Hard disk speed

  paddy75 10:20 14 Sep 2004

Hi all, i am thinking of getting a new internal hard drive to partner my rapidly filling 40g drive,how can i find out my current drive speed,or do i even have to do that?is it just a matter of connecting the new one up as slave and away you go,Thank's Paddy.

  temp003 10:38 14 Sep 2004

(1) Modern IDE disk controllers can handle independent speeds for the master and slave devices. (2) They are backward compatible - a faster device can work on a slower IDE connection, and a slower device can work on a faster IDE connection - both at the slower speed. (3) So, effectively, you can get any speed, but these days, they would be either ATA-100 or ATA-133.

Just don't buy a hdd larger than 137GB unless you are sure that your BIOS and version of Windows support such sizes.

  paddy75 12:26 14 Sep 2004

temp003 thank's for your reply,i have winxp how do i check to see what my bios will support?i was thinking of a maxtor 200gb drive.Paddy

  Bris 21:53 14 Sep 2004

If you have XP with SP1 or W2000 with SP4 (I think)you shouldnt have problems with a 200Gb drive even if your BIOS doesnt support it however if running W9x or Me its likely that your BIOS will be using 28bit LBA which limits the capacity of the drive to around 137Gb. Its likely in this case that a 200Gb drive will work but you will lose the extra capacity. Go for a drive with 8mb buffer and speed of 7200 RPM for maximum speed. As mentioned it doesnt matter what speed your existing HDD is the new drive will work with it however you may need to consider making the new drive the master at a later stage to improve thruput if you feel confident and have the knowkledge to do so otherwise leave it as it is.

  temp003 09:04 15 Sep 2004

To support hdds larger than 137GB, both your BIOS and OS must support it. OS alone is not enough.

Your OS is OK, that leaves the BIOS.

(There are workarounds if your BIOS does not support it).

BIOS needs to support 48-bit Logical Block Addressing (48-bit LBA) - which is different from just LBA (which is 28-bit addressing). Unfortunately you will seldom see this being referred to as such in BIOS setup or motherboard manual. The options may be called just LBA or Large Mode, which in old boards may also mean the old 28-bit LBA. So you can never be sure.

The most reliable guide is if you can find out that your computer has ATA-133 support. This is because support for >137GB hdds is part of the ATA-133 specifications.

If not, then unless you actually see 48-bit LBA in BIOS or motherboard manual, it's a matter of finding it out on the web, based on your motherboard brand and model.

If your existing BIOS doesn't already support it, there may still be a BIOS update which adds the support. If your motherboard was released in the last few years, there's a good chance there's a BIOS update which adds the support.

If you give us the brand and model name of your motherboard, someone may be able to find out the answer - that will depend on how good the motherboard website is.

If BIOS does not support it, and there's no BIOS update, then you can either buy a PCI IDE adapter (ATA-133) or use the hdd manufacturer's drive overlay software which is a free download. The latter option is the last resort as drive overlay software makes recovery a more complicated process.

My own suggestion is, if you're not sure, just get a 120GB hdd, or two of them. That might save you a bit of sleep.

  paddy75 10:14 15 Sep 2004

Thank's for all your replies,but can you tell me what is the differance between UDMA and SATA drives?and will they work on existing edie connection?Paddy

  paddy75 12:38 15 Sep 2004

Thank's for all your replies,but can you tell me what is the differance between UDMA and SATA drives?and will they work on existing edie connection?Paddy

  Bris 20:11 16 Sep 2004

Paddy 75.. I am running a 180Gb HDD with BIOS at 28 bit LBA and with XP SP1. XP sees all 180GB of it no probs. There seems to be a lot of confusion over whether a BIOS upgrade is necessary. My guess is that XPs HAL does all the accessing and that the BIOS is rapidly being relegated to booting the PC only. Once XP is loaded it seems to bypass the BIOS. Agree with you however that to be on the safe side a 120Gb HDD is the best bet.

  Bris 18:52 05 Oct 2004

Hi Paddy
SATA drives have a totally different connector on the motherboard. To install a SATA drive you either need a motherboard that supports SATA or you can install a PCI SATA adapter card in a spare PCI slot. Most SATA drives currently available are merely UDMA drives with serial adapter circuitry embeded in the controller so there is really no reason for going down the SATA route at present. SATA is very new and the speed advantages of serial transfer have yet to be realised, the current crop of SATA drives are no faster than PATA (UDMA, ATA or whatever).

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