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Best arrangement of 3 IDE channels

expert_wannabe
on
Medium Priority
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
My desktop is set up as follows:

PIII-800 Gateway
20 GB drive - master, primary IDE channel on the motherboard; contains system files
6 GB drive - slave, primary IDE channel on the motherboard; contains MP3s
CD-ROM drive - master, secondary IDE channel on the motherboard
40 GB drive - master, primary IDE channel on separate PCI IDE card (which in turn is partitioned into two parts, smaller one for swap files and doc backups and the bigger one for other data such as movies)

I actually wanted to connect the 40 GB drive to the secondary IDE channel on the motherboard, but that would have made it *really* difficult to connect the CD-ROM drive to the PCI IDE card because the cable was not long enough that would interfere with my plan to perhaps add an old drive or another CD-ROM drive to the secondary IDE channel.

Basically, I chose this rather weird/complex arrangement because I wanted to optimize the hard drive access time - I read that it is best to place most-frequently accessed drives in separate channels.

The problem is, it takes the computer longer than I anticipated in getting to the file, especially those in the 40 GB hard drive connected through the PCI IDE card.  For example, if I am using Word (files accessible through primary motherboard channel) and all of a sudden decide that I want to listen to some MP3s I created previous day that are saved in that 40 GB hard drive, it takes some time to the point where I actually see the hourglass - which didn't happen when I didn't have this arrangement.

To summarize, I'm looking for the best way to match the hard drives/CD-ROM with the IDE channels.  My instinct tells me that I should switch the 40 GB from the PCI IDE card to the secondary channel on the motherboard.  How wrong am I?  Is there a way to optimize through software, and if so, where could I find them?

Thanks in advanced to everyone who reviewed my weird problem.
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rid
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Commented:
One more thing, defragment you HD, it helps too :)
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Commented:
coral47
Ok, right, as rule of thumb, the CDROMs are slave and HD are masters. And the reason for that is HD usually have high data transfer then CDROMs. So they are better to coop with controlling the slave and doing they operations. But of course it's going case by case.
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Commented:
: )    Well said.
rid

Commented:
The drives don't control each other. The master and slave words are not related to how they interact. The IDE controller, however, must have a means of talking to each one as required, by using a signal line in the cable. The jumper setting on the drive tells the drive to wake up to the appropriate signal from the controller.
/RID
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rid

Commented:
Are you sure it is still like that, even with modern IDE controllers? I've been led to understand that is no longer the case. A HD could share a channel and wotk at its normal speed even if there's a CD unit on the same channel. Of course, transfers between devices will ALWAYS be at the speed of the slower device.
/RID

Commented:
As far as I know it's still true.  You may chek it by plugging a slower device and cheching the BIOS report during Boot up, I've plugged an ATA 100 as an slave to an ATA 133 and during Boot up the BIOS will change it's report from UMDA 6 to UMDA 5
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Commented:
I just plugged an ata33 CDROM ( umda2 ) as slave to a ata66 ( umda4 ) HD on the primary channel and the BIOS still says umda4 for the HD.
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Commented:
PAQ/No Refund    Some good info in here.
Since this is somewhat of an opinion question, I think that a points split would be recommended here.
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Commented:
Thank you much.    : )
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