This time we only concentrated on the IDE interface performance. We used HD Tach 2.61 to assess the interface performance. What was interesting was the burst performance, which emerged from several read-outs of the hard drive's buffer memory. Of course, this result is far from realistic, but the meaning of these tests was not to determine the drive's performance.
UltraATA/100 - still not faster?
Owners of UltraATA/66 cannot anticipate higher performance upon exchanging the controller with an ATA/100 model. Only the ATA/100 drives might benefit, if they have been operated with a previous VIA chipset system and their sequential data transfer speed is above 30 MB/s (see benchmark chart on the next page).
Today's real meaning of UltraATA/100 starts with parallel use of several hard drives (e.g. in a RAID setup). Though no chipset supports RAID configurations by default, you may interconnect two or more hard drives in Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 to something like a software-RAID. Stripe sets (RAID 0) will really increase the data transfer speed tremendously.
We expect database applications to run slightly faster with the faster IDE interface. In this case, lots of small packets are repeatedly read and written, which can be accelerated by the hard drive's cache memory. Again, this does not represent the hard drive's performance, but it makes sense to increase performance at certain applications. Cache memory is much faster than the hard drive and is only limited by the IDE interface.