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Discussion in 'AMD Thunderbird' started by Ransack The Elder, Jul 12, 2003.

  1. First off, I realize this is not a hard drive newsgroup. However, I never
    visit any hard drive groups, and I know the folks here know what's going on
    so I'll ask here...plus I have an AMD system :)

    I just upgraded to a Chaintech motherboard with the Promise SATA controller.
    I WAS excited about getting my Maxtor Diamondmax 9 120 gig SATA drive going,
    until I benchmarked it with SiSoft Sandra. It runs almost identical speeds
    as my IDE Hitachi/IBM 120 gig drive. Both of them were almost as fast as an
    IDE RAID setup that Sandra had listed to compare to. However, I expected
    SATA to be much faster than IDE. So I'm quite dissapointed so far.

    My question is this: the controller has 2 SATA ports and one IDE port. My
    main drive (The IBM IDE 120) is on that IDE port, and the Maxtor SATA is of
    course on one of the SATA ports. Does having this IDE drive on that
    controller limit the speeds to ATA/133 speed?? I was planning on replacing
    the IDE drive with SATA, but not if it's no faster. But if doing that will
    'open the flood gates' so to speak, I'll do it.

    I'm eager for answers, and in the meantime (when I get some time) I'm going
    to move the IDE drive off the Promise controller and put it on the other IDE
    ports that the board has and leave the SATA drive dedicated to the
    controller and see what happens.
    Ransack The Elder, Jul 12, 2003
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  2. Just an update..

    I moved the IBM drive to a seperate controller, so each had their own
    controller. The IBM is still a hare faster than the SATA drive, isolating it
    on the controller did not help with the speed. So I can only conclude two
    things now:

    1) IBM drives are just that damn good. I tested some Western Digitals, and
    they were much much much slower than the IBM.

    2) SATA seems to be hype at this point. When my IDE drive is faster than
    SATA, what else can I think?
    Ransack The Elder, Jul 12, 2003
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  3. If it's speed that you're after, get yourself a Western Digital Raptor
    The TweakOholic, Jul 12, 2003
  4. Nah. I hate WD drives. Plus 36 gigs is just not big enough for me,
    especially for the outrageous prices they sell these drives for.

    I'm not looking for extreme speed, I'm just looking for speed faster than
    ATA/100, which is what SATA is supposed to do.
    Ransack The Elder, Jul 12, 2003

  5. So I should not expect SATA to be any faster than IDE? Well that sucks.
    Ransack The Elder, Jul 12, 2003
  6. Ransack The Elder

    Bill Guest

    Only if you put a drive on the SATA that's capable of higher that ATA-
    100 transfer speeds. When you get the aureal density of a Hitatchi/IBM
    drive with a rotational speed of 10,000 to 15,00 rpm platter, then you
    will see an increase in data throughput. Or you could run 2 drives
    striped Raid0 for an increase in speed.

    Bill, Jul 12, 2003

  7. Yep, I have a SATA controller and a SATA drive. Everything works fine, SATA
    is just slower than IDE for some reason.
    Ransack The Elder, Jul 12, 2003
  8. Ransack The Elder

    J.Clarke Guest

    Yep. Not fun to get suckered by the marketing types, is it? The
    numbers you want to look at are the "Buffer to disk" transfer rate and
    the average access time, which is the sum of the average seek time and
    the average latency. There's also a settling time in there but it's
    usually relatively small and not always available from the drive

    For a 250 gig 7200 RPM WD drive, the maximum buffer to disk transfer
    rate is 93.5 MB/sec, while for the WD Raptor it's 102 MB/sec. Average
    access time on the 250 gig drive is 13.1 ms for reads (usually longer
    for writes) while for the Raptor it's 8.19 ms.

    Now, those are _maximum_ transfer rates, which means that they are for
    the outermost track (modern drives use Zone Bit Recording, which is a
    Seagate trademark, but others use the same technology with different
    names), which put more data on the longer outer tracks than on the
    shorter inner ones, hence the transfer rate for the innermost tracks is
    lower. It also means that they do not include any seek time. Figure
    that in and the transfer rate goes _way_ down. For example, for the
    raptor, the thing transfers 102 MB/sec max. Divide that by the RPM and
    multiply by 60 sec/min and you end up with 61 MB per revolution, or 610
    kB per track on the outermost track. Assume that the drive can switch
    heads in zero time, and that any transfer reads an entire track, and you
    can then read 122 MB without a seek. That transfer takes 2 revolutions
    or 12 ms. Add in a seek and that goes to 20.19 ms. So you transfer 610
    kB in 20.19 ms or 60 MB/sec. If you play Fun With Numbers with the
    Cheetah X15, which I believe is currently the fastest drive on the
    market, you get 92 MB/sec.

    But it gets worse. Drives have internal formatting that is used to
    allow the drive to find whatever sector it's supposed to find, and to
    deal with hot-sparing, error correction, and the like. These cut into
    the amount of space that is available for user data, and so into the
    transfer rate available for user data. Seagate reports the maximum
    formatted internal transfer rate for the Cheetah X15 as 86 MB/sec. So,
    using that as the single-track transfer rate and figuring in seek time,
    the performance goes down to 72 MB/sec actually available to use.
    J.Clarke, Jul 12, 2003
  9. Ransack The Elder

    BoroLad Guest

    Better objective analysis here:


    Be sure to read the 'forum' for the users feedback!

    The *.pdf is here:


    There appear to be two versions of the drive in the 'chain'. Newer disks
    with the YAR41BW0 firmware, and older YAR41VW0 firmware versions. The
    newer are "said to be" the faster/better!

    Hope this helps!

    BoroLad, Jul 12, 2003
  10. Ransack The Elder

    Bill Guest

    Makes sense, I had to RMA four Seagate Barracuda IV's <IDE> that were
    slow in Raid but OK in normal usage. Seagate sent me four new ones
    with updated firmware and a note saying that the drives would be slower
    than 'normal' Barracuda IV's if used on a non-raid controller. <shrug>

    Bill, Jul 12, 2003
  11. Ransack The Elder

    Bill Guest

    If you want some numbers, Sandra says for throughput:

    WD 8M buffer 120G ATA-100 26.6 Mb

    WD 8M buffer SATA Raptor 34.2 Mb

    2 Seagate Baracuda IV 2M
    buffer 80 G
    Running Raid 0 45.8 Mb

    Bill, Jul 12, 2003
  12. Well, I don't feel so bad then. My IDE IBM is faster than the SATA Raptor!
    Ransack The Elder, Jul 12, 2003
  13. Ransack The Elder

    Eric Witte Guest

    The raptor is the ONLY SATA drive to beat IDE at the moment. Most of
    the models selling both SATA and IDE models are actually slower on
    SATA. The raptor is based on a SCSI drive and compares very well to
    other 10K RPM SCSI drives in most tests. Most are slightly slower
    than SCSI but it still manages to kill any other IDE/SATA drive out
    there. You still get most of the quality of SCSI as well. The drive
    is very solid and has a 5 year warranty. I ordered one for my system
    drive. My data goes on a normal 7200RPM IDE drive.

    Eric Witte, Jul 13, 2003
  14. Ransack The Elder

    Bill Guest

    Unfortunately, that doen't seem to be the case on my machine. If you
    know of some newer drivers somewhere I'd be happy to download them and
    see how well they work.

    Bill, Jul 13, 2003
  15. Ransack The Elder

    Ben Pope Guest

    Why did you expect SATA drive to be faster than a standard ATA one?
    No. Two entirely seperate controllers.
    The speed of the drive depends on the speed of the drive, not the speed of
    the controller.
    OK, you have to remember that the limitation of getting the data off of the
    media is mechanical. The "drive" as in the mechanics is kind of a seperate
    issue to the controller they use to transfer that data.

    For example, SCSI drives have been rotating at 10,000 RPM and 15,000 RPM for
    years, double what IDE drives do. The WD Raptor is effectively one of those
    SCSI drives but with a SATA interface. SATA provides some features over
    normal ATA, a small increase in maximum transfer rate is one, but not the
    primary concern at the moment, since most drives aren't able to reach
    100MB/s sustained transfers.

    Ben Pope, Jul 13, 2003
  16. Ransack The Elder

    noise Guest

    Remember that the interface (IDE, SATA) has a speed rating that just
    means, what is the maximum bandwidth available across this link? Just
    about any of today's formats from UDMA 66 upwards have enough capac-
    ity for very fast drives indeed, including these high-speed Raptors
    and IBM's (though I have a feeling you're not reading the numbers
    entirely correctly - the Raptor tops out every single performance
    comparison I've seen anywhere... simply an awesome drive and I can't
    wait til it's available bigger than the single-platter 36GB it is
    now... but then 72 would be heaps for me and 2 of those things in a
    RAID config. would be superb. They also have the lowest CPU utilisation
    figures I've seen, even beating some pretty good SCSI systems - this
    is another important factor for the net performance of your PC).

    So anyway, you have drives that can deliver a certain amount of data
    per second, and interfaces that can be up to several times faster
    than this maximum rate. You only need to consider the higher-speed
    interfaces if there is more than one of these fast drives on them -
    for instance, 2 Raptors both going fast will use up most but not
    quite all the bandwidth available on UATA 133. Putting a fatter pipe
    on the drive doesn't speed the drive up, as in today's systems the
    drive interface isn't limiting the transfer rates you're getting...
    the drive itself on any new-ish interface will not be limited by that
    pipe, and conversely, a faster pipe won't give you any boost in itself.
    That said, there's potential for more efficient protocols to be im-
    plemented with new formats, but I haven't heard that anything of that
    sort applies with SATA vs. UDMA

    Those figures we've seen in this thread were mostly peak rates, and
    of course, no drive delivers this sort of rate all the time. It's
    probably the case that even UDMA 66 will rarely limit what you're
    getting, given the *average* throughput of the drives, although it'd
    be a shame to be shackling one of these speed-demons at all when fast
    controllers are available cheap as an upgrade. It's especially when
    you have two drives on the one channel you start to need extra
    speed, and then how often do you really have both drives under load
    simultaneously, unless you're in certain RAID modes (like below)?

    Me, I can't wait to RAID up a couple of Raptors and run them with
    striping! I deal with some big files including multitrack audio and
    DV so this would help me keep everything real-time... the low demands
    on the CPU are a big bonus for this work too, although RAID causes
    that figure to jump quite a lot. Still, with these drives, the end
    result is still a lot better than any other ATA-based drive I've
    heard of. At Tom's Hardware, there's some comparisons of these and
    other drives and useful background info. about the figures. It's
    plain that there are some mighty fine drives on the way and this WD
    is the first of a new breed. When other companies bring out their
    answers to this drive, the market will be looking very good indeed.
    noise, Jul 15, 2003
  17. Ransack The Elder

    Ben Pope Guest

    "My IBM P-ATA", "My Maxtor SATA" - you're still talking about the interface
    as if it's the drive. Which IBM? Which Maxtor? What rotional speed? What
    size Cache? What average seek? The interface has nothing to do with any of
    those factors, which all affect the performance of the drive. THE INTERFACE
    Based on a single drive that happens to use that interface?
    I didn't realise all WD drives have all had exactly the same performance.

    Clearly you still have not seperated the interface from the drive, when you
    learn to do that you may be able to look objectively at different drives and
    the interfaces they have. At that point you may even have a chance of
    making an informed decision.

    Ben Pope, Jul 15, 2003
  18. Ransack The Elder

    Bill Guest

    Same here, except it's performance isn't that spectacular on my pc. It
    may be a driver issue, although I'm running the latest < that I know
    of, > drivers. You have tried this drive on your own machine,
    haven't you? Numbers I supplied were from Sandra 2003.3.9.44. I believe
    they reflect throughput and not burst transfer.

    This pc has 7 hard drives for a total of 476GBs.

    4- 80GBs Seagate Baracuda IVs
    1- 120GB WD Caviar
    1- 36GB WD Raptor

    Not counting USB 1.1/2.0, and Firewire removable drives. :)


    Bill, Jul 16, 2003
  19. Ransack The Elder

    J.Clarke Guest

    Same brand, same series, same number of platters, same access times,
    etc? Same RPM and same cache size does not imply equivalence.
    "Nothing to do" is perhaps too strongly worded, but very little to do.
    The limiting factors are the number of bits on a single track and the
    RPM. The interface can be infinitely fast and the drive still won't be
    able to move data faster than the number of bits on a track divided by
    the time it takes to move that track past the head.

    There is a notion that all sorts of advanced techniques are used by
    modern drives to overcome that limitation, that notion is false. With
    very rare exception, contemporary drives have one head per track and
    read one head at a time. They don't have two heads on a single track
    and they don't read all the tracks simultaneously, so the limitation is
    the ability of the mechanical parts to move bits past the head.

    ATA/33 can be a limitation for many contemporary drives. Very few can
    fill an ATA/100 pipe for even a single revolution (as soon as seek time
    is factored in the data transfer rate goes way down), and none can fill
    an ATA/133 pipe. With SCSI, the bandwidth is better utilized as there
    can be up to fifteen devices sharing a channel--with IDE it is at most
    two and with SATA only one device is allowed on a channel.
    J.Clarke, Jul 16, 2003

  20. All drives are the same as I stated..the only difference is the INTERFACE.
    All 7200 rpm, all 8 meg cache.

    So since the interface has nothing to do with the speed, you are stating
    that there is no difference between ATA/33, ATA/133, SCSI, and SATA. Please

    Yep. Especially since I have the fastest SATA drive on the market, other
    than the Raptor. I need more than 36 gigs though..that would hold only 2
    files for me at times.

    I didn't either. Where did you read that?
    Ransack The Elder, Jul 16, 2003
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