Help with choosing a fast Hard Drive

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Ewen Cameron, Feb 15, 2004.

  1. Ewen Cameron macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2004
    I have a G4 Quicksliver 733 and have upgraded the CPU with a Giga Designs 1.47 and also a Radeon 9000.

    I now want to upgrade the Hard drive to something fast but am unsure about all the options available.

    Is it worth getting a Sonnet Tempo Ultra ATA 133 PCI card?

    Will this make a new drive any faster?

    I have read somewhere that the fastest drives available top out at 41MB/sec. ATA/66 is rated at 66MB/sec. So switching to an ATA/100 or ATA/133 card won't make the drive go faster.

    I also need to know what the difference is between a Serial ATA Western Digital Caviar SE and an Enhanced IDE Western Digital Caviar SE?

    Will they both work with the Tempo card?
  2. janey macrumors 603


    Dec 20, 2002
    sunny los angeles
    Re: Help with choosing a fast Hard Drive

    why? i mean unless you're doing some where you need a fast hard drive you wont need it.
    enhanced IDE (aka eide) works with anything that has "ATA" in it, but not "serial". The serial ATA (sata) drive needs another card. for starters it uses a difrerent cable read up on it on

    just make sure you get compatible hardware. and next time you ask about hard drives, dont forget to add what kind of hard drive you have ;)
  3. tomf87 macrumors 65816


    Sep 10, 2003
    The main difference between Ultra ATA/66/100/133 and Serial ATA is that SATA is serial and Ultra ATA is parallel. The max throughput for SATA is 150Mbps, and there is a limitation of one drive per channel. Of course, the cable carries both power and signal and they are much smaller, supposedly improving airflow.

    With any drive, normally the faster the RPM's and the bigger the cache, the faster the drive. Of course, there are exceptions. But I would look for a 7200rpm drive with 8MB of cache. I put one of these in my iMac and it sped it up considerably.
  4. The Cheat macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2004
    Toronto, Ontario
    There is really very little difference between ATA-100 and ATA-133. In fact, I think the only manufacturer that supports ATA-133 is Maxtor, and the speed advantage is negligable - its mostly a marketing ploy. So you may as well save some money and just get a ATA-100 card, they might be cheaper.

    However, if you are going through the trouble of gettng a new controller card and upgrading your hard drive, you may as well go the whole nine yards and get SATA - the price really isn't that much more for the card or the drive, and it will give you a more significant speed boost, with the advantage of having smaller, more managable cables. Tom is right that they improve air flow somewhat, however, the power cable is still seperate from the drive conector. Since it takes a different power connector, you will need an adaptor cable that plugs into the old style power cable and converts it to SATA style, and they are pretty cheap anyway. It may sound complicated, but its really not in practice.

    In terms of a good SATA hard drive, if you really want something FAST then look no further than the Western Digital Raptor drive, its spins at 10,000rpm - faster than any other non-scsi drive with no noticable noise difference from regular 7,200rpm drives, but with a much faster seek times and transfer rate. Only drawback is its only available in 36GB and 72GB versions, with the 36GB version being priced about the same as normal 120GB drives :rolleyes: .

    If you want something more economical, while still being stupidly fast, go for the Seagate Barracude 7200.7 SATA version. It leads the pack in 7200rpm drives. (here's the Tom's hardware review comparing the two

    Anyways, this is probably more information than you wanted/needed, but I hope it helps!
  5. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    For the computer you've got, just getting any 7200RPM, 8MB cache ATA drive (not SATA) and putting it on your main IDE bus (the one down at the bottom of the case, not up with the CD drive), will be plenty fast. Unless you need to add more than two drives total, I wouldn't even bother with an add-on card.

    As far as speed in the non-SATA drive area, the fastest (again, assuming 7200 RPM and 8MB) is going to be either a new Hitachi/IBM drive or a Western Digital, although the truth is Maxtor, Seagate, and even Samsung aren't all that far behind. I'd get (or rather, did get) the Seagate, on account of it's being very quiet, relatively cool, and having a better reliability reputation than the others. The only one I wouldn't get would be a Maxtor--I don't trust their reliability, and they run hot.

    If you really want to go SATA, the choices are similar. I opted for a Hitachi/IBM 7K250, since it's the fastest thing outside the Raptor in most real-world tests, but they do make an annoying "thrip" sound every once in a while.

    You can read the reviews at for detailed speed information on every modern drive. Those guys do an exhaustive job of benchmarking hard drives, and are a more accurate resource than Tom's or any other review site I know of when it comes to storage.

    Actually, you're both sort of right; SATA has its own slim power connector, which can be combined with the data cable since they're right next to each other (as some of these adapters show), but many SATA drives also have a connector for old-style 4-pin molex power, which the G4 in question has inside.

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