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  A Look at Maxtor's D740X, and ATA-133 
  Nov 08, 2001, 07:00am EST 

PCI Bus Loading

By: Dan Mepham

Another issue we need to bear in mind is that the PCI bus itself only provides a maximum of 133MB/s of bandwidth. With an older ATA-66, or even an ATA-100 drive, that hasnít been a big issue, because itís very unlikely that most users would be moving enough data though the bus to saturate it and cause bottlenecking.

With the ATA-133 specification, though, we now have the potential for a drive to burst bits of data at a full 133MB/s, which would completely saturate the bus by itself. If the drive were the only component connected to the bus, then there would be no problem. However, when we start adding in other components like sound cards, network cards, modems, and so on, weíre looking at a serious lack of bandwidth during heavy loading.

What this means is that we may not see the full potential of ATA-133 drives in some cases. For instance, suppose we were playing an MP3, and moving some files over a network. Those activities both require bandwidth, and that bandwidth is now pulled away from the hard drive. While weíre talking about a relatively small amount of bandwidth, and while itís doubtful that any end user would notice a difference when working in Word or Internet Explorer, itís clear that weíre approaching a wall with current ATA and PCI bus technology.

For that reason, amongst others, expect to see technologies like 3GIO, PCI-X, HyperTransport, and 64-bit/66MHz PCI trickle down into the desktop segment over the next couple years. These, combined with newer (Serial?) ATA standards, will provide increased bandwidth, and allow for higher speed drives, networking, and higher quality audio and video transfers.

1. Introduction
2. New Standards, Old Parallels
3. ATA-133, All Show, No Go?
4. PCI Bus Loading
5. Maxtor's DiamondMax Plus D740X
6. Test Setup & Procedure
7. Performance - Burst Transfer Rate
8. Performance - Access Time
9. Performance - Sequential Transfer Rates
10. Performance - IOMeter
11. Performance - SYSMark
12. Conclusion
13. Appendix A

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  Product Ratings 
Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X
Performance: 9/10
Quality: 8/10
Features: 10/10
Price: 6/10
Overall Rating: 9/10

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