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

Test Configuration

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Test System
ProcessorIntel Pentium 4, 2 GHz, 256 kB L2-Cache (Willamette)
MotherboardIntel 845EBT,845E chipset
RAM256 MB DDR/PC2100, CL2Micron/Crucial
IDE controlleri845E UltraDMA/100 controller (ICH4)
Graphics cardATI Radeon SDRAM, 32 MB
Network3COM 905TX PCI 100 Mbit
Operating systemsWindows XP Pro 5.10.2600
Benchmarks and Measurements
Office applicationsZD WinBench 99 - Business Disk Winmark 1.2
High-end applicationsZD WinBench 99 - Highend Disk Winmark 1.2
Performance testZD WinBench 99 - Disc Inspection TestHD Tach 2.61
I/O performanceIntel I/O Meter
Drivers and Settings
Graphics driver5.1.2001.0 (Windows XP standard)
IDE driverIntel Application Accelerator 2.2
DirectX version8.1
Screen resolution1024x768, 16 bit, 85 Hz refresh


Data Transfer Performance

Those were the days! These days you can barely do anything with maximum transfer rates of some 8.6 MB/s (Quantum UltraDMA/33). The first truly remarkable improvement in performance was brought about by the first generation of IDE hard drives featuring 7,200 rpm and UltraDMA/66.

Burst Performance

This clearly shows what each interface has to offer. While the first two UltraDMA/33 drives had access times of some 30 MB/s, the maximum (reading from the hard drive's cache) jumped to over 50 MB/s with Seagate's Barracuda ATA (UltraDMA/66), and today's UltraDMA/100 hard drives feature an impressive 86 MB/s. This upper limit will soon be pushed significantly, with the introduction of Serial ATA.