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New drive - jump from ide to sata; couple of performance questions

By thehighroad
Jul 8, 2009
  1. Hi guys.

    These are fairly common questions, and according to the pages I found with search, these have been often partially answered.

    1. I do some gaming, and am finding that even though I recently upgraded my CPU from an Athlon 64 3500+ to a Q8200 things are still kind of slow (Windows usage mainly). I assume this is from harddrive bottlenecking. I am currently using a 7200RPM 160GB IDE hdd, LOW bandwidth, correct?

    2. If I upgraded to a SATA (3gbit/s bandwidth vs 100mbit/s) would my performance and speed improve a lot?

    3. Should I keep the IDE for a secondary and use it for backup, and the windows paging file etc. or is it too damn slow? I know that raid arrays are made of several sata's so I assume IDEs are incompatible.

    4. My windows xp installation is an OEM pre-installed copy (i have activated it twice already b/c of other hardware changes). Will I be able to seamlessly transfer the OS to my new sata hdd should I purchase it, by simultaneously connecting them to my pc as other threads have suggested?

    EDIT: Oh, I almost forgot, will I require any special software, I read in another thread someone tried to use Norton Ghost and had some problems. One of the main problems is I'm almost out of space as well.

    Any answers would be of great help.

  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    There are many possible reasons, but generally speaking, your hard drive won't make a difference except on load times. Slow performance in this case is probably related to your video card or amount of RAM (memory). What kind of games are you playing that run slowly? What resolutions? What detail settings? These are all things that will have a direct (and huge) impact on performance. There could also be software problems, updates etc.. Which address your performance issues.

    Hard drives haven't gotten much faster. Sure, sequential throughput has increased substantially because of platter density increases (larger hard drives are generally faster at copying big, continuous files), but actual read/write performance has been fairly stagnant. Check out this example of a Western Digital 200GB ATA vs a WD SATA drive in this comparison .

    No. Do not upgrade to a SATA drive for performance reasons; do it for low-space reasons. If you want extra performance, I could really only recommend a Western Digital Raptor. They are very expensive though, limited in capacity and the amount of performance gain you achieve is minimal.

    You can fudge together RAID with a disk controller that supports IDE + SATA RAID, but don't. If you want to use it as a backup drive, that's totally fine -- just leave it as a stand alone drive on any IDE channel.

    Yes - there will be no activiation issues. My personal recommendation to do this is a payware solution: Acronis TrueImage. For free solutions, check out DriveImage XML and XXClone. Your drive manufacturer may also have free DOS-based utilities to handle this as well.

    Ghost has been around for a long time and is very reliable. Ghost should work fine, but there's no reason to use it with so many great, free, easier to use options out there.
  3. thehighroad

    thehighroad TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Wow. Thanks for the quick, and in-depth answers!
    So, I guess I expected with all the hype that performance has improved greatly... foiled again! At least I didn't waste any money :)!

    I (foolishly) expected having a quad core will improve the access times in windows significantly.

    At this point my main performance concern was just dealing with windows and watching the hdd light do its thing for seemingly days, but I guess that's just the way it is (i.e. opening a folder with >600 files waiting for icons to load).
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