Intrigued about SATA or IDE in bios

By CatastrophE
Jul 2, 2007
  1. Hey everyone.
    I haven't actually searched the forums for an answer to this but it's been troubling me since I installed my WD Caviar SE16 earlier.

    Basically, it's a SATA 2 drive, I was planning on logging into Vista on my primary ATA drive and making a boot disk, unfortunately I must have been having an unlucky evening because I couldn't seem to get any form of media to copy the boot files effectively (Those damn Floppies).

    I had noticed in my mobo manual (Asrock 939 Duel SATA 2) that you had 2 methods for SATA 2 integration...

    IDE and SATA

    Apparently setting it to SATA requires the boot disk (and won't allow you to install a OS whatsoever)

    But it mentioned that IDE did not require a boot disk and allows you to install the OS effectively without one.

    So with all of my efforts coming to nothing, I decided to cop out and dodge the whole boot disk crap and do the IDE option, everything installed fine and it's all working lovely and fast, but I can't help but feel that by taking the easy way out i'm missing out on some speed or something.

    Basically i'm running 1 Primary and 1 Slave ATA 133 drives and the new one is the SATA 2 WD Caviar one.

    The Caviar has been connected properly (SATA 2 port on the mobo etc) so i'm assuming speed and such won't be affected in any way, but that's what my question is...

    Is there a difference between the two bios options? (IDE - No bootdisk or SATA - Bootdisk)
    and am I limiting myself by using IDE mode?
    My only other question was about a similar Bios option, namely SATA 2 operation mode and it's 2 options, Normal and Strong, does anyone happen to know the difference between them?

    Thanks in advance everyone, I would appreciate any responces :)

  2. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    All good computer builders use a floppy just for reasons like this.
    Get yourself one - they're cheap.
  3. CatastrophE

    CatastrophE TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    Well I actually have a Floppy Drive, but I couldn't seem to find a Floppy that would work, so thanks for the advice but that's not really the problem :p

    You didn't really answer my question unfortunately, but thanks for the reply anyway :)
  4. CatastrophE

    CatastrophE TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    Forgive the double post but I seem to have found my answer, if anyone can correct me if I'm wrong then please do.

    Apparently on the Asrock Mobo the IDE mode for running SATA2 drives allows you to install your OS onto the HDD effectively tricking it into thinking your running a IDE drive, from there you can boot into windows, install the SATA2 drivers from the mobo CD and then effectively go back into the Bios and switch to SATA mode.

    I did this and it appears to work fine.

    My main concern is that I've bought a nice, fast HDD and I'm not getting the performance out of it that I could, I know it's running fine but it's just one of those nagging feelings I need put to rest.
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    Well, in your case I think you got it correct. I believe there are some boards (or at least the potential for some boards) that your Windows installation will not work if you install the sata drivers and then switch the BIOS over, I read a link on it a couple days ago but have since lost.

    What you gain by going to SATA is hot swappability (worthless if that drive contains the OS) and Native Command Queuing (NCQ) as well as theoretical speed.

    So with hot swapping being out of the question, and hard drives not being faster than the current IDE speed of ATA-133 regardless of interface really your only advantage is NCQ. Unfortunately I don't know too much about NCQ and when it is utilized and the speed benefits of it, perhaps someone else on the forums does. About the only people I can think of here that might know are Phantasm66, Nodsu, Mictlantecuti, and Soul Harvester. So if anyone else knows off the top of their head feel free to chime in.
  6. CatastrophE

    CatastrophE TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    Thanks SNGX1275 that's a pretty helpful response :)

    Personally, I have noticed a speed increase over my old Samsung ATA 133 (8 mb cache)

    Loading Windows XP takes a matter of seconds and loading times in games have improved, no doubt because of the 16 mb cache on the SATA2 drive, as long as i'm not losing any speed benefits i'm happy, and anyway, it's working successfully in a SATA mode from the Bios after installing the driver in Windows, so it's all good in the hood ^^

    Thanks again :)
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