Selecting a hard drive??

Posted on 2003-03-01
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I'm selecting a new hard drive for my computer and its ATA/133 compatible.  What would be better though an ATA/100 7200 rpm with 8mb buffer size?  or ATA/133 with only 2mb buffer size?  does buffer size make a huge difference in performance?
Question by:frohboy33
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 8048886
It's REALLY hard to say since you're not comparing "apples to apples".

Generally a larger buffer is faster and ATA/133 is faster than ATA/100.

But if you compare:

ATA/133 w/ 2MB buffer
ATA/100 w/ 8MB buffer

which will be faster?

My guess is that SOME benchmarks will show one faster while others will show the other faster.  Overall, they are probably similar.

My advice, therefore is get whichever one you like better or is cheaper.

Personally, I have a ATA/100 8MB drive from Western Digital and it SEEMS faster to me than the once I replaced with it, an ATA/133 2MB Maxtor.  But I don't have any hard numbers to give you on it...

Expert Comment

ID: 8048984
Check the amount of decibels the drive emits - a noisy drive can be really annoying!

Speed wise it will always seem quicker as you will at the very least do a complete system defrag when you upgrade.

Check the stats and the failure rate for each.

Expert Comment

ID: 8053417
An 8mb buffer drive will be slightly faster and you probably will not notice it.

Ata 100 and ata 133 are the same story. Neither is really faster because ide drives cannot transfer over 65MBps currently, so they arent using all the bandwidth anyway.

But if you want a good, quiet, fast drive i'd go for the: Maxtor 80GB 7200RPM Hard Drive 8MB Model # 6Y080P0 or a similar Seagate Baracudda. Both brands are fast reliable and quiet.
I dont reccommend Western Digital drives because they only have one or two of those qualities. The quality they never have is reliability, which is the most important. That is also said for IBM drives

I hope that helped. And for the people that think i was being bias i wasnt. western digitals are fast but loud and they arent as reliable. I know cause i used to buy them.
As for IBM I have heard so much against there reliability that im sure people arent exaggerating.
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Expert Comment

ID: 8053425
Heard and Read I mean.
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 8053454
>because ide drives cannot transfer over 65MBps currently

Did you pull that number "out of a hat" or what?

The TRUTH is that 7200 rpm drives do approach 100 MB/s.  Check the specs for a typical WD drive, the 1800JB and you'll see.

The specs are at:


but the KEY spec is the "BUFFER TO DISK" MAXIMUM SPEED of 736 M bits/sec.  That translates to 92 M Bytes/sec. or ALMOST 100 M BYTES/SEC.

Expert Comment

ID: 8053464
uhh yeah buffer to disk the buffer dont have to travel through the bus does it?

Expert Comment

ID: 8053471
i read it on toms hardware i'll find it and post it.

Expert Comment

ID: 8053499

When dealing with Serial ATA, we have to differentiate between two categories of controller: native Serial ATA controllers, and those that support the new interface with the help of Serial ATA bridges (chips that convert from Parallel to Serial ATA). The solutions we have seen so far from HighPoint and 3Ware have been based on bridges, while Promise has already implemented native controllers.

Both solutions work, but the bridges consume a considerable portion of the available bandwidth. In practice, you are left with no more than 60 to 80 MBytes/sec out of the specified 150 MBytes/sec. For the very near future, this performance will still be adequate, as even the FASTEST IDE hard disks are UNABLE TO DELIVER MORE THAN 50 MBytes/sec. Even the next generation of drives is UNLIKELY TO EXCEED 80 MBytes/sec, which means that most of the controllers reviewed here will be fast enough -- in the medium term, at least.

Here is where i pulled that from:   http://www6.tomshardware.com/storage/20030204/serial_ata-04.html#performance_restrictions_with_serial_ata

Expert Comment

ID: 8053510
I even overestimated my statement about MBps It isnt even over 50MBps.

Expert Comment

ID: 8053537
I even overestimated my statement about MBps It isnt even over 50MBps.
LVL 32

Accepted Solution

jhance earned 100 total points
ID: 8053574
You don't get it do you?

Here's a picture since you're "simple"...


(BTW, your "quote" is a quote from a DIFFERENT SUBJECT!!  Serial ATA is NOT ATA100 or ATA133.  It's an entirely different technology...  You should AVOID posting authoritative comments as an expert when, in fact, you are ignorant of the subject!)

Expert Comment

ID: 8053594
I KNOW! it was a different subject, but i just used it cause it was stating the fact that ide harddrives can currently ONLY transfer 50MBps!

Expert Comment

ID: 8053626
IDE DRIVE speed was the point, i found that fact, and it really dont matter what subject they were on,  since they still brought up that the

 "FASTEST IDE hard disks are UNABLE TO DELIVER MORE THAN 50 MBytes/sec"

Are you blind it says there in the quote that the fastest "IDE DRIVES" not "serial ata drives".

therefore i think that was a good article to pull the fact of IDE DRIVE SPEED from.



Expert Comment

ID: 9182532
The 8 MB cache will definitely make a harddisk give faster transfer as it has more space to store data it reads over again often.

You don't specify what speed it has, the harddisk with ATA/133 (2MB cache) you are looking at.

If this ATA/133 disk also is a 7200rpm disk, then you most likelely would want to choose the 8MB cache disk.
Smaller differences between brands and models might apply though.

I guess the 133 disk you mention could be a Maxtor disk since they implemented this speed first (am not sure if any other has implementet this yet, because of the now established Seriell ATA (150)).

What access time is the models you mention specified with?

The ATA/133 disks do not benefit fully (or mostly not at all) from the extra bandwidth it has available. Since the harrdisks today are slower than this bandwidth. The period when the harddisk flushes its cache it might be able to benefit from having some of this bandwidth.

Even the speed of 100 can not be fully utilized as it is today.

If you compare to SCSI harddisk systems when the bandwidth is given with speeds like 160 and 320 then you might have up to 6 or 15 units or a double channel of 15 units. In such a system it is wise to have 160 or 320 bandwidth because the units all sit on the same chain and share the bandwidth between the units.  Just as an comparison (and the units can communicate over the SCSI chain virtually at the same time).

An IDE system will not have this many units. Actually I think only 1 unit can use the bandwith in an IDE system at the time.

Best Regards

Expert Comment

ID: 10107764

No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
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Accept jhance 's comment as answer
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