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A few days back someone recomended buying a ATA 133 CARD for a nice speed jump.
I am just curios but when I look around, I see ATA 133 PCI cars for like 30 bucks to like 180..

Are ATA 133 PCI cards Universal or are there both MAC and PC ATA 133 Cards?
 

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If the card has a Mac OS X driver, it will work. Some of these cards will work without a driver - pure plug 'n' play. ;)
 

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The main cards for PCI Macs are made by ACARD, SIG and ATTO. The SIG card is identical to the ACARD card.

The ACARD 6280M is fully supported in all versions of OSX (ATA-133 dual channel). The SIG is usually the cheapest by about $5. For more info on these cards check out the xlr8yourmac website.

Someone who owns an ATTO card might be able to add something as far as native support in OSX goes.

As for speed boost, my experience is that the fastest ATA bus is the onboard bus on G4 PowerMacs. If you run xBench and get speeds on the order of 30MB/s; none of these standard PCI cards will significantly better that, even with a very fast drive.

Keep in mind there is a whole-system aspect to these drives and the card's performance. In theory, if all you do is read the numbers, an ATA-66 bus is faster than any ATA drive mechanism. In reality the whole input/output overhead affects overall speed.

That's why even PC motherboards now come with onboard IDE controllers; the PCI slot is slower (it's actually worse on PCs than Macs; each additional PCI card in a PC slows the whole bus down; on Macs there's no difference).

Moving my 7200RPM/8MB cache drive from the ATA-133 PCI card (around 32/MBs for the best result test in xBench) to the ATA-66 bus on the motherboard on my Quicksilver increased maximum transfer rate to the high 50's.

Maybe run xBench and see what your best transfer rate is; if its under 30~35MB/s then a PCI ATA-133 card may help.

Startup times will increase by 10 or 20 seconds if your boot volume (ie OSX system folder) is on the PCI bus.

Slower drives (eg 2MB cache) don't show much difference either way, but are still slightly faster on the Mac's built-in bus.

In that respect, you may be better of getting a fast 7200rpm drive with an 8MB cache instead of an add-on PCI card. For the same or a little more money, there is a big speed improvement.

The add-on cards do allow you to add more HD storage and under certain circumstances will be faster than adding a slave drive to the motherboard bus.

RAID cards are another matter, and can be quite speedy with appropriate drives attached. They generally cost at least twice as much as the standard ATA cards.

MacWorld Review: RAID

I know MacWorld did a review of the standard cards about 18 months ago, but their search seems to have gone stupid as far as finding that review.

You may want to look into the new Serial ATA cards and an appropriate drive; the drives themselves don't cost more than a standard (parallel) ATA drive but the cards might be a bit more. The G5 uses SATA (right now it's 150MB/s maximum, or SATA-150.

You will have to read reviews to see if they're really worth it; last time I checked (about 6 months ago) the SATA drives weren't any faster than regular ATA drives. That could be different now, I'm not sure.

Some others may have different experiences with PCI controller cards; check around. On my system (867 QuickSilver), they weren't any faster in real-world performance.

[ January 22, 2004, 03:04 PM: Message edited by: gordguide ]
 

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I think you meant decreased startup times not increased. :confused:

The real ticket is going raid - you'll see 110 megs per second with higher bursts.

But you need a box first boyo before the expensive toys :D
We carry the sig car and have been happy but not cheap. :(

Serial ata will hit 130 megs per second onthe 10K Raptors which you can now set up in a 140 gig array ( I have a 72 gig which is enough for the speed part ).

From the looks of the mechanism Seagate has taken a scsi mechanism and slapped a ata controller on it. The drives are much better built than the 7200 rpm units and quiet when running but do have some head noise when writing - the opne air design on the G5 sort of makes that inevitable but it's alow pitched rumble - not annoying.
We might see 15K Raptors sometime. :eek:
I'm pleased Seagate is going this route in building "better" drives not cheaper drives. :cool:
 

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Depending on the age of your machine though, a PCI card may not give you any tangible benefit at all.

Plugging a 150Mbps SATA card into a slow, 33 Mhz PCI slot can be a bit of a bottleneck.

MacDoc:
I think you meant decreased startup times not increased


Nope, increased times on the PCI bus. Decreased times if it is connected to the motherboard.

In simple terms, the connection is more direct on the motherboard.
 

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Hmmm yes, it does take longer to scan through the buses initially but I would suspect the overall boot speed to finder should still improve even if the start point is a bit delayed.

I might test that as we have a 900 G3 upgrade on a Blue in for evaluation.

Small price tho for the "all the time" additional i/o performance. :cool:
 
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