Serial Technologies SATA II to IDE Adaptor Review
Chris Hadley / 462 days ago
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Every now and again there a few simple and somewhat useful bits of kit that come onto the market that assist in making slightly older systems and their components work with newer technologies.
The majority of these are adaptors for converting from one interface to another such as we have here today. With this comes the question of whether such devices hinder with the performance of the connected drives or media for what you would otherwise see from a direct connection.
The SATA II to IDE adaptor is designed for those out there of whom still run on a system that does not have SATA capability on the motherboard yet would still like a cost effective solution for using newer technologies. When looking at users who still utilise the IDE interface, their remains a stumbling block that stops them in their tracks.
This is mainly down to IDE hard drives not really being manufactured over 500GB, and for a large percentage of users today, 500GB just doesn’t cut it.
Of course you then have the option of buying multiple drives, but if you require 3TB’s of storage, this can lead to quite a few hard drives, and that can then pose problems if your chosen chassis can’t support the amount you need.
SATA on the other hand, has a lot more flexability with regards to hard drive capacities and allows for large single drives to the do the same job, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could couple that with your older IDE based system, which leads us to this adaptor, which allows you to do that very task.
The SATA to IDE converter covers a range of Ultra-DMA speeds upto 150Mb/s and also has a 48 bit LBA (Logical Block Addressing) which breaks the capacity limit of 137Gb.
The SATA side of the board purely comprises of the male SATA connections for a hard drive or optical drive.
On the IDE side of the board is a set of jumpers for IDE mode selection like you would find on a pure IDE device (ie master, slave or cable select) there is also a molex power cable with a pass through connection.
In both sets of tests that we ran, we wanted to see if the adaptor had any real bottlenecks imposed on the IDE interface over a pure IDE drive. Naturally we know that the encountered speeds would be lower than when the drive is run on SATA as the IDE interface is slower in its own rights hence being a phased out technology.
Firstly we tested our drive of choice, in this case a Hitachi Deskstart 250Gb with ATTO and on the 1024Kb sector we get read speeds of 67Mb/s for both the read and write speeds.
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Crystal Disk Mark across its sequential tests also gives us a consistent read speed of 67.1Mb/s and a write speed of 66.6Mb/s as expected from how similar it is designed to work, when comparing to ATTO.
With our hard drive now connected up via a Ultra-DMA 3 interface, we ran the same ATTO and Crystal Disk Mark benchmark tests again, to see how and if any variance has occurred.
ATTO shows us that as we expected from our chosen interface that the drives performance is lower than before however the read speed is a little lower at 34Mb/s than the write speed at 41Mb/s.
Once again, running Crystal Disk Mark again, this time under the new interface, shows us readings consistent to that of ATTO with a read speed of 34.1Mb/s and a write of 40.8Mb/s
So where do we go with this adaptor? Well I can imagine that some people are asking what is the point in the SATA to IDE converter? Why not just upgrade your entire system and get SATA functionality from the start?
Well the be all and end all is that not everyone has mass amounts of disposable cash to just throw at their systems and some may not see the need to upgrade which, for them, is a perfectly usable setup and the cost of upgrading the motherboard and therefore the CPU and potentially memory as well is far greater than that of just buying a larger storage drive, so you can see how the decision isn’t as clear cut as it first makes out.
There is also the point that those that do have SATA connectors on their boards, may have all available ports utilised with hard drives or if they have a suitable optical drive as well.
For example, attached via SATA and wishing to add another drive, the converter could be used to connect the optical drive onto the IDE channel and therefore the optimum speed could then be reached with the hard drive on the SATA port, as an optical drive will never fully utilise a SATA port, quite like a hard drive can.
Where this also comes in is at the point where IDE based drives are in the process of being phased out and those that are still around do not yield the same capacities that SATA hard drives do, so this adapter opens up yet another doorway for filling the void.
For the sake of £10.78, the cost is easily justified due to the larger capacities of drives that are available on the market today especially as SATA based drives are around the same price per Gb if not cheaper the higher in capacity you go and with the price of hard drives still at an all-time high, it can now be one of the most costly upgrades to a system.