By Patrick Norton
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The future of IDE is not IDE. It's serial ATA. On today's show, I'll talk about the future of IDE -- err, serial ATA.
Things you should know about serial ATA:
Promises a 150 megabytes per second maximum throughput in the near future, and up to 300 and 600 megabytes per second in the future.
Has smaller plugs, thinner cables, and a new power connector. They'll take up less space, run longer distances, and won't be as miserable as ribbon cables to install.
It can auto-configure. No setting jumpers to install drives. No more master and slave settings.
Promises to be backwards compatible with your IDE drives with the proper adapters.
Should you buy it now?
Motherboards with serial ATA and PCI serial ATA adapters are shipping now. We had a chance to play with a HD set up for serial ATA.
PCI's current maximum throughput is listed at 133 megabytes per second, so PCI already restricts serial ATA's listed 150 megabytes per second maximum throughput. In the real world, our testing got about 85 megabytes per second (it's not like hard drives hit 133 that often, anyhow).
A future tech? Yeah, especially when it goes to 300 and 600 megabytes per second. You'll need next-generation chipsets on your motherboard that incorporate hypertransport or PCI-X.
You'll also need much faster sustained read and writes from the drives if you want to gain any benefit from all that extra bandwidth. Otherwise, you're feeding a sewer pipe with a thimble.