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Confusing Controller Cards!

Trish's Escape from Hardware Hell Help Board » Hardware » Hard Drive and Storage Related » Confusing Controller Cards! « Previous Next »

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Posted on Wednesday, October 1, 2003 - 3:48 pm:   

Hi everyone,

Would appreciate some advice about HDs and controller cards. I'm looking at upgrading my hard drive at the moment for more capacity, but thought while I was at it, I may as well try and increase the speed a bit.

Currently I have a ATA66 HD, and I was interested in the SATA150 HDs. I hear (very unreliably!) that I could put a SATA150 HD in my computer with a PCI controller card, but that it would only run at the speed of the PCI bus. By this stage I haven't got a clue what's going on anymore!

Is this correct? (not the bit about me not having a clue, I know that for certain!) and if so, presumably the pci bus speed limits the speed of the HD???

So how do you find out the speed of your pci bus (my motherboard is a VIA KT133 chipset and has 5 PCI slots supporting 33MHz & PCI 2.2 compliant - is that anything to do with it? it was in the mobo manual!)

As you've probably gathered, I'm losing the plot a bit, so any help would be grand.

Thanks in advance,
Posted on Wednesday, October 1, 2003 - 5:32 pm:   

1/2 correct and 1/2 incorrect. SATA controller cards running in PCI slots are limited by the 33mhz pci bus. The motherboard chipset native type SATA doesn't run on the PCI bus but instead is builtin so it won't be tied up (or down) by the PCI bandwidth bottle neck. In most cases a SATA card will give you some performance increase just because of the 150 burst rate of the drive it is controlling itself. Best bang for the buck and best case scenario would be to get the card and drive, use it til you get a new motherboard with builtin SATA and use the card for controlling SATA CDRW and DVD drives when they are available.
Posted on Thursday, October 2, 2003 - 1:43 am:   

Thanks for your reply ES, will be doing as you recommend and getting the SATA drive and card.

I'm still a little confused though - if I run the SATA150 drive through a pci controller, where the pci bus is 33Mhz, won't that make it slower than my existing ATA66 hard drive, or am I just mixing up numbers?

Posted on Thursday, October 2, 2003 - 5:42 pm:   

The card itself will be running on 33mhz bus not the drive(s). They will be running as SATA150. much in the same way a ATA100/133 controller runs.

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