IDE Training Course, Part 1: A Detailed Look at the Basics and Technology

Application Benchmark Winbench 99

For several years, Winbench has been an excellent indicator of the performance you can expect from a hard drive under ordinary circumstances. This clearly shows the quantum leap made in the development process.

Conclusion: A History Of Success

After SCSI, which was considered to be both powerful and reliable from the beginning, IDE and ATA frequently caused compatibility problems in the early 90's. Drive A as the master with drive B as the slave just wouldn't work - however, you may have gotten lucky trying it the other way around. These problems have been a thing of the past since about 1997, when IDE finally grew out of its infancy stage.

With the introduction of the UltraDMA modes, this affordable interface was able to really take off, almost eliminating its performance deficit over the SCSI drives. While only three years ago a SCSI drive's performance still excelled, you'll be hard pressed to find an improvement in performance if you use a drive with 10,000 rpm. Moving on to the high-end scene (esp. servers), the tide turns and expensive SCSI drives show their strengths with many I/O operations per second and huge caches.

Working with IDE devices is made really simple these days; the performance to be expected is on a very high level as well, thanks to bandwidths of up to 100 MB/s (UltraDMA/100). The first products for Serial ATA, designed to increase bandwidth to 150 MB/s and to eliminate the undoubtedly cumbersome ribbon cables, will soon be rolled out.

Nevertheless, the technology and know-how concerning RAID continue to apply; this is a subject we'll soon address in the second part of this series.