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Old 10-09-2002, 09:11 AM
Allan Speers Allan Speers is offline
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Default Fastest ATA drive?

I've spent a great deal of time researching scsi subsystems, and have gone that route for my large, 88.2K sessions.

However, I have an empty internal bay just sitting there on my (original model) dual 1-gig mac. I might as well put an ATA drive in there for back-ups, smaller sessions, etc.

I have several questions for those of you who have really researched ATA drives:
============================================

1: Of the Ultra-100 ATA's, which is best for Protools, the Barricuda, the IBM 120GXP series, or the Western-Digital JB series ?

2: I have not seen any benchmark tests for the (new?) Ultra-133 ATA drives. Are these drives any faster for protools sessions (ie faster seek-times?)

3: Will the stock ATA buss in my Mac take full advantage of the ultra-133 drives, or would they require a pci controller card? has anyone used such a card successfully with Protools?
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Old 10-09-2002, 09:53 AM
nukmusic nukmusic is offline
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Default Re: Fastest ATA drive?

There may be more info at BARE FEATS
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  #3  
Old 10-09-2002, 09:55 AM
Allan Speers Allan Speers is offline
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Default Re: Fastest ATA drive?

Been, there, but thanks regardless.

Barefeats doesn't specifically address my questions regarding DAW use. Nor can I find any info regarding the Mac's ATA buss.
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Old 10-09-2002, 10:13 AM
Lee Blaske Lee Blaske is offline
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Default Re: Fastest ATA drive?

The older G4's have a single ATA 66 bus. The newest "Cheesegrater" G4's have three ATA busses -- an ATA 100, an ATA 66, and a dedicated ATA bus for removable devices. I haven't really tested mine to the max, but there have been several reports of very high track counts on a single ATA 100 drive in the new Macs (plus, you can simultaneously use the 2nd ATA bus).

There are a lot of factors in drive performance (see the FW Guys thread).

rtc found in his system that the older 60 GB IBM 60GXP series outperformed the older WD 60 GB drives.

In my test, using different drives in a Granite Digital Firewire enclosure, I found that the newer WD 800JB (with the 8 MB cache) outperformed the 80 GB IBM 120GXP.

Western Digital has been coming on pretty strong lately, but I don't expect that the last chapter is written in this book.

I just put two WD 1200JB's in my dual 1 Ghz machine, and they're working very well (I haven't torture tested them, so I can't tell you the max performance).

AFAIK, Maxtor has the only ATA 133 drives out so far. It's questionable at this point whether ATA 133 will become a big standard (what with a new ATA spec on the way). I have heard rumors that the next generation of Macs might be ATA 133.

I've heard good and bad things about the Maxtor ATA 133's. The fluid drive version is supposedly very quiet. I have read of some audio problems with these drives, but they were from isolated individuals -- so I don't know how much stock to put in them. At this point, I doubt there's much advantage to an ATA 133 in a Mac (especially if you have an older one with only an ATA 66 bus).

If you're buying an internal ATA drive right now, my recommendation is to go Western Digital. For an internal (since it's easy to partition using the Apple utility), go with a WD 1200 JB. They're so reasonably priced (at places like www.newegg.com), you really can't go wrong. If you come across a good deal on IBM 120GXP's, you really can't go wrong with one of them, either. Seagate makes a nice, quiet and reliable ATA drive, but they're not setting the world on fire in the performance department (I have heard, however, that new products are on the way - although I don't know when).

When you install the drive, make sure to get the jumpering correct (it's fairly simple, but a mistake can decrease performance - as was recently reported here in another thread). Also, for maximum performance, formatting in straight HFS rather than HFS+ (Extended file system) will get you a teeny extra bit of performance (there's more of an advantage to doing this with older drives and operating systems prior to 9.2.2). Personally, I found the improvement (with the WD drives) was so small, I went HFS+. If I had gone with 120GXP's, I think I would have formatted with straight HFS.

Caching algorithms continue to improve as drives evolve. The algorithms in the WD 1200JB and WD 800JB seem fairly well adapted to the Mac OS.

Lee Blaske
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Old 10-10-2002, 06:33 AM
Allan Speers Allan Speers is offline
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Default Re: Fastest ATA drive?

Yowsa.

Great info, Lee. Thanks. !!!

Two points of clarification:

1: which macs are the "cheesesgraters?" Mine is the original dual 1-gig, from earlier this year. I don't see any mention of ATA busus in the little "manual" that came with it.

2: You mentions the "FW guys thread." What thread is that?

Thanks again. This was extremely helpful. [img]images/icons/tongue.gif[/img]
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Old 10-11-2002, 10:15 AM
Allan Speers Allan Speers is offline
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Default Re: Fastest ATA drive?

Lee?
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  #7  
Old 10-11-2002, 10:57 AM
shadowbox shadowbox is offline
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Default Re: Fastest ATA drive?

"Cheesegrater" is one of many nicknames for the latest line of Dualies. So called because of all the air holes in the back plate that make it look like a cheesgrater. Also called, Blowhole, Hoover, DDR, Mirrored-Door, Dual-optical, etc.
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Old 10-11-2002, 11:00 AM
Zep Dude Zep Dude is offline
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Default Re: Fastest ATA drive?

The Western Digital 120gig with the 8meg buffer is supposedly the fastest one according to one speed test website I checked. They compared it to the IBM the WD was faster. I have two of them and they work great.

Make sure you get the 8meg buffer for max performance.

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