Subscriber Ian Hulland wrote a followup email to his earlier question about Serial ATA Drives and PC Problems:
Many thanks for such a comprehensive reply.
I already ruled out many of the differences that you mentioned, but the differences I am talking about are quite surprising ( e.g. transferring 150 Mbytes of a particular MP3 collection, a certain folder of 600 Mbytes of Videos, and my back-up stock of 1.8Gbytes zipped-up graphics programmes. All placed on hard drives and copied to other partitions on the same pc’s). The differences are something like 10-20 minutes SATA and 2 minutes max. IDE etc etc., and not just on one pc either.
Anyway, I fully appreciate all the other factors that could be in play here, and I must thank you for the tip for that LAN tester which I will try to obtain locally next week.Sounds a useful piece of kit.
By the way, I have come across similar arguments with PC shops about USB drives where they claim ” they are all the same speed of data transfer” – it is patently NOT true as there are HUGE differences up to 45 seconds versus 8 minutes for the same data !
This issue of data transfer speeds seems very difficult to quantify, my local pc centre which is normally very good “cannot test or verify actuall transfer/read/write speeds” personally I use Xplorer 2, which shows the exact and continuous transfer rates of any data movements as standard) So, even allowing for individual PC variations, I find some local technicians apparently agree there are slightly more problems with long-term stability with SATA systems in general, maybe there are more sensitive?
Thanks for your time and interest.
Those are huge differences in speed.
One of the ways you can get huge slowdowns is if the hard drive is having read errors — if it is having to re-read sections of the drive over and over.
Unfortunately, Windows historically has not given us real wornings of this problem. Unlike early hard drives that connected to a drive controller on the motherboard or on a card, today’s hard drives have the controller built into the drive.
Whether you’re using an IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) drive or a SATA (serial ATA) drive, the interface is actually on the drive. Some of the earliest SATA drives were actually IDE drives thatt had an adapter board so that they would output via a SATA connection.
Another way you can have huge slowdowns is if you have bad cable connections or a bad SATA cable. Again, the problem could be re-transmission of thte same data over and over until it finally shows up.
There are already a couple generations of SATA drives. The SATA 1, also known as just SATA and SATA-150, interface is supposed to handle up to 1.5 Gigabits/second. That’s not to say that the drive will actually beb that fast (it won’t), but the capacity of the interface itself in talking to the motherboard has a theoretical cap of 1.5 Gb/sec.
The current generation of SATA drives is usually called SATA-II. Their interface max is 3.0 Gb/second, but they also support SATA-1.
What happens if you hook up a SATA-II drive to a SATA-I connection? It should work fine, but it should work as an equivalent to a SATA-1 drive.
The next generation (6 Gbps) is still in the design stage and is reported to have 6.0 Gb/second capability.
You might want to try one of your slow SATA drives in a different machine. The problem could be machine-specific. That would also help you determine if the problem was with that specific drive.