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Topic # 11284 14-Jan-2007 09:27
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Hi, I've seen RAID, SATA and stuff for HDD alot, but I never know what they mean. What are they? And what's the difference of using them compared to standard HDD things? And how do u use them? That's my questions, thanks. Hope you guys can help me out.

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Juha
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  Reply # 57826 14-Jan-2007 09:38
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Wikipedia's your friend: SATA and RAID.





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  Reply # 57827 14-Jan-2007 09:52
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WL13: ...what's the difference of using them compared to standard HDD things? And how do u use them?

Generally you don't use RAID in a typical single-user Home PC.  However, it can be handy if you want to increase performance or reliability, however you will need to add an extra HDD in order to do this.

SATA drives are a big improvement from the previous Parallel IDE arrangement, both in performance and connecting cable design.  The old IDE cables were a wide ribbon which tended to block the airflow.  SATA cables are much smaller and more convenient to route inside your case.

To use SATA, you don't need to do anything special.  The simplest way is to enable IDE emulation in the BIOS setup.  However, by doing this you will not realise the full potential of SATA which offers a performance-enhancing function called NCQ (Native Command Queuing) on the larger drives which are now available.  To enable NCQ, you have to use a special driver and it is quite complicated to install.  If you want to install this driver, have a look for the Blog entries which cover this topic (search for SATA, NCQ and AHCP).

I hope that helps.

Cheers,
Grant.



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  Reply # 57831 14-Jan-2007 10:16
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Hey, thanks Grant. So, for gaming, I would want to use SATA with NCQ enabled? And I also came across SCSI. Would you recommend using that?

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  Reply # 57834 14-Jan-2007 10:30
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NCQ is of most benefit to servers.  I'm not sure whether it would benefit gaming at all.  Possibly a little, but it is a lot of hassle to install the special AHCP driver needed for NCQ.  Having NCQ enabled will never reduce your performance, but it's a question of whether the difficulty of installation outweighs the benefits.  For one thing, you have to reformat your HDD...

SCSI is likewise a technology that is normally only used in servers.  SCSI HDDs are quite a bit more expensive than SATA and you also need a special controller which doesn't come cheap either.  I would say that SCSI will definitely not be of any benefit if your primary application is gaming.

For your situation, I would say:

1)  Buy the biggest SATA HDD you can afford
2)  Enable IDE emulation in the BIOS setup and away you go.  Just FORMAT like any normal HDD.

Juha
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  Reply # 57836 14-Jan-2007 10:42
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Just to be a pendant, it's AHCI or Advanced Host Controller Interface, and not AHCP. :)

I don't believe you need to reformat your hard drive if you enable AHCI, but you will need drivers for it and the disk numbering scheme may change (that one bit me with FreeBSD). As for NCQ, it works best for servers where you have lots of requests going to the disk(s) at the same time. For desktops, there's a negligible advantage and some say the extra overhead NCQ introduces may in fact hamper performance.




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  Reply # 57837 14-Jan-2007 10:49
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juha: Just to be a pendant, it's AHCI or Advanced Host Controller Interface, and not AHCP. :)

Cheers for that Juha, I'm always getting that mixed up Embarassed... (it's PEDANT by the way, not PENDANT.  Pendant is one of those cables that light bulbs sometimes hang from.  Now it's me being a pedant Tongue out).

juha:
I don't believe you need to reformat your hard drive if you enable AHCI...

I have a SATA HDD formatted under AHCI and it's unreadable if I set the BIOS back to IDE Emulation.

I knew this when I chose to go with AHCI, but figured it was worth it as I can simply plug on another HDD to increase capacity or performance in future, without needing to use a C: and a D: drive i.e. one BIG partition.

Juha
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  Reply # 57838 14-Jan-2007 10:55
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Cheers for that Juha, I'm always getting that mixed up Embarassed... (it's PEDANT by the way, not PENDANT. Pendant is one of those cables that light bulbs sometimes hang from. Now it's me being a pedant Tongue out).


Yes, I was just testing if you'd fall for the old "pendant" joke. :)

I have a SATA HDD formatted under AHCI and it's unreadable if I set the BIOS back to IDE Emulation.

I knew this when I chose to go with AHCI, but figured it was worth it as I can simply plug on another HDD to increase capacity or performance in future, without needing to use a C: and a D: drive i.e. one BIG partition.


Ah, now, I should qualify that I enabled AHCI on a system with a SATA drive that had Windows installed on it. Haven't tried going back to plain IDE from AHCI yet.




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