Price Check on ATA Controller Cards for Macs

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coius's picture
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I have started to give it some thought on how a Faster IDE Bus would be better for my B&W G4 and am wondering how much a used card would go for. I am looking for either ATA/66 or /100 and want to know what I need to expect to shell out for one. I saw that If I got it new on Sonnet's page, it's $100. That's more than the computer itself!!!
Anyways, if anyone has one they want to trade for, or has one cheap, let me know. If not, i want to know what I should be willing to shell out for one.

Thanks!
Coius

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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I've seen the ATA66's go for

I've seen the ATA66's go for as little as $6 on eBay. The lowest for an ATA100 I've seen is around $35, and for ATA133 around $45. I only watch the Sonnet auctions. People generally bid too high still on eBay, though, so these low auctions are not the norm. And actually, I can't remember the $6 one too well, but I did see a $10 buy-it-now ATA66 auction sit there for a lot longer that I would have expected it to before it got snatched by someone. Of course, the really cheap buy-it-nows are dependent on being lucky to be there when they pop up.

According to Sonnet's site, the 66 is compatible with up to Jaguar or something like that and the 100 to something else, I don't remember. I don't know what that means, but I've never tried my 66 with OS X.

On the topic, I just posted some of my experience with controller cards in the B&W here:
http://www.applefritter.com/node/20464
One invaluable thing to have on hand with controller cards is a system on CD that you can boot to and use to select the startup disk, as well as to be able to run utilities.

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Is US$45 cheap enough?

My usual go-to Mac hardware vendor OWC has a serial ATA card for that price.

Quote:

OWC Serial ATA (SATA) 2-Channel PCI/PCI-X 32-bit Controller Card
* Offers the flexibility of internal (SATA) or external SATA (eSATA) drive use
* Compatible with most PCI Power Macintosh Systems (Blue & White G3 or later)
* 48-bit LBA support for drives larger than 137GB
* Supports OS X mirroring and striping
* Compatible with Mac OS 8.6 through Mac OS X
* Boots from any attached hard drive
* 2 Year Warranty

dan k

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coius's picture
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I need ATA

Not SATA. I only have ATA/100 drives to put in this. I don't feel like spending even more money for hard drives

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dankephoto's picture
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no problem

Just buy a cheapo IDE-to-SATA adapter and you're good to go.

Here's an example, and here's another.

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Eudimorphodon's picture
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Re: no problem

dankephoto wrote:

Just buy a cheapo IDE-to-SATA adapter and you're good to go.

I dunno about the wisdom of using those IDE-to-SATA adapters, at least if you care about your data. Here at work our hardware guru likes using them to produce hard drive bus errors on the testing platforms. They're very good at it. :^b

--Peace

catmistake's picture
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just random thoughts

I have 2 B&Ws and a PCI Graphics G4, all uncomissioned, wondering about whats to do with em.

2 x ATA busses... one Ultra ATA/33 (ATA-4), one EIDE (ATA-3).
3 x 33MHz PCI, sharing a peak of 133MB/s across the bus,
1 x 66MHz PCI (presumably, peak 266MB/s, unshared because its the only slot on the bus).
2 x 50-pin scsi PCI cards
1 x 68-pin wide-scsi PCI card

ATA peaked out around 80MB/s (which is why scsi held its ground so long). SATA/150 would be overkill, as I doubt a B&W could ever approach saturating that link, and SATA II is just ridiculosity...

I think that the B&W & the 1st G4 (PCI Graphics) won't boot headless without a graphics card. But, I wonder...can't you just move the card? The graphics card can be a 33Mhz card on the 33MHz bus... the card will fit in the longer slot, leaving the 66MHz PCI card slot open for a SATA card...? Will these boards boot with the graphics card in the lower slot?

If so, how about that?
A B&W with the graphics card in one of the lower slots, and booting off a cheap OWC SATA card in the 66MHz PCI bus connected to, possibly, a 750GB Barracuda. For about $230, never muck with the HD set up in your box again.

---
edit-just read new SATA drives out of the question...

Then here's the suggestion...
Try getting the machine to boot with the Graphics card in the lower slot, then when you get your PATA card, make sure its both 66 MHz & 33 MHz 32-bit compatible. Try the PATA card in the 66MHz slot.

Also... if you have an old 50-pin scsi card laying around, and a good sized scsi drive (9-18gb), see if you can boot the machine off the scsi card & drives, then use the native ATA buses to stripe raid all your ATA drives together for max performance.

Hmm... all this contingent on
1) whether the B&W boots with the graphics card in a lower slot
2) whether the B&W will boot off a drive connected to a card

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Re: just random thoughts

catmistake wrote:

Try getting the machine to boot with the Graphics card in the lower slot, then when you get your PATA card, make sure its both 66 MHz & 33 MHz 32-bit compatible. Try the PATA card in the 66MHz slot.
*snip*
Hmm... all this contingent on
1) whether the B&W boots with the graphics card in a lower slot

1. A B&W boots fine with the graphics card in one of the lower slots.

2. Putting an IDE card in the 66Mhz slot is pretty pointless. 33Mhz PCI slots are good for 133Mb/second. That's as fast as the *theoretical* transfer rate of ATA/133, and even if you could find a drive that could approach that speed a B&W or similar would be too slow to deal with it for other reasons.

--Peace

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Now I'm getting confused. I'v

Now I'm getting confused. I've got a 500mhz G4 upgraded B&W with an ATA133 controller and two supposedly ATA133-capable Maxtor drives. Is the ATA133 setup simply overkill? Would a slower ATA setup be just about as fast with the B&W's 100mhz bus?

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Re: just random thoughts

Quote:

1. A B&W boots fine with the graphics card in one of the lower slots.

excellent...

Quote:

2. Putting an IDE card in the 66Mhz slot is pretty pointless.

huh?

Quote:

33Mhz PCI slots are good for 133Mb/second. That's as fast as the *theoretical* transfer rate of ATA/133,

yes the 33MHz slots are good for 133MB/s... shared across the 3 slots, so you'd likely never see 133MB/s from a single slot... but so what, I'm talking about the 66MHz slot

Quote:

and even if you could find a drive that could approach that speed

OK, here's one

Quote:

a B&W or similar would be too slow to deal with it for other reasons.

Do you mean the bus? Because if the other reasons are mostly the bus, that's what I'm saying too... maybe the other PCI bus, at 233MB/s peak transfer rates might be able to utilize the OWC card. Maybe you'd only see data rates of whatever... but its still gotta be twice as fast as the lower, slower, 33MHz bus, right?

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Re: just random thoughts

catmistake wrote:
Quote:

2. Putting an IDE card in the 66Mhz slot is pretty pointless.

huh?

It's pointless because for all practical purposes a 33Mhz slot is fast enough. A B&W is an eight year old desktop computer. Let's be honest, here.

Quote:
Quote:

33Mhz PCI slots are good for 133Mb/second. That's as fast as the *theoretical* transfer rate of ATA/133,

yes the 33MHz slots are good for 133MB/s... shared across the 3 slots, so you'd likely never see 133MB/s from a single slot... but so what, I'm talking about the 66MHz slot

The way the B&W is set up basically means 266MB/sec is split across *all* the slots. (A 66Mhz/33 bit wide bus on the Grackle is divided between the 66Mhz slot and a PCI bridge which converts to 33Mhzx64 bits wide for the other slots. *If* you could find a PCI card and disk subsystem which was actually fast enough to peg the 66Mhz slot then all your computer could do with it is read a chunk of disk into RAM. That's all. No touching the ethernet ports, video display, nothing.

Sort of sounds like the B&W isn't really fast enough to bother with a card that fast, doesn't it? Not to worry...

Quote:
Quote:

and even if you could find a drive that could approach that speed

OK, here's one

If that drive can sustain data transfer rates of 3 gigabits/sec (about 375MB/sec) then I'll eat my hat. You might be able to read the cache at some fraction of that, but for real sequential reads if it can even beat 133MB/sec I'd be very, very impressed. A quick and dirty benchmark on the Dell PowerEdge 2950 with a six 10,000 RPM disk SAS hardware RAID 10 setup I'm playing with shows it sustaining "only" about 240MB/sec. That's a $8000 64 bit Core 2 architecture Xeon server, for heaven's sake. Good luck touching that figure with a B&W no matter what slot you stick your controller card in.

For the record, this review says the maximum sequential read performance for that series drives is about 78MB/sec. The very fastest 15,000 RPM SCSI drives can just top about 130MB/sec. Are you *really* planning on buying $1400 hard drives for your Blue and White? If so, you'll still need a pair of them striped to substantially oversubscribe a 33Mhz 32 bit controller.

Quote:
Quote:

a B&W or similar would be too slow to deal with it for other reasons.

Do you mean the bus? Because if the other reasons are mostly the bus, that's what I'm saying too... maybe the other PCI bus, at 233MB/s peak transfer rates might be able to utilize the OWC card. Maybe you'd only see data rates of whatever... but its still gotta be twice as fast as the lower, slower, 33MHz bus, right?

Seriously, I just can't fathom anything you could run on B&W which would benefit from a hard disk subsystem which could sustain speeds faster then could be served by the 33Mhz PCI bus. Anything that could remotely require that sort of performance (HD video editing, maybe?) would need a faster CPU (and almost certainly faster/wider memory and system busses) to *do* anything with the data.

--Peace

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Re: just random thoughts

Thanks for explaining. You rule, as always.

To boil down the what if, then, is to realize the 233MB/s theoretical throughput is shared among all the other slots... (I didn't realize that, I thought the 66 slot had its own controller). So, one way to put it, is that the remainder of whatever else the other slots is eating up is what the 66 slot has left afa bus bandwidth. I have no idea how much bandwidth an old cheesy graphics card uses, but if its in a 33 slot and the other 2 longer slots are empty, the lion's share of bandwidth should be available to the 66 slot, right?

I realize there's other bottlenecks... and I have no idea how fast the disk access is off any pci card. You're leading me to believe that (in a B&W) a PATA card is going to be just as fast as a SATA card, regardless of slot. How fast is that really? Does it hit 50MB/s? 40MB/s?

If there is some performance gain (better read/write access) by using the 66Mhz slot, seems to me, that'd be the point. (Forget about the processor doing anything with the data other than moving it around; the only thing you'd be "running" is the OS.)

But you're pretty sure definately not, then?

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Part of the speed will be the

Part of the speed will be the drives used. In actual sustained bandwidth nearly any drive on its own won't saturate ATA100. Sure, they might peak once in a while but that won't happen enough to be of notice or use for practical purposes. In a benchmark or real use, most people wouldn't notice a 20% gain in drive speed. If your software took 5 seconds to load and then it hit 4 seconds, did you really gain anything useful? If you spent 1 second longer in deciding to launch the program in the first place the speed gain is nullfied... Wink

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catmistake's picture
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Re: Part of the speed will be the

OK, now were getting to reality...

Is there a noticable speed difference between the on board ATA/33 bus (33MB/s) and using a PCI card drive adapter?

Regardless of how fast your drives are and the theoretical max through-put of your drives... it all comes down to how fast the processor/memory in a B&W can move data through the bus and do something with it. How fast is that? Looks like 70MB/s is the outside max with an ideal drive and computer, so what is it really on a B&W? How fast is the friggen' onboard firewire? Can it get close to saturating the theoretical max of 50MB/s? Does a usb 2.0 PCI card in a B&W really get 480Mbps?

I guess what I'd like to know... those of you that have ATA PCI cards and fast drives, is what is your performance gain on a B&W over the on board ATA?

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I've got a PC ATA133 card, bu

I've got a PC ATA133 card, but no Mac version. Otherwise I'd be glad to drop one in my B&W and give you some numbers. I do think it ran a bit faster on the AHA-2940U2B/Mac card with a 9.1GB 'cuda 18XL U160 drive than a 20GB ST320014A U100 drive on the internal ATA...

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coius's picture
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also don't forget disc size

the Main problems that are keeping an IDE interface from reaching it's full potential, is that it is not a constant stream. The size of the disk allows you to read more at one time (higher density under the head) and the seek time plays a MAJOR role when changing tracks on the drive.
I will be putting a 160 and an 80 in this system, and on my PC have seen ~ 40-60MB/s Data rate with a Peak of 85MB at burst. And the burst is rare. Usually i would say maybe once every 45 minutes to an hour. At least from what my drives do. Also, cache speed has a factor in it. If the data is cached, and it can't empty fast enough, it affects the speed of transfer from cached data.

Even ram has burst limits. So, if anything, if a drive can't access fast enough, I would say it would be more of a Logic Board on the drive that is the problem. The data is going under the head fast enough, it's the board interface and how it enterprets the data on the platters that is the bottleneck.

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Ok, so how do you measure all

Ok, so how do you measure all these speeds? How are you getting these numbers? What's the program?

It's been so long since I depended on the onboard ATA bus on the B&W I can't remember exactly, but I know it felt sluggish and I sensed a definite improvement when I moved to controller cards, my Adaptec 29160 SCSI cards with matching harddrives the obvious winners. I'm on the ATA133 mainly now simply because the spinning up and down of the SCSI drives was a real annoyance, but you could definitely see the speed of those wonderful seek times with the SCSI.

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Price Check on ATA Controller Cards for Macs

The Acard 6280M for the Macintosh at Newegg is $55 new with warranty. With shipping it's about $61. I've been very pleased with the compatibility of Acard's ATA adapters.

Some of the SIIG adapters do not have OS 9.x support so watch that if it matters to you. I think that may only be their SATA adapters, but I have not checked exhaustively.

One thing to watch on ATA/66 adapters is that most (all?) do not have support for drives larger 137GB. With 400 GB drives selling for $110 and 500 GB drives selling for $140 this is an important consideration.

Some of the ATA-100 adapters have large drive support and others don't so that's a case-by-case issue. The newer ATA-133 adapters all seem to have large drive support.

For a really cheap ATA-66 adapter and assuming your time is worth little and that you have the necessary tools, a converted Promise UltraTek/66 card is probably the cheapest thing going. If you can't get someone to pay you to take it off their hands, they can often be found for $5 or less. Moving the necessary resistors is not hard, but removing the 32 pin Flash chip non-destructively and erasing it is a bit more challenging. Smile

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The ATA133 card I have is a M

The ATA133 card I have is a Maxtor OEM with only a Promise PDC20269 chip. I kinda thought about getting it to work on a mac, but htere is no separate BIOS/flash chip so I don't think it would work easily.

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More randomness

No benefits whatsoever of dropping an IDE card into the 66mhz PCI slot - 33MHz card in there will cause the slot to run at 33. Likewise, putting a 66 card in a 33 slot (does this actually work?) will cause it to run at 33.

Processor - IDE relies on the main CPU to do anything - one reason it's slow. Another reason is this: Only one device at a time can run a command at any one time - (a read must complete before a write will start, for example). Yet another is this... how many IDE drives do you know spin at 10k or 15k RPM....fastest I know of is 7200.

Best thing to stick in the 66 PCI slot, is an Adaptec(Powerdomain) 320mb Wide SCSI card...

SCSI will do everything at once - and not even touch the processor - it has its own to rely on for that.

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So, given the choice between

So, given the choice between a fast SCSI card and a fast video card, you would choose to put the SCSI in the 66 slot and the video in the 33?

I'm interpreting the overall message of this thread so far as saying that no matter what speed of ATA controller card over 33mhz that you put in the B&W, there's not going to be any genuinely significant speed increase over the onboard ATA bus. The only real benefit from a controller card is that it takes some of the work off the B&W's CPU. Is this right? And this would apply to the G4 towers that followed also? How fast were the PCI slots in the AGP G4's?

Does the one device at a time thing apply to SATA too?

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Re: So, given the choice between

Hawaii Cruiser wrote:

How fast were the PCI slots in the AGP G4's?

33Mhz 64bit.
/me does not like the performance hit he took when moving his 64MB Radeon 7000 PCI from his B&W G3's 66Mhz PCI slot to his AGP G4's 33Mhz PCI slot. Sad

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coius's picture
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66Mhz Slot Moot

since the card maxes out at 133MB/s, I hardly doubt the drives will hit that. SATA Drives may max out at the 90MB/s range, but rarely. Drives right now just aren't fast enough. Plus the fact that it is PCI, means it has to fight for the Bus bandwith, no matter if it is 66Mhz or 33Mhz. They are pretty much all connected to the same bus.
As far as Cards, this is low on my list of priorities. unless someone drops it on my door for the price of shipping, i don't have time/nor money to hunt down a card for this.
Business isn't like it used to be, and my business is turning into more of a Hobby. And with CompUSA closing stores here, it's hard to get IT Jobs with Apple Cert, or Even Use A+ (Best buy is an ABSOLUTE last place I want to work. They treat their employees like dirt here) So I have been hunting down a Job, and am running out of cash. I will be closing up the home business soon and leave it at that. SO right now, my sole purpose is to get a Job.

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Truth or snake oil?

Sorry to hear about your present challenges, Coius. Hopefully, one day you'll be one of those guys who will say it was the best thing that ever happened to you.

Have you seen this thing? It's the big rage/hype of the human potential movement at the moment:

[url]http://www.thesecretstory.com/Watch_The_Secret_(Orginal_Edition).html[/url]

I watched it once. The jury's out for me. Is it a concept with merit or just snake oil? A lot you've heard before, but it's in a really well made package with this one. The makers are making a fortune. Might give you a plan of attack for your new career, though. If anything, it's got some really good reminders. It's just the people who start talking about the parking space thing who definitely register major BS in my mind. The rest of it, well...

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Re: Truth or snake oil?

Have you seen this thing? It's the big rage/hype of the human potential movement at the moment:

[url wrote:

http://www.thesecretstory.com/Watch_The_Secret_(Orginal_Edition).html[/url]

I watched it once. The jury's out for me. Is it a concept with merit or just snake oil? A lot you've heard before, but it's in a really well made package with this one. The makers are making a fortune. Might give you a plan of attack for your new career, though. If anything, it's got some really good reminders. It's just the people who start talking about the parking space thing who definitely register major BS in my mind. The rest of it, well...

I've seen some of that recently somewhere else. Seems like obsessive positive thinking....

But the real secret is.......

Selling the idea and getting rich !

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