Reader Ian Holland wrote after reading one of my Special Edition Newsletters, which sometimes go to email subscribers:
Just read your VERY absorbing newsletter, I have a ( moronic??) question about those SATA hard drives.
I recently ( 2006) built 5 pcs for the office ALL with SATA drives, and they are all the same spec as this one at home with regards to RAM ( 2gb) and processors ( all Pentium 4, 3.5GHz) . So, to all intents and purposes they should be more or less the same ( all ASUS mother boards the same make and type, all with the same version of XP Pro Corp) –except the ones at the office are all on a network to ADSL (yukk!) this one is on a small home network (4pc’s) to cable broadband ( much better!).
The pcs at the office with minimal data installed are all far, far slower at moving files, searching, transferring data ( I ran a comparison with the same 36,588 images / 2.94 Gbytes) and also with downloading, than the one here on IDE at home.
I also get many more sudden “blue screens” ( “windows has shut down to prevent damage to the system….”) at the office machines, usually when running, e.g. three video editing programs, Nero 7 DVD burning, + maybe four large downloads and some word processing all simultaneously-
-at home I NEVER managed to get these messages at all, however hard I work the processor / RAM.
My question ( as an ignoramus!) is this;-
What is the purpose and advantages ( if any!) of going to SATA drives when they are patently less reliable, and lower performance than the “old” IDE ones? It seems to be yet another marketing ploy for us to shell out more money again.
I seek real elucidation here….
Thanks for an ever-improving newsletter, Ian.
SATA (Serial ATA) is actually capable of much faster communication than is the PATA (Parallel ATA) interface.
The fact that you’re seeing significantly faster performance on one machine than on the other 4. Despite the 4 being on an office network, they should not be markedly slower than the home machine.
Here are some fo the things that come to mind:
1) different SATA driver on the home machine than on the office machines
2) different BIOS version on the home machine versus the office machines
3) programs and services running on the office machines that aren’t running on the home machine. Depending
upon the security setups by your IT personnel, you might have monitoring software installed.
4) If you don’t have much in the office in the way of up-to-date security (antivirus, firewall software, antispyware/antiadware), you might have adware infections and/or virus infections on the office machines.
5) when you say “transferring files,” if you mean from one place to another on the computer’s hard drive, that could be any of the above issues
6) if you mean “transferring files across the network,” then you may have more activity on the network
7) You might have some bad cabling in the network at the office.
The last comment is not facetious. I ran into a problem where I was getting a slow transfer speed between some computers but not between others. It turned out that one of the ethernet cable’s connectors had a wire that had been damaged So, I bought a little cable tester similar to this one:
This turned out to be invaluable in testing the cables — it found tthe problem immediately. It was also very helpful, when I ran some ethernet wiring in the house, because I could check the wall connections while I was doing the wiring.
Back to the SATA question, as we get to higher speeds, SATA is easier to implement for the hard drive manufacturers. Just as changing from parallel printer cables to USB, it’s easier now to handle 9 data bits that are coming sequentially via one wire pair than it is to match bits on 9 wires at the same time. In both cases, the 9 bits are required to give 1 data byte (8 data bits plus 1 parity bit).