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[OT] Best way to arrange drives on IDE cables?

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    [OT] Best way to arrange drives on IDE cables?

    Hi everyone.

    I have just bought a new hard drive to go into my PC, and it suddenly hit me that I am not absolutely positive which is the best way to set up the IDE cables with my drives.

    I had a read around on the Internet and found some very conflicting opinions so I thought I'd ask on here before I install it.

    Currently I have installed:

    IDE1 Master - 120GB Maxtor 7,200rpm 8MB Cache ATA133
    IDE1 Slave - Nothing

    IDE2 Master - LG DVD-RAM drive
    IDE2 Slave - LG DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive

    I have read on some sites that it is best to separate hard drives onto different cables so that when copying from one to the other, there is more available bandwidth, which makes sense.

    But I have also read that if you put a hard drive and an optical drive on the same cable that the cable only allows the hard drive to run at the slower speed of the optical device in order to not create problems, which kind of makes sense but I don't know how much truth there is in that.

    Also, I have read that 40-pin cables have master in the middle and slave on the end, but it is apparantly the other way round for 80-conductor wires. Is there any truth in that?

    So in summary, I have 2 Maxtor hard drives (120GB & 160GB), both 7,200rpm & both with 8MB cache, and both capable of ATA133 transfer speeds, along with 2 LG optical drives. I would like to know the best way to connect the drives.

    Thanks for any help / advice...

    I would connect the 2nd hdd to your free connector on IDE1 slave, simply because you might run into some physical problems if you want cd or dvd on the same cable as a hdd, i.e. distance between master and slave connector may be too short to reach from a cd/dvd drive bay to your hdd bay.

    As for the cd/dvd slowing down the hdd if connected to same IDE channel, I think that's a thing of the past.


      What I understand about IDE devices is that a fast device can be slowed down by having a slow device connected to the same cable - i.e., you have a fast HD as the primary, and the secondary is a 24x CDROM drive - the IDE data transfer rate will be hindered. I could be wrong, but from what I've here and there online, it is the sad truth. One way to get around it is to have all your fast devices on their own dedicated PCI IDE controller card (if you have a bunch of drives or something like that). Keep your slow-*** devices (Zip drives, CDROMs, DVD, etc.) together on the same IDE device chain, since it makes no sense to have a 250GB ATA133 8MB cache 7200 RPM 3.5ms HD slowed down to theoretical ATA33/ATA66 speeds. That is all I know.


        There are some conflictnig answers here.

        From what I have heard by asking on other forums, faster drives being slowed down by slower drives on the same cable should be a thing of the past these days.

        I think I'm going to connect the drives this way:

        IDE1 Master - 120GB Maxtor
        IDE1 Slave - DVD-RAM

        IDE2 Master - 160GB Maxtor
        IDE2 Slave - DVD/CD-RW

        Since I use the DVD/CD-RW more than the DVD-RAM drive I think it makes more sense to keep it on a separate cable to the 120GB drive which has Windows XP on it.

        Thanks for your help people!


          Worst case you could do some simple data access benchmarking with your setup. Only then will you know for sure. There's no knowledge like empirical knowledge. :up:


            or you could always upgrade to SATA drives, they are becoming cheaper day by day, and there wont be any MASTER-SLAVE problems with those, because they are point to point, and controlled via hardware (bios i believe)

            i am yet to upgrade to SATA myself, but from what i have read and heard from buddies that have them, its a big improvement over the old HD, and now they are coming out with a even faster drive, 3gb/second transfer. not sure if they are out yet.

            SATA 3gb/s


              DVD-RW drives need to be on ATA33 cables (The older, fat-thread ribbon cables) otherwise you'll get major speedbumps in burning.

              I have my more unused 30 Gb witht he DVD-RW drive and the main OS drive with the DVD-ROM drive on IDE 1.


                Originally posted by Pyrii
                DVD-RW drives need to be on ATA33 cables (The older, fat-thread ribbon cables) otherwise you'll get major speedbumps in burning.
                Not true.