Slave drive cable connection options

Posted on 2007-11-18
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I'd like to know if there is any disadvantage (reading/writing speed, etc.) to connecting a new slave drive (extra hard drive) into the CD-RW drive cable as opposed to the IDE/ATA cable connecting the main hard drive. Any thoughts?

Question by:killyman
LVL 58

Accepted Solution

tigermatt earned 400 total points
ID: 20307120
No, from what I can see the only disadvantage would be the loss of an IDE connector where you could connect a further CD/DVD drive in the future, if necessary.

The two cables simply link back to IDE buses on the motherboard, which control data flow to the components connected to the IDE cables. Since each cable is most likely controlled by separate buses, you may get better read/write speed when copying large amounts of data between drives on the first bus and the slave drive on your second, since it can read and write at the same time. However, you will see a loss of performance if you are burning data from your slave drive to your CD-RW drive, since they will be on the same bus and this will slow things down.

LVL 32

Assisted Solution

and235100 earned 50 total points
ID: 20307163
Basically - you may get a lower DMA mode - and this may impact on performance.
On the master - if this was a CD-RW/DVD - you should get DMA mode 4
On the same channel, but using the slave - if this is a hard drive - you may not get the full dma mode 6 (as you should on an ide hard disk set as a master)
My experience is that two hard disks on the same ide channel will both be configured (automatically) at DMA 6 - but as tigermatt says - data copying between the two is slower. But the hard drive configure as a slave on the same channel and a CD-RW master will be significantly slower. (my opinion)

Author Comment

ID: 20307964
Thank you both. Let me explain why I'd like to connect the slave drive to the CD-ROM cable.

The slave drive (new 160gb drive) is going to hold the customer's 50gb and growing iTunes library. The C partition on her master drive had 1.4mb of free space left on it when I came on the scene. The only reason the computer still functioned I'm guessing is because the D partition where the HP recovery data is stored by factory default had 300mb free.  I managed to free up 4gb from her C partition by moving some files on to my portable USB drive.

Because this computer is one of those bargain-basement HP computers from Best Buy, the slave drive was a real challenge to mount inside the case and the original IDE cable for the hard drive was short with no slave connector. So I swapped it with a Dell cable I had lying around, but the space between the master and slave connectors is just too short and I can't get the slave drive any closer to the master drive because of the lousy construction of the case. So, my thought was to connect the slave drive to the extra connector on the CD-ROM IDE cable which will reach without a problem.

The customer doesn't care a whole lot about CD burning performance right now, she just wants to know that the iTunes program will work well with the library moved over to the slave drive -- and I was concerned about whether there would be a performance hit on iTunes accessing the library on the slave drive if it was connected to the CD-ROM cable rather than the master drive IDE cable.

Unless one or both of you see a downside to connecting the slave drive to the CD-ROM cable for the primary purpose mentioned above, then I'll just go ahead and connect it.

LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 20307999
For that purpose, I don't see any issues with connecting the slave drive to the same IDE channel as the CD-RW drive, provided you set the jumpers correctly then there won't be any problems.

The only issue you might run into is with the iTunes software not being able to find the moved files. What I always suggest with iTunes (which I can't stand but so many people have iPods these days you have to live with it!) is to remove the iTunes Library.xml file from the My Music folder, move the music to the new location, then run a program called iTLU to go and locate and add the music from the new location to the iTunes library.

That neat little program is also useful if you need to run iTunes with music stored on a network drive and many other users adding to the network drive from their own PCs, just run if before opening iTunes and it will add any tracks which aren't in your iTunes library but are new on the network drive. Obviously not useful in this purpose but thought I may as well put it in for future reference.

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LVL 70

Assisted Solution

garycase earned 50 total points
ID: 20308743
There are really only two things to be concerned about:

(1)  Be sure the drive is jumpered correctly.   The optical drive is probably jumpered as cable select; but may be set as Master.   Either is okay.   If it's cable select, you could jumper the hard drive the same way; although the "safest" thing to do is just jumper the hard drive as Slave -- that will work in either case.

(2)  More importantly, be sure the cable on the secondary channel is an 80-wire cable.   If it's not, the transfer speed will be limited to UDMA-2 (33mb/s) speeds ... and you'll notice a major reduction in performance.   If the current cable is a 40-wire cable, just replace it with an 80-wire one => be sure to get one that's long enough for what you need here.

Author Comment

ID: 20332962
Thank you all for all your sound advice. The slave drive seems to be working fine hooked up to the CD-ROM cable which appears to be an 80-wire cable. In fact, it has the exact same specs writting on it as the Hard Drive cable. The computer itself is not very fast, but I don't see any performance issues with it accessing the iTunes music from the slave drive now. I'll update you in the next few days and then wrap this question up so points can be handed out.

Thanks again to all of you.
LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 20332999
That's good to hear - thanks :-)

Author Comment

ID: 20479901
The slave drive seems to be working fine connected to the CD-RW/DVD cable.
Thanks again for all your input/help!


Author Closing Comment

ID: 31409785
Thanks again guys!

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