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

  1. Ransack The Elder

    Ben Pope Guest

    You're missing the point. Before you can say This SATA drive is worse than
    that PATA drive, you need to be taking into account the actual drive, not
    just its interface, not just the manufacturer.

    Are you sure they're exactly the same? What about areal density? Caching
    algorithms? Number of platters/heads? Low-level data structures? I think
    you'll find that the drives are actually quite different.

    You still have not said which two drives you are comparing... Maxtor DM9
    SATA and an IBM... 180GXP?

    If you take the numbers from here:

    You'll find that the SATA DM9 beats the 180GXP in most tests.

    If you take the numbers from here (which I'd prefer to do over Toms):

    There is a comparison of those two drives, both using PATA interface (I know
    your Maxtor has SATA - I'll come back to that) - the IBM wins on transfer
    rate at the beginning by about 10%, but loses by about 10% at the end of the
    drive. Seek is about the same. The Winstone and Sysmark benches are about
    the same.

    Now, what you have is NOT a native SATA drive, you have a PATA drive with a
    PATA to SATA convertor chip on it - this may explain why you have
    experienced some degradation in peformance over the IBM drive.
    Additionally, whereas your ATA interface is built directly into your
    chipset, your the data flowing through your SATA interface has to also
    traverse the PCI bus (limited in TOTAL to 133Megs/s).

    Do you still think you are performing a fair comparison of SATA and PATA?

    Thats not what I said, I said that the interface is not the limiting factor
    of a drive. Obviously sticking an ATA/33 interface on the Raptor would
    cripple it, but drives don't come with interfaces that limit them, generally

    There are limits on the interface, there are limits on the drive mechanism.
    You can't say that a SATA drive will be faster or slower than a SCSI drive,
    based purely on the interface - there are an enormous number of factors that
    affect the final transfer rate you actually get.

    If your interface is capable of 150MB/s and you have an 8MB cache, you're
    talking something like 50ms to empty the cache, not enough to notice on
    large file transfers, so what I'm saying is that even if your interface was
    "only" capable of 133MB/s you're hardly going to notice the difference, are
    you? Maximum sustained transfer rates of the fastest drives is around
    60-70MB/s - do you think an ATA/66 interface would limit you? Not
    noticeably... So an ATA/133 interface isn't, is it?
    Well like I've said, you aren't actually making a sensible comparison of
    SATA and PATA. You're comparing 2 drives that happen to have a SATA and a
    PATA interface, on your system. I'm just attempting to explain why you may
    find that your SATA drive is slower then your PATA drive, even though SATA
    is technically superior to PATA.

    Before suggesting that SATA is worse than PATA we will have to wait for
    chipsets and drives to natively support SATA, neither of which are true for
    your system, but both of which are true for PATA on your system.


    Ben Pope, Jul 16, 2003
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  2. 1) I have the fastest 120 gig SATA drive on the market..today, anyway.

    2) Everything I have read and all the charts I have seen say that SATA is
    faster than IDE.

    3) My IDE drives are faster than my SATA drive.

    So, does that mean:
    A) My IDE drive are that damn good.
    B) SATA is marketing hype that offers nothing other than a smaller cable.

    Ummm..okay...so let's say my SATA controller is NOT built onto my chipset. I
    would need a PCI SATA card which...bada bing...traverses the PCI bus. So
    what's the difference?????

    Yep. I have the same setup as those two websites you sent.

    So after all that you're saying that I'm right. Right now, SATA is no better
    than PATA.
    Ransack The Elder, Jul 17, 2003
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  3. Ransack The Elder

    noise Guest

    Not on this one, there's two installed on the main video editing
    machine at a place I work. To use them I'll need to get a SATA
    card as this PC only has PATA connections. But it's one of the
    upgrades I'm planning on. I'm also concerned my minimal PSU won't
    cut it either so I'm investigating something a little more solid.
    It's just a matter of expense as to why I haven't got this stuff yet.
    A new video card is a priority before storage ATM.

    I'm interested to hear you're getting disappointing results.
    I would think you're right about drivers... there were some early
    models of these drives that were not behaving right and got poor
    reviews, but I seem to remember that the ...33 drivers were the
    latest. There's other things it might be, eg. DMA not enabled or
    working right, driver for your SATA ports not at its best etc.

    To reply remove spamblock and replace with iinet

    Gads, that's a lot of bytes! You must be into some serious video work
    I take it. Funny how new capacities appear and we all think "how would
    I ever need all that?" A year or two later and it's all full to the
    brim and we're needing more.
    If I could justify the money I'd love to go all-SCSI - HDD's, CD, DVD,
    the lot. Even then you've got to check what you're getting to make
    sure things work the way you expect - for me it's CPU utilisation that's
    the main attraction. Drives have really been fast enough for me every
    time I've got a current-era example, but it's the hour-glasses that
    get me down while they're doing things.
    noise, Jul 17, 2003
  4. Ransack The Elder

    noise Guest

    A is correct. Your IDE PATA drives are just better than the SATA example(s)
    you've tried. The SATA interface itself is neither helping nor hindering
    that performance, and neither is the PATA port - it's just the drives,
    not the pipe.
    It's fair to expect that the latest drives with the latest interface
    would be the highest performers, but sadly that's simply not the case
    as we've seen from the benchmarks.
    For the moment, B is mostly correct too - there's no particular to SATA
    in itself, especially considering that SATA controllers all hang off a
    PCI buss, limiting the total throughput possible from the controller's
    2 channels to the memory.
    BUT, new high performance drives will more and more appear in SATA, and
    when chipsets have native SATA in-built, THEN we'll have a superior
    Most chipsets' drive controllers get to send their data to and from the
    host PC over a special link between the two parts of the chipset (north-
    and south-bridges) which is several times faster than PCI. Use up all the
    capacity of the PCI bus with any type of drive controller and you hit a
    brick wall. But fast, current PATA links send that data across this faster
    buss (eg. the Lightning Data Transit link on some AMD systems) and no
    HDD controller will come within a bull's roar of filling those pipes.
    But for all that, it's not going to be much of a problem - two of the
    fastest SATA drives at once won't fill your PCI buss, and so long as
    there's not too much else eating bandwidth on PCI, you won't see any
    That's the end result for now. It IS a more modern, efficient protocal
    which can potentially save your CPU some work, so that's a plus. Also
    the fastest drives will start appearing in SATA so you'll have to have
    it to use them - that's the real point of it at the moment. If you want
    to use Raptors for instance, they're SATA only so you'd need it. If you're
    doing fine with those great IBM's on PATA, it makes no difference to you.
    Net result - either is fine... for now. SATA will win in the end, say
    in a year or more.
    noise, Jul 17, 2003
  5. Ransack The Elder

    Bill Guest

    How would I enable DMA on a SATA drive? the operating system < Win2000
    SP4 > sees it as a scsi drive.

    Bill, Jul 17, 2003
  6. Ransack The Elder

    Ben Pope Guest

    OK, but it's still not native SATA.
    Read more.
    Yes. BUt because it's a fast drive mechanism and good algorithms, not
    because it's PATA.
    No! It offers many useful things such as hot-plugging. I don't know how
    many times that would have been useful for me, at least,
    Re-read what I said.
    Ok, then do you think that THEY were performing a fair comparison?
    Yes. I never disagreed with you on the end result, all I was saying was
    that SATA is not inferior merely because in your system PATA happens to be
    faster - I'm saying that it's a result of the drive mechanics NOT the

    I've said all along that the performance of a drive is not entirely a result
    of the interface it uses to connect to the computer. If a drive can do
    70Megs/s max, then it can do 70Megs/s oer SCSI, SATA, PATA (ATA/100,

    Ben Pope, Jul 17, 2003
  7. Ransack The Elder

    noise Guest

    Hmm, I'm not on the work machine now and none of the PC's I can
    access have 2000, but this part in particular was similar in 98SE
    and XP - in the Control Panel open up System, then Hardware, Device
    Manager (or however you get to it in 2000). With mine I open up
    IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers, right-click then choose Properties.
    Select the Primary IDE Channel, Properties again, and the 2nd
    tab is Advanced Settings. In there are the DMA settings in drop-
    down menus. I have my CD drive on the 2nd channel, and had to go
    into it to enable DMA this way when I installed it.

    I had no idea about SATA being seen as a SCSI device, but then
    I've heard NT, 2000 and XP do this for several types of interfaces,
    much as it considers a FireWire port to be a network interface.
    Unfortunately the only SCSI machines I use are Mac's so I can't
    just look at one of them for you and tell you what to look for.

    So does this mean you have a category in Device Manager for SCSI
    controllers? I don't have one here, and that's at odds with what
    someone else told me ie. that XP calls them all SCSI. Anyway, if
    there's no IDE controller there that is responsible for the HDD
    (apart from something controlling your CD/DVD's), look in the pages
    for the SCSI controller section for DMA controls. I do remember
    that in a lot of systems I've had to specifically turn DMA on as
    it's not done by default. Some drivers will set this themselves
    on installation but it sounds to me like yours haven't... not
    unusual. I can't imagine what else is causing your drives to be
    so slow.

    There's also a device category for Disk Drives, which on the
    systems I use doesn't affect DMA but it would be worth a look to
    see exactly what options these drivers have enabled for it. If
    there are any real problems, windows will tell you in one of these

    In the System Devices category there's a Direct Memory Access
    Controller, so check it for conflicts or problems. In the View
    menu of Device Manager select View Resources by type or connection
    and see if it's telling you about DMA or IRQ clashes relating
    to the disk controllers. You can also run MSINFO32 (type that
    name in after selecting Run... from Start menu), open up the
    Hardware Resources tree and look at DMA and Conflicts/Sharing.
    Most of the time, what you'll think are conflicts aren't, they're
    simply shared resources (esp. higher IRQ numbers)... I'm no expert
    with this information so all I can suggest is look for any alerts.
    DMA conflicts usually don't cause the system to hang like IRQ
    conflicts can, but they just slow things down. Amongst all this
    info you might find that your drives' DMA is also assigned to
    something else, and if it is, that's something I don't know if I
    can sort out for you... but have a look and see what comes up.

    Presumably you've tried pulling the drivers and reinstalling
    them already? (remove the device from Dev. Mgr). That has solved
    a lot of problems for me as the system then reassigns resources.
    But have a sniff around first.
    noise, Jul 17, 2003
  8. Ransack The Elder

    Bill Guest

    Oh, PATA works. No problem with Win2000 SP3 and SP4 enabling DMA.
    Yup, wonderfulness from Redmond. If it's not EIDE it's SCSI, or
    something else.

    Yup. And no actual SCSI devices. :)
    No XP here, soon as I learn enough about Linux, Win2000 goes away as
    Scsi doesn't have DMA. AS far as I know, neither does SATA.
    Yup, true for many versions of Windows.
    Um, I think I've got you confused, the PATA drives work great, ot's
    the SATA WD Raptor that's pokey, and that may still be a driver

    Looked, no help there.
    MSINFO32 says the sata controller is sharing IRQ 18 with the Promise
    Fastrak 100 TX4 Raid controller. I don't think this is a problem

    No conflicts or any other discrepencies found. As soon as I order
    another board with a SATA drive on it, I'll see if the Raptor flies any
    faster on it.

    Bill, Jul 18, 2003
  9. If you want to really boost your PC's performance, try this.

    1) Move your paging file from the Windows boot volume to the new SATA drive
    (D: I assume).
    2) Move your most used applications to the D: drive.

    The more you can get both drives working at the same time, the better your
    performance will be. Instead of the max data rate for a single drive, you
    can realize more of the max data rate of both drives (theoretical 2x max of
    a single drive). You won't get 2x performance but you may be able to
    realize better than max of a single drive.

    | 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
    | 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?
    | | > First off, I realize this is not a hard drive newsgroup. However, I
    | > 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
    | > 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.
    | > 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
    | > the IDE drive with SATA, but not if it's no faster. But if doing that
    | > '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.
    | >
    | >
    | >
    Charles C. Drew, Aug 1, 2003
  10. Ransack The Elder

    KevH Guest

    Hmmm....SCSI has had DMA transfers for at least the last 15 years.
    My all SCSI systems use DMA and this is set from the SCSI BIOS
    (no doubt Windows also has the DMA settings switch and, not being a
    Win user I would have to experiment to see if Win ignored the BIOS
    settings or not. No doubt another person could advise better on this.


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    KevH, Aug 4, 2003
  11. Ransack The Elder

    J.Clarke Guest

    That's because with SCSI host adapters you don't enable or disable DMA
    any more than you would do it with a network card or video board. With
    IDE drives, you enable or disable because the driver is
    one-size-fits-all and some drives have DMA while others don't. With
    SCSI DMA is on the host adapter, not the drive, and is handled by a
    device driver unique to that host adapter rather than a generic driver,
    hence no need to enable or disable.

    Whether SCSI has or does not have DMA then depends on the particular
    host adapter--a cheap one won't, a good one will.
    No, it's something that you don't futz with--there's no setting for it,
    it's built into the hardware and drivers. According to Tekram the
    DC-395U is a "Full 32-bit PCI DMA bus master", which means that it uses
    J.Clarke, Aug 4, 2003
  12. Ransack The Elder

    Ben Pope Guest

    Good explanation John,

    Ben Pope, Aug 5, 2003
  13. Ransack The Elder

    vegan Guest

    vegan, Aug 23, 2003
  14. Ransack The Elder

    vegan Guest

    vegan, Aug 23, 2003
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