My hard drives talk to each other reeeally slowly

I recently bought a new computer, as the motherboard and/or processor on my old one got fried (don’t get me started, but suffice it to say, it’s gotta be my fault :mad: ). The upside to breaking my own computer is that I didn’t lose any data; the hard drive was unaffected. So, naturally, I put it in my new computer. I had to buy a new IDE cable (it looks something like this), so I could hook my CD/RW and my old hard drive to the same IDE port. My new computer has a motherboard with four [or more, I don’t recall the exact number]… I’m not sure what they are, but I think they’re called SATA ports. I think this is a pretty good picture of what I’ve got on my new hard drive. From my limited research, it appears that SATA is sort of like IDE except the cable is smaller, the slot on the motherboard is smaller, and you don’t have master/slave stuff anymore.

So I add my old hard drive, and everything’s fine. Except… it’s kinda screwy. When I go into my BIOS, I see that my SATA-0 is set to my 80 GB Western Digital drive (that’s my new one), PATA-0 corresponds to my CD-RW drive (and it’s labelled as PRI IDE Master), and PATA-1 corresponds to my 60 GB Western Digital drive (that’s my old one). Oh, and the BIOS says that the 60 GB drive is “Off.” But when I enter Windows, I can still read from it and write to it – except it goes very slow. If I want to, say, copy a 700 MB file from my old HD (D: ) to my new HD (C: ), it takes almost 10 minutes. That’s, like, CD speed.

So I turn to you gurus to help me out. It appears that I have a few options, and I wanted some advice before stumbling blindly (that’s what screwed up my old PC). It seems to me that I could:

(a) Try messing with the jumpers to get my CD-RW to be the slave and my old HD to be the master;
(b) Move my new HD to, say, SATA-2, just to make sure that there’s no conflicts there (although I have no idea if what I just typed makes any sense);
(c) Buy some sort of dongle like this to put on the back of my old HD, so I can just plug it into a free SATA port;
(d) Or buy two of the dongles in (c), so I can plug my new HD into one free SATA port, my old HD into a second free SATA port, and my CD-RW into a third free SATA port (I have four, IIRC).

So, what would you guys advise? Oh, I should add that my goal is to have C: as my HD with all the programs and D: as my HD for data storage, in case that’s relevant.

Thanks in advance!

Use an 80-conductor UDMA-capable ATA cable and plug in your HD as a secondary IDE master. Essentially on one IDE chain, all devices operate at the speed of the slowest device. Your CDROM is probably ATA33, making your old HD switch to the same speed(which is slave and which is master does not matter). A lot of motherboards have 2 IDE chains in addition to the SATA chains, so you can have the CDROM be the primary master, your old HD be the secondary master and the new HD remain on SATA-0.

I’m pretty sure my motherboard only has one IDE slot, though. It might have two, but I really don’t think it does, and I don’t want to open my tower more than I have to (especially since it’s got this weird hinge action instead of the removable side I’m used to).

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that I do only have the one IDE slot. What would you recommend in that case?

Ok, for the sake of argument let’s assume you only have one IDE slot.

You can go the SATA to ATA converter route you described in the OP, that’s certainly possible, and easy, but I don’t know anything about how fast the converters are or how much they cost, so here’s more possibilities:

Another route (perhaps a bit more pricey) is to buy a USB2 enclosure and put your old HD in it. That way your old HD suddenly becomes an external drive you can lug around if you were so inclined. You can also put a cdrom into a larger 5" USB2 enclosure and have an external CDROM. Windows XP should support all this out of the box (So does Mac OS X and even most Linux variants, so I’m not discriminating here).

You can also get an internal PCI card ATA controller and plug your old HD into that, surprisingly this isn’t as expensive as it sounds since you can get an ATA controller card for $20 nowadays. This is probably the fastest solution, but not as straightforward to configure in software.

A third route is to unplug your CDROM, copy the entire contents of your old drive to your new one and sell your old HD on ebay(I don’t remember the capacity, might still be sellable) to partially subsidize a purchase of a second SATA drive(if you need the storage).

The last thing, which is the cheapest, but the most technically advanced is to see if it’s possible to get the CDROM(and if it’s a DVD-R/DVD-ROM drive it could be possible) to run at UDMA100 or at least UDMA66, by verifying that you are in fact using an 80-conductor ATA cable and not the 40-conductor ATA cable, and that the DMA is enabled properly in software and set to the correct speed(might be separate settings in the BIOS and the OS).

Hope this helps,

  • Groman

Oh I just noticed that in the OP you linked to something called a “molded ATA cable”. If these are poorly made they are NOTORIOUS for not letting your run at UDMA speeds properly. Try an 80-pin ribbon ATA cable instead, as long as it doesn’t obstruct the airflow you should be fine.

Like this:

Oh another things I haven’t considered(sorry for the triple-post) is upgrading your optical drive. A DVD burner that’s SATA will probably run you about $100, but a regular optical drive that can do ATA100 or ATA66 can probably be had cheaper.

      • I have had this problem with one of my own past computers, and seen it in a few others. It only seems to happen with having more than one hard-drive, adding other drive types doesn’t do it. And it does not matter where you add the hard drive, if it is on the same cable as the master or not. With my own computer it appeared to start up and run normally but if you tried to transfer anything from oen HD to the other, you could hear one drive working for a half-second, then it would stop and you’d hear the other drive go for about as long then stop, then the first one would go aain, and back and forth like that. Ten minutes to transfer a 700MB file sounds about like what mine was doing.
  • The only thing I have found that reliably “fixes” it is installing an IDE-controller card–then you plug your master/OS drive right onto the motherboard, and the IDE controller card has IDE ports on it that you attach all your slaves to, and everything works at 100% of their speed then. -Technically not all at the same time, of course–you are stuck with the PCI speed limitation, but as far as you are concerned, the drives will all work as fast as you’d normally expect them to. A 2-channel (one-plug) IDE controller card costs about $35 (online), a 4-port costs around $50. All the controller cards I’ve seen either had 2 or 4 IDE ports, or 2 or 4 SATA ports–not both.