To SATA or not to SATA?

  Gaz 25 16:36 26 Aug 2004

I am about to install new HDD's in the server. It is a SATA enabled motherboard.

I realise I should be getting SCSI really, but the prices for them are too expensive.

I was considering SATA since they are cheaper and offer more throughput than IDE.

Or do I buy IDE and have a file storage drive and a OS drive for progams and files?

What should be the configuration?

Could I not simply connect two SATA HDD's on seperate channels, and have IDE connector for my CD-ROM?


  Gaz 25 16:39 26 Aug 2004

The motherboard is: MSI KT6 DELTA VLSR 8XAGP 400DDR

Is this compatible with Linux system?

  pmjd 18:14 26 Aug 2004

Hi Gaz,

Sata performance isn't quite there yet, unless you buy a WD raptor drive that spins at 10000 rpm. They ain't cheap either, in a capacity/price ratio. Hitachi drive are consistantly goos sata drives. I did a lot of looking around before deciding to give sata a go, the computer certainly seems reponsive enough but I couldn't really make a fair comparison as it was a new build with no pata drives.

A big benefit I found was the cabling, the sata cables are alot smaller so don't have the same problems as IDE ribbon ones trying to squeeze them into the case. Also a straight one to one connection instead of having a spare connector floating about or contorting it to reach the CD drive as well.

The linux compatibilty is more down to your motherboard. Have a look at the driver CD, you should find drivers for linux in there under the sata controller. When installing any OS the sata drive will be treated like a SCSI drive, so when asked if you are using any third party drive controllers say yes and insert a floppy with the sata controller driver from your motherboards driver CD.

As for linking two and an ide CD, no problem. However booting can take a little bit of setting up. I used maxblast (maxtor drive incase you hadn't guessed!) that formatted the drive for me all ready to install win xp.

Your idea for two drives looks good. The slower one would be handy for file storage, the faster beter suited to running the OS.

Hope this helps,

  Gaz 25 18:52 26 Aug 2004

A few questions come to mind, however.

I assume a floppy disk with drivers either comes with the motherboard, or can be made by using a utility on the CD-ROM.

I want to have two maxtor 8mb sata drives, both same speed: 7,200 rpm.

The setup would Be >

SATA 1: Master OS

SATA 2: Server files / documents that are served through the network.

I would have thought in theory this type of set-up provides better speed for file serving becuase the OS is on a different drive and improving access times since the drive isnt being accessed to regular by the OS. Also provides decent redundancy if I set a backup to be made of all files on the SATA 2. The IDE channel would be for the CD-ROM only.

Is this set-up valid? As far as I understand the motherboard has two sata sockets.

Finally, the file server will 2600+ AMD Barton (Dont be secptical - outperforms celeron servers in tests), 1Gb Corsair memory and 350watt PSU.

Im wondering to if running this 24/7 would introduce large electricity bills - my old server has a 150watt PSU, but ran a 400Mhz chip.

Any idea to how much this would affect my bill?


  pmjd 19:11 26 Aug 2004

The motherboard should come with a CD with all the drivers you'll need, if not you should be able to download them from MSI.

The maxtor drives, get the ones with the 8MB buffer, should help overall performance.

I'm afraid I can't help much with the server setup but if you are worried about data backup you could set up the two drives in RAID1 configuration but you would have only half capacity instead of the two full drives. The setup itself of two drives and a CD should not present any problems. Performance wise I don't know but dedicated drives sounds better.

If this is for a home network give a bit of consideration to gigabit network cards alround (assuming no routers are used to network computers together). The transfer rates are amazing!

As for the electricity probably to fit one of those "energy use" meters for a couple of days and see how much it uses, then do a bit of calculating. Also I would choose any AMD over a celeron.


  Gaz 25 19:16 26 Aug 2004

I'll think I'll go and get that.

This will be using a gigabit lan card and will have server 2003 streamlined as much as possible for best performance.

I quite like dedicated drives as well... I'll let PCA know the results here of the peformance.

There is a wireless/router gateway but it is only a gateway - my switch hub thats uplinked to it suppots gigabit to the computers so it should help overall PC > PC communitcation.

Thanks for your help.

I will leave this thread open for a few days incase anyone has other suggestions meanwhile.


  alnwrd 19:54 26 Aug 2004

Just one thought. sata drives need a different power connector to pata drives. Check that your power supply has the right one. I once bought sata and had to take it back after finding that my power supply did not have the correct plug.

  Mister Splendid©®™! 20:07 26 Aug 2004

The power supply question depends on which sata drives you buy. I have 2 Western Digital Raptors and they have both types of power connector. Also adaptors are available to connect a legacy power plug to an sata connector on the drive.

  Gaz 25 20:09 26 Aug 2004


I havent got my PSU yet but I will make sure it has the correct connector.

Thanks for warning me!

  Gaz 25 21:01 26 Aug 2004

Is correct.

You can buy converters, but on my Maxtor (from online docs and pictures) has both a SATA power connector and a molex connector.

However I realise that you should NEVER connect both.

I will be using the standard +12 4 pin molex.

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