PCI ATA-133 Controller Card

  Gaz W 23:58 27 Apr 2004

I'm looking to install a new hard drive on my W2K Server. The onboard IDE controller isn't good enough for my requirements (ATA 33 and small drives), but a controller card I believe would not only allow me to upgrade to ATA-133, but also use much larger drives. I don't have the time to build and configure a new "proper" server yet, but this would allow my current one to go on a bit longer. The full specs are:

QDI Titanium IB+ (that is 1B+ actually)
Pentium 233 MMX
Cirrus Logic Graphics Card (PCI)
Maxtor 10.2GB Hard drive (speeds unknown yet)
SoundBlaster 16 Value PnP (ISA)
Kingston 10/100Mbps Ethernet Adapter (PCI)
NetGear 10/100Mbps Ethernet Adapter (PCI)

The motherboard has 4 PCI slots and 3 ISA slots (1 PCI/ISA shared), so as you can see I do have one PCI slot available (not occupied by ISA).

Probably too much in the way of specs there, but basically my question is this:

I've heard that Promise controller cards are good, although they are expensive (around £85 on dabs.com). I found some ATA-100 Promise cards on Ebay currently around £10 and less, but these are only ATA-100. There are some other ATA-133 cards someone is selling (several of them). This isn't a Promise card, but does anyone think it would be any good?

click here - it has RAID capability but I'll not use that.

Basically I just want to install a second hard drive to here (about 200GB, ATA-133, 7,200rpm) and was wondering will this card will do the job properly?

Here is the Promise ATA-100: click here

  bremner 00:14 28 Apr 2004

Have you considered whether the PCI bus on your motherboard can cope with ATA 100 or 133?

  bremner 00:17 28 Apr 2004

This might help click here this explains PCI bus development

  Gaz W 00:28 28 Apr 2004

As the table states, 33MHz PCI bus can cope with 132MBps, which would suggest it can. Unless it has to share with the other components?

Again the motherboard is a QDI Titanium 1B+ (Baby AT). You can download the manual here (direct link to the zip file containing PDF): click here

I have scanned it for viruses and everything so it is OK to download if you want to have a look yourself.

  bremner 00:31 28 Apr 2004

I was only ensuring you had considered it - I didn't know the actual answer.

I'm on a slow connection tonight so I won't download the pdf.

  temp003 03:33 28 Apr 2004

If you want to use a 200GB hdd, you need to make sure that the PCI IDE adaptor supports it. Any ATA-133 will do (as the ATA133 standard includes support for hdd larger than 137GB).

I've seen Promise BIOS updates for ATA-100 cards to support larger than 137GB hdds, they need to work with a particular version (or later) of the Promise driver, which if available for the model, can be downloaded from their site. I don't know whether it will work. Would be a great pity if you could only use 137GB out of the 200.

Safer choice would be to stick to ATA133 cards.

The ATA133 card on eBay doesn't say who the manufacturer is. Can't see the words on the chip on the card in the picture either. Can't say whether it's any good.

The other Promise ATA100 card should be good (subject to it being ATA100). Also a bit of an overkill supporting 6 IDE devices (and rather long - make sure your tower case has space for it - it should be OK since it's still PCI but it may be a bit crowded). Before you bid, check whether it supports large hdds.

Make sure power suppy is enough for these additional devices.

You need SP3 or later to support hdds of this size. With w2k, you also need to enable large disk support manually in the registry (even with SP3 or SP4, it's not enabled automatically) - which means that if you're going to install w2k server from scratch on the new hdd, the installation process will still only see 137GB (128GB to Windows). Then after installation, enable large disk support, probably need to restart, then create further partitions from the additional space OS can now see.

If installing w2k server to new disk on PCI adapter, remember to press F6 as soon as you see w2k Setup loading, to install disk controller driver. Get driver ready on floppy and you'll be prompted to insert it at a later stage. Otherwise Setup will tell you can't detect hard drive (or can only see old hard disks on board).

  temp003 03:46 28 Apr 2004

click here for BIOS update for the Promise SuperTrak100. It doesn't mention requirement for any particular Windows driver. (But I still think the card is bit of overkill for your system).

  Gongoozler 08:12 28 Apr 2004

My understanding is that the ATA speed makes little difference because it only speeds up the data until the hard drive cache is empty, typically 2 to 8 Mb, but a 7200rpm drive is quite noticeably faster than 5600 because it actually reads the data more quickly.

  stlucia 08:45 28 Apr 2004

I bought an IDE card with RAID capability a while ago, not knowing it was RAID and not wanting RAID. I don't know what brand it was, but I had to take it back because it just wasn't compatible with my setup. I've settled for a Maxtor IDE (no RAID) card, and can recommend it.

  Gaz W 16:34 28 Apr 2004

Thanks for all your help.

I think maybe it is a bit much for my system but for the price I didn't think it was bad. Also I don't have to worry about space in my tower since it is an absolutely massive full AT tower with plenty of space.

I have emailed the seller on Ebay to try and find out what make these cards are, although they are probably cheap OEM type products.

I'll look into the Maxtor IDE ones as stlucia recommended.


I have Service Pack 4 installed on my existing drive, and I wasn't planning on installing from scratch. I was either going to keep W2K installed on the existing drive and just install the new one as a second drive (not ideal I know but easiest), or partition the new drive into 2 drives and clone my old drive to the primary partition of the new one. To do that I'd most probably need an enterprise version of Norton Ghost (Symantec Ghost?). Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I can use any Norton Ghost for W2K Server.

  Gaz W 19:54 28 Apr 2004

I've just realised that I'm still not sure whether my PCI bus is up to it. I think it is looking at it but does anyone know for certain?

The page that made me think I could do this is here: click here

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