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SATA drive benchmarking (HDTach) as slower than an IDE drive?

By syzygy ยท 6 replies
Aug 15, 2009
  1. Since I don't know which information will be important to answering my question, I will provide more than is probably needed.

    My main machine is built on an ABIT IC7G motherboard running Windows XP with SP3 installed. It has the latest BIOS ABIT issued for the IC7G. The CPU is a Northwood 2.4C overclocked to 3.2GHz. To get there, the FSB has been upped to 267 MHz instead of the spec 200 Mhz. The memory is 1 GB of OCZ PC3200 Platinum Rev. 2 ram running at a divider of 5:4 so the memory clock for it is 213.8 MHz with timings of 2,2,2,5! The system is rock stable and will run Prime95 indefinitely. The CPU is air cooled with a humongous Thermaltake CPU cooler. The Northbridge chip is also actively cooled with an equally humongous Thermatake cooler.

    Now for the question. The machine has two Seagate hard drives installed; an ST3500630A (IDE) as the C drive and an ST3300831AS (SATA) drive as the archive drive. The SATA drive is connected to the SATA 1 connector on the motherboard which is controlled by the Intel ICH5R Southbridge SATA controller. HDTach benchmarks the IDE drive as having an average read of 66.8 MBs with a maximum burst speed of 90.5 MBs. Inexplicably (to my thinking) it benchmarks the SATA drive as having an average read of only 51.2 MBs -- but with a maximum burst speed of 133.5 MBs.

    Can any one see an explanation for what should be a much faster SATA drive benchmarking as slower than the IDE drive?

    The machine is a super performer -- for an older Pentium 4 machine -- and having the archive drive be slower than it should be is not a critical problem. But I am mystified by what I am measuring.

    Help or suggestions would be much appreciated.
  2. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    Based on the motherboard specs the sata is an early version. They typically were not much faster and in some tests slower than ide connections.
  3. syzygy

    syzygy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21


    PCI to SATA cards are very cheap -- and abundant -- on e-Bay. Should I expect to get higher speeds by connecting the SATA drive through a PCI to SATA card?
  4. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    Probably not as the pci bus is limited to 133mb/s. You might get a faster average write speed though. Overall unless you are moving a huge amount of data all the time it really doesn't make a difference.
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    There are probably pcie cards.... not worth it IMO. Even with PCI ones you are spending extra money to get faster performance out of a drive that you don't require high performance out of.
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    This has nothing to do with IDE or SATA interfaces. SATA is potentially faster, but the SATA drive you are using is not... and this is often the case.

    To explain, your SATA drive is 300GB. Your IDE drive is 500GB. The 500GB IDE drive probably has a larger platter size than your 300GB SATA. Larger platter sizes translate into higher sustained transfer rates. Yes -- Your IDE drive is actually a little faster than your SATA drive.

    Being SATA doesn't make a drive faster -- but the connection it has to the system board is. SATA drives are typically just IDE drives with a SATA connector in the back. Even with IDE, hard drives are far slower than their connection to the system board... If you can wrap your head around that, you can also imagine that SATA itself does very little to help in terms of performance.

    The burst rates for your SATA drive should be higher because the SATA bus allows for higher maximum bandwidth... Your drive just can't sustain it in order to make use of the "faster" SATA bus. This is actually an improvement offered by SATA, if only a small one.
  7. syzygy

    syzygy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21


    Thanks for the explanation. I was expecting a higher average read from the SATA since HDTach clocks a Western Digital Black 640 GB on another of my machines at 96.1 MBs. Doesn't really matter since the drive is an archive for documents, software etc -- no videos or games. Doesn't see much use and then not for large transfers.

    Note added:
    The maximum burst on the WD drive is reported as 136.2 MBs -- roughly the same as for the Seagate drive in this machine.
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