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Is my MotherBoard ATA100 Compatible?

Posted on 2001-09-15
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-26
How do I figure out whether my motherboard is ATA100 Compatible?

And if it is (or I purchase a PCI ATA/100 Controller Card), is it not a good idea to connect an ATA/66 Hard Drive or CD-Rom Drive to the same IDE Cable?  
Question by:Hawkeye062297
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 6484823
The best way it so look up the specifications.

What make and model is it?  What chipset is it based on?

The only problem with hooking an ATA66 device to an ATA100 motherboard is if you also have an ATA100 device on the same cable.  The cable will fall back to the speed of the SLOWEST device.

So if you have a mix of devices, separate them to different cables.

Expert Comment

ID: 6485038
Like I said in your other question, You are no longer limited as you had been in the past.  I have a mixed up system here.  I have a built in VIA ATA 100 controller that has two hard drives a DVD and a CDR.  I have tested the system throughout various configurations and because of my IDE controller I can arrange these any way I want to and data transfer speeds are not an issue.  It treats them as if they were all on an independant cable.

What processor are you running?  If we knew what MOBO we could tell you but for the most part many of the T-Bird supporting Motherboards will support ATA 100, some even support RAID as well.  You should know what you bought.  Why not tell us what motherboard you have?

Author Comment

ID: 6485385
Compaq Presario 5714
466 mHz Celeron
192 MB DIMM (64 originally)
Hard Drive:
    QUANTUM BIGFOOT TS12.7A Hard Drive
    Capacity . . . . . . . . . . . .  12838 MB
    Firmware Revision  . . . . . . .  A21.0G00
    Interface  . . . . . . . . . . .  IDE

Original CD-Drive:
    COMPAQ CRD-8322B CDROM  (32X ??)
    Firmware Revision  . . . . . . .  1.07

ZIP Drive

My current configuration has the hard drive by itself on IDE Slot 1, and the CD-Rom with my ZIP Drive on IDE Slot 2.

Not Yet installed CD-RW Drive:
    UNIVERSAL BUSLINK RW1232 (12X,10X,32X)

Not Yet Installed Hard Drive:

Not Yet Installed ATA/100 PCI Controller Card.
Enhanced Intelligibility Without Cable Clutter

Challenge: The ESA office in Brussels wanted a reliable audio conference system for video conferences. Their requirement - No participant must be left out from the conference and the audio quality must not be compromised.

LVL 32

Accepted Solution

jhance earned 225 total points
ID: 6485642
Compaq is not very good about giving the specifics of the motherboard or the chipset.  They do have an IDE drive table at:


and the FASTEST INTERFACE speed shown there is ATA66.  I'd assume (especially since custom designed motherboards like Compaq's RARELY include features beyond those required for the design) that this motherboard is capable of NO MORE THAN ATA66.  In fact, it's not 100% clear from the Compaq specs that the motherboard even supports ATA66.

You can put your ATA100 drive in this system but it will NOT work at ATA100 speed unless you also install an ATA100 IDE controller card.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 6485924
With a Quantum "Bigfoot" series hard drive, it is highly unlikely this machine supports ATA-100.  These drives are notoriously slow (thus the extremely low cost) and knowing Compaq, they wouldn't bother with the expense of a fast controller if the supplied drive wasn't going to use it.  IF you're very lucky, it might support ATA-66.  It's likely to be original ATA ("ATA-33").

Since a nice Promice ATA-100 controller card is only $29.95 mailorder, go ahead and get it.  They are faster than generic motherboard ATA-100 controllers anyway.

"is it not a good idea to connect an ATA/66
Hard Drive or CD-Rom Drive to the same IDE Cable?"

I have found that as long as the CDROM drive is also ATA compatible then there is no speed loss from the hard drive if well written drivers are available.  Watch out though, unless the CDROM in question is reasonably new, it will NOT be an ATA device but an older UDMA4 or slower device.  Combining one of those with an ATA-100 hard drive will certainly slow the drive down.


Author Comment

ID: 6491318
I guess this question was too easy... since the answer is a simple 'no'.

Ok, now that I have my Maxtor ATA100 PCI Controller Card and cables...  does that mean I now have 4 channels (for a total of 8 IDE Devices)???  Or does the PCI Controller Card disable the two IDE channels that are on the mother board?

This is important since I want to connect 5 devices.  New Hard Drive w/ New CD-RW,  Old HardDrive w/ Old CD-Rom, and a ZIP Drive.  If not, I'll just have to get rid of one of the old devices.

Author Comment

ID: 6491322
And why do some people continue to insist that the cable will fall back to the slowest device.. and some people insist not?
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 6491331
Well, because some people are wrong and don't know what they are talking about....

The ATA cable WILL only operate at the speed of the SLOWEST device on that cable.  So to get maximum speed, don't mix speeds on the cable.

But in your case it's moot.  Your Compaq is slow to begin with and if you get an PCI ATA100 card, you'll only want to put your ATA100 drive on it anyway.

Author Comment

ID: 6491406
So, jhance... how will I fit 5 (or even 4) devices, if I don't use the dual drive cables?  

Are you also saying, that the older drives should still continue to be connected to the motherboard channels, while the Hard Drive connects to the PCI Card?
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 6491448
Yes, you should leave your CDROM on the motherboard IDE cable and put your new ATA100 drive on the ATA100 controller.

Don't MIX the speeds or you'll have wasted your money on the ATA100 controller.

Author Comment

ID: 6491667
Wait a minute...  this is something different.

I can't even mix speeds on two different Slots on the Controller card?  I thought you were saying don't mix on one slot using the same dual drive cable.
The PCI Controller Card has two slots. (Primary, Secondary)

And... I repeat -- if i can use both the motherboard and the ATA100 Controller, does this mean that I can use all four slots (connecting up to 8 devices)?

LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 6491684
No, don't put words in my mouth.  I said, and still say, don't mix speeds on the SAME IDE CABLE.  The different channels on the IDE controller are completely independent of each other.  There are permitted no more than 2 IDE devices on an IDE cable.

Yes, you can use all 4 IDE channels provided your system has enough free resources to support them all.

Author Comment

ID: 6500304
I'm sorry jhance, but according to Maxtor, the new ATA100 Controller Card can have two different speed drives and not default to the lower speed.

I guess the points belong to pbessman... I'm not sure...  this question is irrelevant, too, because I'm returning the Maxtor Controller Card.  My Compaq 5714 does not allow me to boot from hard drives connected to the controller card.  Should I post another question on this?  I think it would be pointless because I really think it doesn't work.

Author Comment

ID: 6502639
Ok, I'm not returning the controller card.

If you saw in my other post... I just forgot to update my BIOS.

So... my questions were:
"How do I figure out whether my motherboard is ATA100 Compatible?"

No.  That was easily figured out through Compaq's website.
(answered by jhance)

"And if it is (or I purchase a PCI ATA/100 Controller Card), is it not a good idea to connect an ATA/66
Hard Drive or CD-Rom Drive to the same IDE Cable?"

Best answered by Pbessman.

"does that mean I now have 4 channels (for a total of 8 IDE Devices)?"

Yes, if enough resources. (answered by jhance)

Score:  Pbessman - 1,  jhance - 2.
Well, despite being a bit of a jerk, jhance was persistent and did answer the majority of my questions, so the points go to him.

Thank you.

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