Master and Slave

By AzureOctive
Apr 14, 2008
  1. In the event of a presence of a ribbon hard drive and a "new style" hard drive, which one will take precident as the master and which one will become the slave? Will they both want to be master and fight for it?

    Is it recomended a system have one of each? Is this a bad idea?
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,261   +92

    If you're asking about PATA and SATA drives, no, they won't "fight" for Master. SATA doesn't work on Master/Slave principles.

    It's totally safe to use PATA and SATA together.
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    You set the boot order in the BIOS. The drives 'fighting' are much like your floppy drive fighting your hard drive back in the day.. It didn't, you set whether it looked for the floppy to boot or the hd first. Same thing happens with SATA and PATA. If you pick your PATA drives in the BIOS to boot first, then same rules as always apply with Master and Slave, if you pick SATA it boots off the SATA drive you select.
  4. STEALTH429

    STEALTH429 TS Rookie Posts: 26

    Hello! just want to know if theres a big difference between using SATA as the master drive and IDE as the slave drive or the other way around? which one has the better advantage in your opinion?
  5. Whiffen

    Whiffen TS Rookie Posts: 235

    Well SATA is faster than IDE, I would make the SATA your main just because that will be the one more frequently in use. Other than that not much difference, even the speed difference is barely noticeable.
  6. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,261   +92

    :/ There is some confusion in this thread (or I myself am confused). SATA in itself does not work based on Master/Slave principles as far as I know. If I am wrong, please do correct me.

    Having multiple PATA drives can be troublesome because each drive has its own controller and each controllers must function while being attached to the same bus. There must be a way to ensure that only one of the two controllers will respond to a command at a time. The ATA standard provides the option of operating on the AT bus with two drives in a "daisy-chained" configuration. The primary drive (drive 0) is called the "Master", and the secondary drive (drive 1) is called the "Slave". You configure a drive to be Master or Slave by altering a jumper setting on the drive or by using a special line in the interface called the Cable Select whereby you would configure the jumpers to operate on Cable Select.

    If only one drive is in the PC, that controller responds to all commands from the system. If two drives (and, therefore, two controllers) are installed, both controllers still receive all commands from the system. Each controller must be configured to respond only to commands for itself. One controller must be set as the Master and the other as the Slave. When the system sends a command for a specific drive, the controller on the other drive must remain silent while the selected controller and drive are functioning. Configuring the jumper as Master or Slave enables discrimination between the two controllers by setting a special bit (the DRV bit) in the drive/head register of a command block. No functional difference exists between Master and Slave, except that the drive that’s specified as the Slave will assert a signal called DASP after a system reset informs the Master that a Slave drive is present in the system. The Master drive then watches the drive select line, which it otherwise ignores.

    Now, with SATA, each cable has connectors only at each end, and each cable connects the device directly to the host adapter. There aren't any Master/Slave settings because each cable supports only a single device.

    What I believe you're trying to figure out, (which is how SNGX answered you, so I assume he thought this way earlier), is whether or not to have your SATA drive ahead of the PATA drive on the boot sequence. Unless you have an operating system on the SATA drive, it's not going to matter whether or not you set it in front of the PATA drive. So, if you want to use your SATA drive as your primary HDD, either reinstall Windows there or clone the data from your PATA drive.
  7. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    Depending on what you have dual IDE channel and SATA channel.

    IDE1 - Primary Master - Primary Slave
    IDE2 - Secondary Master - Secondary Slave

    CS - cable select will decide which one is what, but sometimes you can't depend on CS and you would manually set the PM or SM yourself by jumping jumpers pins on the HDD should be marked which jumper is set for what.
  8. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    I think your question is - how can you boot from your SATA drive if you have both an IDE and SATA hard drive.

    Master / Slave only matters when you are using two IDE drives on the same channel (Ribbon cable). Even then, you can still boot from a 'slave' drive as we as your master. So let's forget about master/slave at the moment.

    What you need to do is specify the correct boot order.

    First, I would certainly suggest using your SATA drive as your 'boot' drive with Windows on it. It's newer - might be a little faster - but there's not much more of a reason. I would just prefer it because it is simpler, newer and the drive you will keep when it comes time to drop IDE in your (possibly) next system.

    You'll install your SATA by plugging in the power and SATA cables... Turn on the computer and enter the CMOS/BIOS setup. Ensure that your boot order is correct (Put your SATA hard drive or SATA controller to boot first). Restart. You should be ready to boot up from your SATA drive, providing it has an installation of Windows on it.
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