Saucy Boy

Need AGP 8x and PCI-Express / SATA II Motherboard

8 posts in this topic

I am planning on purchasing a number of hard drives for my multimedia PC, the three internal drives will be SATA and two of the three will be capable of the new 3.0 Gb/s standard. I will also have an external hard drive that will be eSATA and USB 2.0.

I would like to capitalize on these latest hard drive speed enhancements for all the drives, however currently my motherboard (Asus P4C-800E Deluxe) is only capable of SATA I (150 MB/s) and only has two SATA ports and no eSATA at all.

I am hoping there is a way to just upgrade the motherboad and maybe add a SATA II card (if the new one has PCI-Express) in order to up the SATA ports and their transfer speeds. I don't really want to upgrade the processor (P4 2.8 Socket 478), RAM or video card (AGP 8x) right now in order to accomplish this. My question is, is this possible?

Does anybody know a quality motherboard that will accommodate my current CPU/RAM/Video as well as the newer drives? It seems all of the 4 port SATA II / eSATA / PCI-Express motherboards are incompatible / next generation everything and will not work. Or should I just settle for now and upgrade all the way later?

Any help or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,

Clayton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You won't notice/feel a difference between SATA 1 (150MB/s) and SATA 2 (300MB/s), unless your primary use for the computer is to run benchmarks. Even SATA 1 has a transfer rate around double what the fastest hard drives on the market can sustain. And I don't think eSATA is worth buying a controller for, given the convenience, cheap price, and wide availabiltiy of USB2 external enclosures.

So, I'd say spend your money elsewhere (larger drives, drive redundancy etc). Or if your motherboard only has USB1, perhaps a USB2 controller for the external drive etc...

This is all just my personal opinion, I'd love to hear what other people think.

Regards,

Bit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Bit,

I wasn't sure if it would make that much difference, or how stable SATA II would be ... especially on an older chipset / motherboard supporting old technology (AGP) anyway. That is a good point, I would also be interested to know if others think SATA II would not make that much difference.

Other reasoning, I have to add a SATA card anyway to have enough ports internally (I do not want to get PATA drives for lack of ports because eventually I will upgrade). That will run ~$40 already. I figured why not just upgrade the whole motherboard if it is possible instead. Also, if I could get eSATA at the same time, why not. Hence the search for the motherboard.

Clayton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. sata2 wont be faster (they give hotswap, and buzzword compatability)

2. pata drives have nice rebates now, and the connector isnt going away for a while :) the flat cable suxs, but with 300G Seagates with 5yr warrenties go for $90AR I can live with it :) and pci pata cards sil0680 cards are $10.

3. concider firewire for extenal use... 1394b can keep up with current ide drives, and the firewire port is handy for digicams and such.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Contemporary (year 2004...2006) 7200rpm PATA, SATA, SATA2 hdd's are all almost similar with their data transfer rates and seek times. The differences in burst rates and interface bandwidth are just for benchmarking only, these do not give anything for real use (ok, burst rate gives a bit but it may be couple of percents in summary of performance if anything at all).

If you need 3 internal drives and your current motherboard already has 2 SATA ports then I don't think you will need complete upgrade for it now. Just buy 2 SATA (or SATA2 if you like - it's backwards compatible) drives and 1 PATA drive (I hope you have by default IDE channels too).

For external drive just the eSATA is really a good solution because of it will not be a bottleneck then but also FireWire and USB2.0 aren't so bad (although they may limit the fastest transfer part of contemporary drives). So it's up to you if to buy a FireWire card or find an eSATA card (it may be pretty rare still).

But as the alternate, you could also buy a SATA (or SATA2) card. From there you could take one or more ports for internal SATA drives (then no need for PATA drive) plus even one port for external SATA (although this is not the "true" eSATA solution, it could be used (but then probably it's better to go with SATA2 version which supports hot-plugging too).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like, from the feedback here, SATA II is in fact not much faster than SATA (practically speaking about performance and use).

I am thinking now I will just get a pci card that supports SATA and eSATA ... it will all only be SATA 150 though. Unfortunately without PCI Express I cannot get the SATA II card instead (all SATA II cards I have seen are PCI-E). So yes that will take care of the internal drives and the eSATA drive, no motherboard upgrade necessary.

Thanks!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SATA II doesn't exist yet. There's SATA 1.5Gbps and SATA 3Gbps, period.

There are external hard drive enclosures that include the bracket to link a SATA port from your motherboard to connect an eSATA drive. The Vantec Nexstar 3 (NST-360SU-BK) is one of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SATA II is a marketing term, implying that a drive or controller supports one or more of the optional extensions to SATA 1.0, such as 3 Gbps (300 MB/s) interface speed, hot plug support, NCQ, etc. SATA 2.5 is a solid spec requiring that any drive or controller that claims SATA 2.5 support must support ALL of the optional extensions to the SATA 1.0 spec.

Anyway, it doesn't matter what speed of SATA you use - as long as there's one drive per controller port, then each drive has at least 50% headroom even with SATA 150 MB/s. Burst speed is insignificant, since a drive spends most of its time accessing the platters, not the cache.

Bear in mind when connecting your drives that the chipset controller ports will both have the full bandwidth available, while a PCI controller will have to share a maximum of about 120 MB/s between all its connected drives. Hence the suggestion above to use any spare PATA ports you may have.

eSATA will be much quicker than USB, and a bit quicker than Firewire. But if it's only going to be used for backup, it doesn't really matter. If SATA controllers with eSATA ports are as cheap as regular SATA controllers, get one. Make sure it allows the eSATA drive to be hot plugged.

If it can't be hotplugged, you'll probably end up using USB anyway, just for the convenience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now