onebyte

Disappointed with SATA 2

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I'm new to using anything but EIDE Parallel ATA hard drives. I'm a basic desktop /laptop user, and I thought that when I upgraded to a new DIY built system with SATA and SATA2 hard drives I'd see a dramatic increase in performance that involved disk intensive reads and writes, transfers between disks, and so on.

I'm disappointed that the reality doesnt begin to live up to all the hype and hoopla, although by now you'd think I'd know better than to expect that.

Talk about 150 MB/s transfer rates for SATA or 300 MB/s for Sata 2 is greatly exaggerated. I'm finding that my actual sustained read write times are in the 50 MB/s range with both SATA 1 and 2, and that is also disappointing. There seems to be absolutely no real world gain by going to SATA 2 over SATA 1.

Apparently, I am discovering, what no one is talking about is that there is an electro-mechanical limit to the physical ability for disk reads and writes, and no increase in data transmission rates can speed up that bottleneck or surpass that physical limitation.

So what is the point in spending considerably more money for Sata 2 disks over standard ATA or Ultra ATA 100 or 133 disks? The SATAs register about the same IO as the Ultra ATAs on my HD Tach meter. Granted that the burst rate is much higher, but that doesn't seem to translate into much higher real time sustained IO transfer rates.

Or am I missing something?

I just set up a NVidia GeForce 4 SLI system with NVidia SATA/RAID onboard and I'm getting about 90 MB/s average IO with raid 0 and two Hitachi 80 GB 7tk250's in tandem. It's certainly an improvement over a single disk, but I'm not sure if the added speed is work the risk, or that the added expense is justified.

Then I have two other Hitachi's that I've been comparing in my new system. One is a SaTA 150 and the other a nearly identical SATA 2. They both get about the same benchmarks at about 45 MB/s average and 120 burst, about equal to an ATA 133. What;s the point of spending more $$ for SATA 2 if there is no improvement in speed over a SATA 1 disk & controller? Or for that matter over even an ATA 100 or 133?

Am I doing something wrong in the way I'm setting these disks up? Should these numbers be higher?

Yes, the new RAID 0 setup does boot up and load applications about 40% faster, but that's not what I spent all that additional money to achieve at the cost of no fault tolerance.

I'm just a newbie at all this, and hopefully I'll discover I'm doing something wrong. But so far I'm very unimpressed with any slight gains I'm seeing from SATA 2 over SATA 1 or even PATA. It seems to me that a PATA RAID would turn in about the same performance as a SATA. Yes? No?

Just a few cents worth from a newbie...

Edited by onebyte

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The 150 mb/sec and 300 mb/sec is max speed of the interface not the drives, sata hard drives still have similar transfer rates of ide drives.

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The 150 mb/sec and 300 mb/sec is max speed of the interface not the drives, sata hard drives still have similar transfer rates of ide drives.

212978[/snapback]

Thanks for yoru reply, but that is exactly the conclusion I'm reaching, and my question remains the same: What's the point of spending more money for a faster interface if the electromechanical limitations of the disks can not take advantage of the added speed?

If the HD speed bottleneck is the physical capabilities of the disk, then why all the hype aver the advanctages of SATA and SATA 2 over PATA?

I spend quite a bit of time trying to look into these things before I spring for a new system, but I'm only finding this out in retrospect, AFTER I bought all the new hardware that doesn't seem to be any real-world improvement over the older stuff.

I just find it strange that so few people seem to realize that there is so little, if any, real world performance gains from the new SATA 2 standard. In fact, I just unlocked the new Hitachi 160 GB drive and expected to see a real world increase over the 150 it comes set at. What I got was zilch for an increase. Exactly the same for the 300 MB/s transfer speed as for the 150 that it's shipped with. Zip, 0, Nada...

So what's the point of spending more money for SATA 2 Disks?

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Apparently, I am discovering, what no one is talking about is that there is an electro-mechanical limit to the physical ability for disk reads and writes, and no increase in data transmission rates can speed up that bottleneck or surpass that physical limitation.

Acually I think you'll find if you search that this has been talked about before - if you only listen to what is put out by the advertizing companies then the story might not be as *complete* as you might hear around here.

Actually SATA II is suppose to have some improments over SATA I but as always it seems another standard which might have different variations from manufacturer to manufacturer. But things like NCQ and real hot-swapping and other features which are useful in certain situations. Probably not terribly useful for the majority of users but for some.

If it was just for the speed then as you have already found out the mechanical limitations are a reality of the mechanical parts not the connector - be it either IDE or SATA I or SATA II or SCSI, the data can only be read so fast on a spinning disk, that being about 40-50MB/s. So the ATA100, SATA 150 & 300 are just speeds which don't have much to do with the actual information they are transporting.

The Hype is that it is new and people are paid to sell the stuff, so they must make it sound that your computer is going to be obsolete if you take the IDE HD. But the truth is that SATA does have some benifits but they don't really include big speed increases from IDE.

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1. supposedly the thinner cables help cooling

2. Hot-plugability (I have yet to try)

3. and having the 'latest and greatest tech'

there you go, 3 'good' reasons to spend extra to get SATA drives.

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SATA-II comes with 300MB/sec transfer speed AND port multipliers. You can get four of the best 70MB/sec hard disks and connect them to a single SATAII port that supports port multipliers. Then you could theoretically get 280MB/sec max, or something. So, SATAII is good for LARGE storage systems in servers etc. In a desktop computer one could only benefit from 300MB/sec if the data is in the hard disks buffer. Many hard disks have 8MB buffer, the newer ones have 16MB. If a hard disks would have 2GB buffer then the whole operating system, applications and much of the data would fit there and one would truly enjoy 300MB/sec transfer speeds. Somebody just needs to make the hard disk buffer onehundredfold. Wait and see (in a few years...I hope). For now, SATA-I would certainly be sufficient - although SATA-II/300 and 16MB buffer could help *somewhat* in some setups. It certainly doesn't double any speed. Maybe 10% in benchmarks?

SATA is better than PATA, however, because SATA comes with rounded cables that facilitate airflow end hence cooling and quietness.

SATA-II/300 would of course open up new possibilities beyond disk caches. Gigabyte has an add-on ramdisk card (quite useless for most of us) that uses SATA/150 interface. If it would use SATA/300 it could possibly be made faster. There's going to be a SATA/600 in the future too. And let's see what magnetic ram can do in the distant future...

But for now, at home, there's hardly any benefits to be gained from SATAII.

One of many ways to get faster sustained transfer rates (of large data) would be to use faster spindle speed (10000 rpm or 15000rpm). Mostly it's how you split your working directories across multiple physical disks, though, that counts.

Also, RAID-0 or RAID-10 or RAID-1n would help if you files are BIG enough to benefit from the faster read speed (seeking takes most of the time), and so would raid-5 (for reads).

If you are a home user, then you could probably use RAID-0 as long as you backup regularly. It's not a big deal if you need to rebuild and restore, right? Why not give striping a try? Just make sure you have backups, because eventually it fails (and you can most likely blame your insufficient power supply then). On the other hand, sometimes it's better to just have two disk working in parallel, source (read) and destination (write).

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If the HD speed bottleneck is the physical capabilities of the disk, then why all the hype aver the advanctages of SATA and SATA 2 over PATA?

The hype is for the corporate buyer. Certainly, if I wanted to implement a storage system with a 8-port raid adapter and 32 drives (or 16 port, 64 drives), then I would demand a SATA-II/300 adapter. Drives with command queuing and hotswap, please.

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Thanks Guys,

I appreciate the feedback. I do realize that the purely technical aspect of faster specs has an appeal of its own. And that servers and corporate websites need the added speed on multidisk RAIDS.

I do have a modest RAID 0 setup on my OS/boot drive, and enjoy the added speed, but my point is that I could do the same thing (I think) with 133 2 PATA drives in a RAID setup. So why the need for SATA?

NVidia RAID allows you to RAID PATA drives as well as SATAs. I'm just guessing, but I suspect I'd be able to get about the same 98/99 GB/s transfer rates from a PATA RAID 0 setup as from my current SATA2 rig. I wonder if anyone has tried this?

Again, I'm not complaining about the new technologies. I think progress is great! It's just that for the home user the reality doesn't come close to the hype.

Now one benefit of SATA that I've obtained is the ability to hook up external drives with a sata cable rather than USB2 or Firewire. For reasons I don't quite understand yet that does give me a real world data transfer increase when backing up or storing large files, like ISO files for instance. I think my increase with the sata cable was about 2x or 3x over USB2 and a PATA interface.

Until I ran HD Tach on that external USB2 drive I hadn't realized it was so much slower than my internals or SATA external.

Anyhow, I'm just finishing this new build and I'm pretty happy with it. I'm just not sure I shouldn't have spent more money on larger Pata or Sata1 harddrives instead of getting the smaller Sata2's.

Cheers,

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Raid 0 = Bad

Why put your data at risk for very little if any performance boost?

This is the same deal as betamax>VHS>video disk (failed)>DVD

If the company does not come up with something new every few years or decades they cannot sell the new item whether it is better or not. New item + consumers with too much $ = make money. :(

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The 150 mb/sec and 300 mb/sec is max speed of the interface not the drives, sata hard drives still have similar transfer rates of ide drives.

212978[/snapback]

SATA is an interface standard (see review on www.barefeats.com of professional Fibre Channel RAID by Medea , they use ATA(ide) drives! the horror!... 'it just works, stupid' ; and note-being a 'pro' device, you can upgrade/change interface to suit whatever drives you install) SATA drives are made of the same mechanical drive technology employed in ide/ata drives.

Thanks Guys, 

I appreciate the feedback.  I do realize that the purely technical aspect of faster specs has an appeal of its own.  And that servers and corporate websites need the added speed on multidisk RAIDS.

I do have a modest RAID 0 setup on my OS/boot drive, and enjoy the added speed, but my point is that I could do the same thing (I think) with 133 2 PATA drives in a RAID setup.  So why the need for SATA?

NVidia RAID allows you to RAID PATA drives as well as SATAs.  I'm just guessing, but I suspect I'd be able to get about the same 98/99 GB/s transfer rates from a PATA RAID 0 setup as from my current SATA2 rig.  I wonder if anyone has tried this?

Again, I'm not complaining about the new technologies.  I think progress is great!  It's just that for the home user the reality doesn't come close to the hype.

Now one benefit of SATA that I've obtained is the ability to hook up external drives with a sata cable rather than USB2 or Firewire.  For reasons I don't quite understand yet that does give me a real world data transfer increase when backing up or storing large files, like ISO files for instance.  I think my increase with the sata cable was about 2x or 3x over USB2 and a PATA interface.

Until I ran HD Tach on that external USB2 drive I hadn't realized it was so much slower than my internals or SATA external.

Anyhow, I'm just finishing this new build and I'm pretty happy with it.  I'm just not sure I shouldn't have spent more money on larger Pata or Sata1 harddrives instead of getting the smaller Sata2's. 

Cheers,

213005[/snapback]

SATA2 drives are not necessarily 'smaller'-unless you are speaking of 2.5in blade server drives/laptop drives vs. more standard 3.5in drives; SATA2 is an interface standard that uses fewer signal lines, just as FW or FC(fibre channel) interfaces do, in comparison to older SCSI or ATA(ide) drive interfaces which have much wider/bulkier cables.

Raid 0 = Bad

Why put your data at risk for very little if any performance boost?

This is the same deal as betamax>VHS>video disk (failed)>DVD

If the company does not come up with something new every few years or decades they cannot sell the new item whether it is better or not.  New item + consumers with too much $ = make money.  :(

213006[/snapback]

^^^ '36k' = 1,100+ posts in a few short months (notice registration date) = somebody who likes to get attention to feel good about himself (low self-esteem) = very much Bad /, woefully ignorant and inaccurate information to all SR n00b's who are naive and don't know any better. Terrible analogy from someone who does not understand the technology, nor the needs of the users these standards seek to address... hint, the world does not revolve around only home computer users and gameboy players; RAID setups are employed extensively in video/film production/post prod/editing markets.

See my posts in the Maxline & DM10 threads of the last few days. You will find links to the speed demons site www.barefeats.com, there you will find the information that you will not get from '36k' and his 1,100k+ posts!

In the $5k+ area, video editing pros use and need RAID setups for speed and Hi-Def editing. Thomson Viper 2k res. camcorder, outputs uncompressed raw datastream right out of the sensors @ ~270MB/s so you must have a fast RAID to capture from this professional HD camcorder. Dalsa 'Origin' 4k high res. camcorder now available for rental, outputs at an even higher rate. READ raid/drive discussion review articles on www.barefeats.com, not all SATA cables are the same (as far as being capable of working properly at those 150+MB/s rates)

Then go to the link on this thread New Raidcore card availability? (PCI Express/SATA2), then go read about SAS, next gen of SCSI drive interface, which is 'compatible' with SATA2- they use the same type of cables apparently. Demo of prototype Hitachi 15k drives that hit 97MB/s transfers, 12 of them in RAID 0, gets you 1GB/s STR's :). The Raidcore host adapter has both SAS & SATA2, so you'd expect it to be marketed at $$$ pros, ie. expensive

BTW, Apple pioneered the FW800 interface several years ago when they put these ports on their widescreen (another industry 1st) laptops, but supposedly there will be a FW1600 interface in the near future. Read www.bearfeats.com "Which is faster, FireWire 800 or Serial ATA? Answer should be obvious

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"I do have a modest RAID 0 setup on my OS/boot drive, and enjoy the added speed, but my point is that I could do the same thing (I think) with 133 2 PATA drives in a RAID setup. So why the need for SATA?"

Hey 12K9 this guy is a home user I assume is not doing anything that would benefit from raid 0, perhaps you need to 'read' as usual.

He says his boot / os drive is in raid 0 = little if any benefit.

Edited by xSTLx

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Indeed, the main advantage of SATA (whether II or not) right now is the longer (!) and thinner cables - and the Raptors, of course. That problem with the flaky connectors should be solved by now, at least I hope so. PATA is far from dead. You can still buy current 7200 rpm drives in PATA (like my Deskstar T7K250 - I don't have any SATAnic controllers yet) and benefit from their lower heat production (SATA drives tend to dissipate about 0.6 .. 1 W more than their PATA cousins, on average):

http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/storage/hddpower.html

I guess the oldstyle parallel interface will prevail in drives geared towards consumer electronics for a while, until the point where electronics for SATA actually become more efficient. Mainstream 7200 rpm drives might stay in production even longer, considering how many systems with PATA are still around.

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Now one benefit of SATA that I've obtained is the ability to hook up external drives with a sata cable rather than USB2 or Firewire.  For reasons I don't quite understand yet that does give me a real world data transfer increase when backing up or storing large files, like ISO files for instance.  I think my increase with the sata cable was about 2x or 3x over USB2 and a PATA interface.

Until I ran HD Tach on that external USB2 drive I hadn't realized it was so much slower than my internals or SATA external.

This is because have a much lower bandwidth than SATA/PATA. For example, the 480Mbps you might see advertised for USB2 is in megabits rather than megabytes. And due to using the common practice in serial technologies of encoding 8 bits of data in to 10 bits of transmission (to assist with timings, etc), this translates in to 48 megabytes per second maximum. And USB2 in general seems incapable of actually reaching that maximum, due to some combination of technology limitation or poor implementation.

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As everyone's covered quite well, the real gains in any modern ATA interface beyond ATA/100 is in the additional features provided; for SATA 300 this is includes NCQ, port multpliers, hotswap support, easier cabling (no more master/slave), etc.

Harddisk burst speeds (as it dumps from the onboard cache) can take advantage of the faster interface-- in theory-- but a harddisk cache is so small anyway, it isn't tbhat big of a difference.

A modern ATA harddisk still can't max out an ATA/100 connection for long reads or writes, let alone SATA150 or SATA300. Heck, the fastest SCSI disks aren't quite there yet either, although they're closer...

You buy SATA because it will be the primary harddisk interface in the future for consumers, not for the added performance.

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I thought that when I upgraded to a new DIY built system with SATA and SATA2 hard drives I'd see a dramatic increase in performance that involved disk intensive reads and writes, transfers between disks, and so on.

I'm disappointed that the reality doesnt begin to live up to all the hype and hoopla, although by now you'd think I'd know better than to expect that.

Just a few cents worth from a newbie...

212977[/snapback]

SATA really IS better, it just does not necessarily come out and hit you over the head with a jaw dropping boost in whatever. SATA has a far better interface, and that is about all. It is still worth it to foresake ATA / IDE forever, though. The world of serial interfaces like Fire Wire, USB, Fibre Channel and now Serial Attach Scsi are the future, so you better get used to it. Engineers know better. It's about time the rest of you know better.

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The 150 mb/sec and 300 mb/sec is max speed of the interface not the drives, sata hard drives still have similar transfer rates of ide drives.

212978[/snapback]

Thanks for yoru reply, but that is exactly the conclusion I'm reaching, and my question remains the same: What's the point of spending more money for a faster interface if the electromechanical limitations of the disks can not take advantage of the added speed?

If the HD speed bottleneck is the physical capabilities of the disk, then why all the hype aver the advanctages of SATA and SATA 2 over PATA?

I spend quite a bit of time trying to look into these things before I spring for a new system, but I'm only finding this out in retrospect, AFTER I bought all the new hardware that doesn't seem to be any real-world improvement over the older stuff.

I just find it strange that so few people seem to realize that there is so little, if any, real world performance gains from the new SATA 2 standard. In fact, I just unlocked the new Hitachi 160 GB drive and expected to see a real world increase over the 150 it comes set at. What I got was zilch for an increase. Exactly the same for the 300 MB/s transfer speed as for the 150 that it's shipped with. Zip, 0, Nada...

So what's the point of spending more money for SATA 2 Disks?

212980[/snapback]

There really isn't any as the idea is that we have a faster interface for upgradability and so that each channel isn't overflowing when mutiple disks are on it (e.g. a 133MBps PATA channel with two Caviars only gives each Caviar 66MBps). Also, with SATA 2, you should be able to connect (SATA 2) burners and other types of drives that used to be ATA only. SATA 1 was only for hard drives if I recall.

By the way, if you brought a good solid state hard disk, you would be seeing an increase.

Edited by Shining Arcanine

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Well, the main reason I am shifting to SATA is for the thinner cable. Simple as that really. I reckon that SATA will most likely take over PATA in the future, at least for HDs, so if you are getting a brand new drive that will (hopefully) last for a few years to come, then it is worth spending the extra few quid.

Plus, as far as I know, most motherboard only come with two UDMA connectors. In my case, I choose to have two optical drives. One DVDRW, and one CDRW (used solely used for ripping CDs, which I own many, as I don't like to use my DVDRW for everything). That limits me to two HDs, unless I take advantage of my SATA connector or get a PCI IDE connector.

Anyway, there are a few reasons to go SATA instead of UDMA aside of the increased bandwidth (something I never really paid that much attention since.. umm, the release of UDMA 100?).

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these are optional. SATA/300 only provides 300 mbyte/s.
I stand corrected. Next time I'll check the SATA spec, since manufacturer implementations seem to be different across the board. (makes me wonder what the marketing people think when they'e using the term SATA "II")...

*shrugs*

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I just set up a NVidia GeForce 4 SLI system with NVidia SATA/RAID onboard and I'm getting about 90 MB/s average IO with raid 0 and two Hitachi 80 GB 7tk250's in tandem.

This caught my attention because I have recently "upgraded" from a 3yr old Socket A Biostar VIK board on which I had two Raptors in a RAID-1 mirror to a Socket 939 Asus A8N-E board with NVidia SATA/RAID with the same two drives in a newly configured RAID-1. Both systems had 1GB RAM; the former DDR and the latter dual channel.

On the original board I could restore image files (with both Drive Image and BootIt-NG) at sustained data transfer rates exceeding 1GB per minute. The same drives on the new board find it hard to cross 600 MB per minute - so I am much disappointed and can only presume this it to do with the board's chipset design. Being able to quickly restore image files is fundamental to the way I work and so I am inclined to go back in time unless someone can suggest a resolution or another modern board with PCIe that would provide at least as good data transfer rates as I had with my "old" biostar board.

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The 150 mb/sec and 300 mb/sec is max speed of the interface not the drives, sata hard drives still have similar transfer rates of ide drives.

212978[/snapback]

Thanks for yoru reply, but that is exactly the conclusion I'm reaching, and my question remains the same: What's the point of spending more money for a faster interface if the electromechanical limitations of the disks can not take advantage of the added speed?

If the HD speed bottleneck is the physical capabilities of the disk, then why all the hype aver the advanctages of SATA and SATA 2 over PATA?

I spend quite a bit of time trying to look into these things before I spring for a new system, but I'm only finding this out in retrospect, AFTER I bought all the new hardware that doesn't seem to be any real-world improvement over the older stuff.

I just find it strange that so few people seem to realize that there is so little, if any, real world performance gains from the new SATA 2 standard. In fact, I just unlocked the new Hitachi 160 GB drive and expected to see a real world increase over the 150 it comes set at. What I got was zilch for an increase. Exactly the same for the 300 MB/s transfer speed as for the 150 that it's shipped with. Zip, 0, Nada...

So what's the point of spending more money for SATA 2 Disks?

What is the point of more MHz?

Seriously, 300MB/s gives you a certain amount of room for growth. That way when we finally have solid state drives on the market (such as the iRAM and iRAM 2), no one will be complaining about how little of a gain switching from magnetic storage to solid state storage gives. There is also the fact that hard drives burst, especially the 15,000 RPM hard drives that we will hopefully have in SATA land some day in the future.

By the way, SATA drives use smaller cables and and do error checking (as SATA transfers data at 187.5MB/sec rather than 150MB/s) unlike PATA drives.

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By the way, SATA drives use smaller cables and and do error checking (as SATA transfers data at 187.5MB/sec rather than 150MB/s) unlike PATA drives.

Well, the SATA interface bandwidth is 1500Mbit/sec, but 8b/10b encoding results in a maximum data transfer rate of 150MByte/sec.

UDMA 66 and higher does perform CRC error checking on the data packets.

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