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New HD + RAID 0 + Speed

I am want to buy a new 120GB (ATA133) hard drive but my mobo only supports ATA100. I plan on getting a PCI RAID card that supports ATA133. Will this allow my new HD to function at the correct speed or will the mobo drag the speed down to ATA100?

I also have 2 40GB hard drives that I want to set up in a RAID 0 configuration. Will I be able to set them up with 1 HD being on the RAID card and 1 being on the mobo IDE? If I can't do that then how would I be able to set up the hard drives so that the 120GB hard drive will be on the RAID card and still have the other hard drives set up in a RAID 0? I also have a CD-ROM and CD-RW on the secondary IDE port on the mobo.

Also which would be faster? The 2x 40GB hard drives in the RAID 0 configuration or the newer 120GB (ATA133) hard drive with 8MB cache? Even a estimate would be helpful.

Any info would help me a lot. I know my question is kind of confusing but could you guys lend a helping hand?
1 Solution
Well, firstly, don't worry yourself about whether your hard drive runs at ATA-100 or ATA-133--the difference in performance is negligible, simply because no current generation of IDE hard disk is physically capable of transferring data faster than about 50Mb/sec anyway, which doesn't even saturate the bandwidth of an ATA-66 connection, much less an ATA-100 one.

As for the RAID issue, all the drives in a RAID must be attached to the RAID controller card--you can't mix and match between the motherboard IDE and the RAID IDE. Therefore you will have to plug your two 40Gb drives into the RAID controller and use the 120Gb drive off the motherboard IDE.
The motherboard's support for ATA100 refers to the built in controller.  A PCI card is completely seperate and operates at its own speed.

All drives in a given RAID need to be attached to the same RAID controler.  That't the whole purpose of the controller.  How could the controller card do anything with a drive not attached to it?  You will need to connect both drives to it to get RAID functionality from them.  Connecting more than one disk to the same IDE cable brings down performance when accessing both drives at the same time which is what happens with a RAID.  So unless you get a very expensive controller it will only have two cables and thus only two drives should be attached unless you want performance to tank.

This leaves you with two options:
Use the RAID controller to control the two 40GB drives, which leaves out a new 120GB drive to the motherboard's ATA100 controller.
Use the motherboard's ATA100 connections with software RAID, if available.  If this computer uses WindowsXP, 2000, or a reasonably new Linux then you can do this.

I'm sure you have additional questions.  EE's email is down for the past day, so be patient waiting for replies to your followup questions.
"simply because no current generation of IDE hard disk is physically capable of transferring data faster than about 50Mb/sec anyway"

Mostly correct, but the drive's cache memory, 8MB in some drives, can transfer up to the full bus speed.  A piddly amount compared to the 120GB of the disk, but anyway.

Can this motherboard natively support 120GB?  The ATA133 controller will natively support any size up to the newest 250GB and beyond.  The motherboard's ATA100 native support certainly stops at 137GB and may stop smaller than that.  Depends on whether you plan on getting another large drive before getting a new motherboard.  If not, an ATA-100 RAID card probably costs less.
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be warned, the structure in which raid 0 works with will mean you will lose all data on the 2 40's if you put em on the raid,
so have em all plugged in (doesnt matter where as long as if they r in the raid card you dont rebuild the format) and copy over everything to the 120 (if you want windows copied too then you must use a ghost utility other wise the registry will not be intact)then reboot and enter the raid config util (present on mine not too sure how most of the other brands work ,extreme io ata 133 controller)and set up the drive striping, also be warned that you must use the 120 gig as the active disk if you have less than win 2k /xp as an operating system because booting from raid device is not supported (might work with a ghost back from the 120 after the raid striping has bin set up, windows 98 will install to my raid controller (is plug an play supposedly) but when it tries to detect the device,plug n play, it hangs the system never to recover)by windows 98, a ghost may get you past this, but may not. in order to boot from raid the bios will recognise it as scsi controller (to speed up booting turn off all other boot methods in bios sides scsi if it is to be booted from)
be warned keep your pc cold at all times, this prolongs drive life (if one fails they both lose all data because of the way it is written) and will keep the drives going for ages.
good luck and enjoy the ability to take the piss with the ammount of things you can acess from the drive at once (ive had winamp running and opened adobe premier and photoshop at the same time without a stutter on the music :D , and thats with winamp latency on 30 i think (audigy helps i suppose), if your drives are both 7200 rpm then you will notice the best performance increase, im not sure if a 5400 and a 7200 will mix well on raid though so be carefull)
Mr-SquintAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys for your replies, they really helped a lot. Now I can have a proper think about how I should set up my system before jumping into things.
I am also suprised about the speed at which my questions were answered. Excellent site for any technical questions I must say.
Don't be in a hurry to accept answers.  Instead of handing out B grades for impartial answers, go all the way to project completion.  The dialog nature of EE allows for complete A answers even if they have to be spread over time.

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