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Old 03-09-2003, 11:01 AM   #1
bigjohn
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extra hard disc's - idiot question!


Ok,

So I'm looking into the idea of larger hard disc drives - whether I install an additional one, or replace the one that's in the machine already so I have more room for my linux partition.

The one that I am looking at is a western digital 80 gig, 7200 rpm, 8mb buffer (which I am reassured about 4 times bigger than usual).

Now, it is also "ultra ATA/100". As far as I can work out, this means that it should plug into IDE sockets -is this correct?

I also understand that the /100 bit is to do with data transfer speeds, so as I am not sure how to find out whether my mobo supports it, if I fitted the device, and the mobo doesn't support the /100 bit, would it just use the maximum transfer speed that the mobo can manage?

Or, maybe, how do I find out if/what the mobo supports?

regards

John
 
Old 03-09-2003, 11:40 AM   #2
carlywarly
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Yes, it's an IDE drive, and the way to find out what your m/board supports is to do a search. It might be difficult unless you know the make, but I have in the past downloaded a little program that uses your BIOS to generate the name and model number of your board. I've just googled and can't find it, though.

You could also go into your bios and under Standard CMOS settings, see if there are any options to enable dma and which types are available.
 
Old 03-09-2003, 12:34 PM   #3
Dark_Helmet
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Yep, carly is right on the money. If your motherboard can't support ATA-100, then it will communicate at whatever speed it can manage (ATA-66 probably). More than likely, your board can handle the full 100, but checking wouldn't hurt.

I also wanted to mention the buffering. Big buffers are good and all, but if there's a big price difference, go with the smaller buffer. The buffer won't do you much good unless you're reading the same files (applications or data) repeatedly. A bigger buffer wouldn't hurt though.

Last edited by Dark_Helmet; 03-09-2003 at 05:05 PM.
 
Old 03-09-2003, 04:51 PM   #4
watashiwaotaku7
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when you get it or maybe before go to the hard driver performacne thread in linux - general to find ways to optimize its performance
 
Old 03-09-2003, 05:18 PM   #5
bigjohn
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Well,

So far, I have identified the mobo as a microstar ms-6507 (reasonably cheap, but not too nasty, it could be a lot worse).

It will (as far as I can suss out) support the ultra ATA/100 hard drive that I have worked out is a reasonably good buy, from checking the retail prices for an 80 gig hdd.

Dark_Helmet's comment about larger buffers and prices, well yes that would make sense - It's 129 pounds, about the 200$ mark and most of the 2mb buffered ones seem to be only 15 to 20 pounds (22 to 30$) cheaper.

It is one of the "so called" limited edition ones with the 8mb buffer, which seems like a good idea, and it has the 7200 rpm access speed.

What's slightly strange is that when I was checking out the mobo, microstar show 2 manuals, versions 1 and 2. So I downloaded both and looked through them. They both say that its supposed to have 1 agp slot, 3 pci slots and a cnr slot for the modem.

When I had the case open the other day to put an extra ram chip in, it appears to only have 2 pci slots. So I have downloaded the "Sandra" software from sisoft and that seems to say indicate that the "3" slots are in use (well, in one bit it says 2 yet under the "expansion slots" section it seems to quote 3 but says that 2 are in use and 1 seems to be occupied with a "host expansion bus" quoting brookdale - which I understand is the name of the chipset - I presume to make the mobo even cheaper they must have used the board tracks for part of the chipset instead of a 3rd pci slot).

The final ??? would be should I replace the existing hdd with the larger/better one or fit the second one as an additional one?

While I understand that linux doesn't care, I dual boot with wind0w$, and if I fitted the second one as additional, would it be better to fit the faster/better one as master or slave? And is there any benefit in putting the linux install on a seperate hdd or just put both OS's on the better hdd and use the second one for storage???

regards

John
 
Old 03-09-2003, 07:29 PM   #6
yngwin
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In general it's better to make the faster disk master, but of course you could also make it master on the second ide channel (/dev/hdc), then you don't need to fiddle with the other hd.
 
Old 03-10-2003, 03:07 AM   #7
carlywarly
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That's not a bargain, by the way. My local PC shop has the 120 gig version of the same drive for that price - http://www.ronal.co.uk/webshop/dispc...s&cates=Drives

As for exactly how to fit it, if you have 2 drives of different speeds on the same ide bus, they will default to the lower speed when both are in use. If I were you, I would just ghost the present set up to the new drive, and then check that it all works. Then use the new drive as primary master, and pop the older slower drive onto the secondary bus as either master or slave. (To be honest, I would probably not use the second drive, and swap everything to the new one, but that's just me).

Does that help?

PS - have a look at this site for drives, too
http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/produ...subcat_uid=378

My brother deals with them a fair bit and recommends them.
 
Old 03-10-2003, 03:45 AM   #8
bigjohn
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Thanks Carlywarly,

when I was looking around yesterday i concentrated on working out if my mobo would support it and checked PCWorld etc (usual suspects) for prices but the ones at "Ronal" and "Ebay" are better by about 20 quid (though I now notice that they - PCworld - have dropped the 120 gig model from the website), and IF I can work out how to pay for it without "er in doors" finding out, then I'll probably opt for your suggestion and just use the large drive.

That should mean stuff like when I reinstall the wind0w$, formatting as FAT32 so I can get at the wind0w$ partition stuff and work with it (currently NTFS hence read only - and while I could wait to see if this will change with mandrake 9.1 final, I can't really be arsed) and so on.

Ha, it's even crossed my mind to upgrade the mobo and processor, but I guess that will have to wait.

Ta a lot.

regards

John
 
Old 03-10-2003, 12:19 PM   #9
watashiwaotaku7
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its a good idea to put your swap space on a different drive than your operating system and main apps, this allows the apps/os to be accessed at the saame time as the swap space which yields better system performance if your using any swap
 
Old 03-10-2003, 04:18 PM   #10
bigjohn
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WWWWWWWhhhhhhhooooooosssssssshhhhhhhh!

Sorry, that just the noise of your post as it goes straight over my head!

What does it mean ?

If I buy the larger hard disc, and install both, with the swap etc on a different HDD, surely, that defeats the point of buying one that has faster access times if it defaults to the speed of the slowest one?

Also, as an ex wind0w$ drone, and stuck with the basics of "Moores Law" though not necessarily using his processor speed analogy, but modifying it with extra ram (I put an extra 512meg dimm in last week now totalling 768 mb), what is the likelyhood of me using any swap? The wind0w$ drone comment about myself being pertinent because I don't tend to do more than 1 thing at a time (perhaps flicking between rocks n' diamonds and having my browser downloading something at most), I don't do anything with servers, etc - hence, I'm trying to see what benefit I'd derive from following the "2 hdd route".

Sorry if I sound a little ignorant of matters IT (I am), but maybe you could expand a little

regards

John
 
Old 03-10-2003, 05:19 PM   #11
Q*Bert
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Bigjohn, can I guess that you see computers the same way I do - in non-tecchie terms. I'm going to try to extend analogies - because I like analogies.

I like to think of a disk as being like a bathtub.
The ATA-66 or ATA-100 cable is really the size of the pipe putting water into the bathtub.
The RAM is like a bucket. You buy a bigger bucket, you can take water out/put it in quicker.
The SWAP is like the arm holding the bucket - and the relationship of the arm, bucket and water goes accordingly.

You can have two bathtubs and hey! more water.
You can have a bigger bucket and not worry so much about the strength of the arm.
You can a bigger pipe too (up to a point).
If you have a small bucket you need a strong arm to shift plenty of water.

If this sounds simplistic, well I like simple and I make no apologies for it.

Q*Bert
 
Old 03-10-2003, 06:39 PM   #12
Dark_Helmet
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I don't think I can expand on Q*Bert's analogy... I was never very good with them...

Ok, everything on your machine has to be placed in RAM for you to do anything with it. The faster it gets into RAM, the better. ATA-66, ATA-100, and today's ATA-133 are measures of how fast a hard drives can put data in/take data out of memory. Swap comes into play when RAM is full and you need to put more information into RAM. The older data gets shoved off onto disk to be retrieved later.

Now, you have two IDE channels: primary and secondary. At any given time, data can flow in only one direction on a channel; to be technically correct, only one device can use the channel at a time. Your main drive (one for apps and OS) always wants to put data into RAM. Your swap drive's sole purpose is to take data out of RAM. If you have both main and swap on the same channel, they have to wait for each other; because data can flow in only one direction at a time. If you put them on different channels, then both drives can be active at the same time. One can be putting data in while the other is taking it out. That's where the performance gain comes in; it's all about doing more than one thing at the same time.

Actually, it's a bit more complicated, but this gives a good enough picture...

As for whether you will use swap space, yes, you're forced to. If you look around at some other threads, you'll see a couple from users thinking there's a serious problem because top shows 98% or 99% memory usage. After a while, linux will put your RAM to work even if you don't do it yourself. So, if your computer is on long enough, your RAM will get filled, which means that if you load anything after that point, you'll be hitting your swap space.

Last edited by Dark_Helmet; 03-10-2003 at 07:27 PM.
 
Old 03-10-2003, 07:01 PM   #13
bigjohn
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Right Ho,

Well, I'd say that it's getting clearer by the post, and we have now arrived at the consomme stage instead of the Oxtail/Brown Windsor/Mud of earlier!

So, if I get the faster/larger drive will it default to run at the same speed as the older/slower/smaller one? because surely, the benefits of having the faster one would have been lost.

regards
John

p.s Bert, judging from the amount of post you seem to be generating, perhaps you should revert to using the "bert" user name and change it to LQ addict or just keep the Q*bert username for your identical schizophrenic twin brother! I mean, 98 or so, it's only been a few days!

Last edited by bigjohn; 03-10-2003 at 07:02 PM.
 
Old 03-10-2003, 07:26 PM   #14
Dark_Helmet
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Oops... egg on my face... your machine has two DEVICES (master and slave) per CHANNEL (primary and secondary).

If both drives are on the same channel, then your fast drive will "throttle down" to the speed of the slower drive. If you separate them, then both will operate at their own pace.

I better go edit that last post before I have to put on the asbestos undies...

---

Whew! That was close...

Last edited by Dark_Helmet; 03-10-2003 at 07:29 PM.
 
Old 03-10-2003, 11:17 PM   #15
watashiwaotaku7
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best way i can see for you to do things is put your main stuff on the faster drive, then put the slower drive on the other ide channel probly the same cable that goes to your cd drive (if you have extra space on there) then put some swap space on the second drive that should give you teh best of all worlds since theres no way you cd drive can keep up with 66mbs
 
  


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