IDE drives are very fast these days and offer a lot of capacity. And in terms of value, they knock SCSI out of the park.

The server segment is a whole other ball game. It's not about a few gigabytes - priority goes to maximizing reliability and performance since, at best, downtime may cost a lot of money and, at worst, your company's existence...

And that is precisely what makes SCSI components so expensive: development is expensive, the components are high-quality, and lot sizes are comparatively small.

Recently, however, Maxtor announced that it would be venturing into the server segment with a new range of drives with an IDE interface. With a low minimum performance and to-be-expected reliability, the aim was to offer significantly enhanced capacity than with SCSI (a maximum of 147 GB). In theory, this plan is extremely promising, because for the price of five Ultra320 SCSI hard drives, each with 147 GB, you can currently buy 15 state-of-the-art IDE hard drives, each with 200 GB.

The only things that are still missing are suitable controllers. There's not much chance of manufacturers launching high-end versions for this many IDE drives. There are, however, plenty of SCSI host adapters.