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Topic: Three Drive System Optimization

  1. #1

    Three Drive System Optimization

    I just added a third harddrive with hopes that my audio performance would increase. It got worse! I have a PIII 600E, 18 gig WD 7200 ATA66, 20 gig Maxtor ATA66 7200, and 13 gig Fujitsu 7200 ATA66, 256 Megs of ram, ABIT BE6 Motherboard, HP CDRW. I figured I would load windows 98SE on the 13 gig Fujitsu along with all my programs, plugins etc, dedicate the WD to Cakewalk audio and the Maxtor Diamondmax plus to Giga audio. Which of these drives should be connected to the ATA66 connections? Which should be designated as masters? Which should be designated as slaves? What should be done with the CDRW? I have seen a lot of posts about configuring two drive systems but none about the proper way to configure three drive systems for maximum performance. Or is having more than two drives overkill? Peace.

  2. #2
    Senior Member LHong's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    San Jose, Ca, USA

    Re: Three Drive System Optimization

    Logicaly, it should works same whether IDE master or slave, unless the CD-DRIVE is not DMA compatible or not DMA selected, some of mother boards and Chipsets will be default the IDE slave/Master as None-DMA operation if either one is not DMA. Check it out by re-arrange the IDE cables (it might changes the Drive Letter). If it\'s a case you might need to connect the CD-DRIVE as same as with the OS drive or would be a SCSI protocol solution?
    Anyway, there is some discussion about three drives, it is not exactly same as your, there is a mixed SCSI and IDE harddrives, just a little idea:

    Well, it is a tough question! I\'m sure someone has done that? anyone?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Chandler, Arizona

    Re: Three Drive System Optimization

    Make sure the CDRW is not on the same port as the drive with the Giga audio. The drive hooked with the CDRW will work at the highest speed the CDRW is capable of which is usually not ATA66. This is why I use a SCSI CDRW. I don\'t think there is a best way when you have a drive for each Cakewalk and Giga in an IDE system with a CD drive. Since the OS has to be on drive C: it will have to be on the primary port as master. You may want to put the Giga drive as a slave on the primary port. Then run the Cakewalk audio either on the 2nd port as either a master or slave depending on what the CDRW wants (some only work as a master and will not work properly as a slave). Normally Giga will cause more hard drive activity which is why you want it on the port without the CDRW. Hope this helps.

  4. #4

    Re: Three Drive System Optimization

    If your motherboard is like my abit be6,the way it\'s configured is,
    There are two main IDE ports that support UDMA 33.
    And there are two more ports that support UDMA66.
    The first UDMA33 port I put my slow drive that hold all my programs and crap,and I set this as a master.
    The second UDMA33 port I put my cd rom [master] and my cdr [slave]
    Then on my first UDMA 66 port I will put my fast hardrive [set for master] I put Cakewalk [or giga]
    And on the second UDMA 66 port I will put my other fast harddrive [set for master]and I will put giga studio [or cakewalk]
    hope this helps , Ken

  5. #5

    Re: Three Drive System Optimization

    The thing with IDE is .. it works great but only if you do not use the salve ports. I would do the following. If you have a board with an extra IDE controller ( so you would be able to connect 4 masters and 4 slaves ) then you should be happy. If not, then get a Promise Ultra 100 or similar and connect two drives as masters to this controller, the third driver and the CDRW onto the onboard controller, also as masters.

    Never use the slave ports, because the slaves will determine the speed the master can use and also, both will not read or write concurrently. That means, if the master is working, the slave is waiting or vice versa.

    If you run a sequencer and Gigastudio together on three seperate disks, then there will be situations where all three disks will be accessed at the same time or almost at the same time. If all three are connected as masters on seperate controller ports then this will work fine. If not, then either one will have to wait for the other to finish.

    I have thought about getting SCSI because of this, but it is much cheaper and yet works fine if you use 4 seperate IDE master ports only.

    Best wishes,

  6. #6

    Re: Three Drive System Optimization

    Slave-ports are a problem if you have a master connected to the port as well. IDE can only talk to one drive on such a port at any time. Also, the entire port will default to the speed of the lowest drive (eg udma33 in stead of 66).

    Thus it is recommended to put each drive on a separate (e.g. master) port.

    Some mobos will allow you to do this, but for most you will have to purchase an additional plug-in IDE card.

    Now, HERE IS THE RUB: Plug-in IDE cards tend to add latency to the seek time (around 30ms). It also appears that some motherboards, which feature additional built-in Promise ATA100 controllers, have this extra latency on the Promise ports as well. If you want to try this out, download Sisoft Sandra Lite, and measure for yourself.

    Thus, the suggestion is as follows: Put your gigs-drive and audio drive on your *native* motherboard controller (i.e. the VIA controller if it is a VIA board, or the BX controller if it is an Intel board). Put your program-drive and CD drive on the plug-in card or non-native (i.e. Promise) on-board controller.

    You will now have to deal with the following issues:

    a) The OS normally wants to boot from so-called \"C:\", which is usually associated with a drive plugged into the native on-board IDE controller port 0. You should be able to change this in your BIOS settings, however (if you can\'t, try upgrading your BIOS).

    There should be some option to select the C: or boot-drive. The trick is that a plug-in IDE card usually pretends to be a SCSI card, so to get the system to boot from a drive connected to such a card, select \"SCSI 0\" or some such in that option.

    b) Giga may crash flat when trying to read Akai CDs from a CDROM/RW drive connected via a plug-in card. I see this on my system (ricoh MP9060A via an iwill side66pro with hpt chipset). Unfortunately, I have no elegant way of solving this problem.

    Although it is probably better to put audio & gigs on ATA66, it should not make any difference at udma33, since the drive will never reach that speed except perhaps burst transfer from the cache. And even a 2M cache is not going to cache very much of something like gigapiano.

    Also, on UDMA33, when using only the master ports, some drives want to be jumpered as \"master\" and some want to be jumpered in their factory default (which doesn\'t really have a name, but means that it is on its own on the port). Some of the Western Digital drives will not run properly if jumpered as \"master\" when it is on its own on a port.

    For ATA66 drives, as a rule \"cable select\" is used, so it is not necessary to change the jumpers. A drive will be master or slave depending on where it is plugged into the ata66 cable. This is not a problem, as long as you (a) use a proper ata66 cable and (b) you have only one drive to a cable.

    A final note: For those battling to get 160 polyphony of one drive: has anyoneever tried spreading gigs over two drives? I should think this should give one full poly. Especially if you use the first partition on a hard drive, since it is always the fastest.

    [This message has been edited by cc (edited 09-28-2000).]

  7. #7

    Re: Three Drive System Optimization

    Thanks for the tips. Ken159, It looks like your system is very similiar to mine. I had my system set up exactly as you suggested so perhaps the problem lies elsewhere. If I remember correctly, there was no DMA box to check with my CDROM. I believe this indicates that it is not busmaster capable. I am going to remove it and have my cakewalk audio drive (w. Digital) connected to ATA66 as a master, Giga drive (Maxtor Diamond Max plus) connected to the other ATA66 as a master, the Fujitsu drive connected to ATA33 as a master and containing OS, pograms, p;lugins etc. and the CDRW connected to the final ATA33 drive as master with DMA checked for all drives and CDRW. I then will follow some of the tips I have seen on this forum like vcache settings etc. if I can still find them. I am getting good performance with Giga. It is my Cakewalk audio performance that leaves something to be desired. One track of audio with one effect (c1+) compressor showing 18% CPU usage? Perhaps my soundcard isn\'t configured right for Cakewalk. I\'ve got a Delta 1010. Does anyone have a good ballpark figure for buffer settings etc. for this card. Peace.

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