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  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger
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    New Drive Question

    I'm embarrassed that I can't find the answer to this on my own, so here I am. I just installed a second hard drive in my fairly new Dell, in preparation for the arrival of Vista. I bought a Hitachi 250 GB drive (Hitachi DeskStar T7K250) and didn't have any trouble installing and formatting the drive. The trouble is that this is a SATA-II drive and my Dell BIOS reports its transfer speed at 1.5 Gbs compared to the original drive in the machine, which the BIOS reports as 3.0 Gbs. I remembered seeing something, somewhere on the web but it wasn't about Hitachi, that spoke of the need to REMOVE a jumper in order to get the top rated speed of the drive. I've looked and looked and don't see any jumpers on the device at all. I've been to the Hitachi site and don't find anything helpful. Do any of you know anything about this drive that might lead me in the right direction?

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    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: New Drive Question

    Look here at section 8
    Jerry

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: New Drive Question

    Evidently Hitachi's document system is a little messy. That's the file for the Ultra ATA (IDE) model. The URL caught my eye for it says D7K250. Here's the doc for the correct SATA model: D7K250S_ig.pdf (Note the "S" after the model.) Anyways, no jumpers to set that I can see either in the doc or physically. I'll keep searching though. The drive is working OK and took a long time to format!

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    Re: New Drive Question

    Al,

    Are both drives connected to the motherboard? Do you have the latest BIOS update? Have you tried the dell support forums? I did see one comment about the disk drive on-board cache being turned off. Have you checked what About SIW - System Information for Windows says about the drive?

    Joe
    Joe

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: New Drive Question

    Thanks for the words, Joe. Yes, both drives are connected to the board, although I learned a little something in that area too. Since I had never done an SATA drive before, I ordered two data cables from CyberGuys - a 180/180 and a 180/90. The 90 degree end was to plug into the drive and the 180 degree into the board. Trouble is the 90 end was "pointing" the wrong way, given the orientation of the connector. But the 180/180 worked out OK.

    I have been looking at the Dell forums and still am. I also have an email support request in to them to see if they recommend flashing the BIOS. There IS an update from October 2006. So, I'm waiting... Don't want to tangle with a BIOS update if I don't need to.

    At your suggestion (I always forget about SIW) I ran it and it says the drive is SATA, not SATA II as advertised by Buy.Com when I bought it. And it IS capable of getting the info, for it does report my original drive as SATA II. What I don't know is whether it gets that info from the BIOS or the drive itself. When I went to the Hitachi documents page, I noticed a "specification" file I'm gonna go back and read. I may have bought a pig-in-a-poke here for all I know. On the other hand, maybe 1.5Gbps isn't bad, but I'd sure rather have 3.0 if I can get it.

  6. #6
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: New Drive Question

    Al

    I suspect that if you do the maths (an interesting but brief exercise) on the number of bytes per track and the rotation speed of the drive that you would find that the maximum data transfer rate is way below 1.5 Gbps. (That's without any cacheing effects, of course!).

    What figure do you get, out of interest?

    John
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: New Drive Question

    No John, I haven't done any computations and I don't think I'll bother, for what I think we have here is another case of "what you see ain't necessarily what you get!" (in other words slight of marketing-hand)

    Of course, I can always return the drive to Buy.Com and be a bit more careful in my followup purchase. But I don't know yet if I'll do that. The reason I'm "unsure" what to do is that I don't know if an average user can really tell the difference between a (rated) 3.0 vs 1.5 Gbps drive, in the real world of loading and saving files or programs...

    When I returned from "work" a short time ago, I found a tech support reply email from Dell. Pretty quick, huh? Well, Rajat directed me to a web site that tells me how to access Device Manager to look at or set the DMA or PIO mode of a drive. The site he sent me to was concentrating on CD drives, but the result was the same: no help to me for I already know how to do that. He obviously didn't read my request at all, for I asked about a BIOS update, and there is one, but he never mentioned it in his reply. So, I'm left not knowing what the difference between Dell's A04 and A06 BIOS level is.

    Here's the interesting thing. Further "reading" on the web tells me that manufacturers of drives of the SATA II variety <big>MAY</big> incorporate 3.0 Gbps transfer rates! Aha, the worm turns. Buyer Beware! In my case, the final straw is that the specification document I mentioned in my previous post CLEARLY says that this drive is rated at 1.5 Gbps. So, like it or not, Hitachi didn't muddy up this water, I did by my (possibly) clouded understanding of what SATA II is.

    That's my day and I'm sticking to it...

  8. #8
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: New Drive Question

    I started to edit my previous post to add this stuff but decided it might be better to make another post. One of the MANY links I found in Googling was this: Serial ATA. Evidently I'm not alone in the misunderstanding of what "SATA II" really means. And, in light of what you said about doing the math, John, I still haven't done so because I know you're correct. Probably the biggest example is the "rated" gas mileage of automobiles here in the USA put forth by the so-called standards gurus of that business.

    Anyway, last night I was doing my weekly backup imaging of my C: drive and I decided to do a little "non-scientific" comparison. I first ran TrueImage to backup the 23 gigabytes on my C: drive and send it to one of my two external USB drives. As usual, that process took about <big>19 minutes</big>. It has grown as the drive has added data, from the original 12-15 minutes.

    I then ran the same backup again, this time choosing the internal D: drive in question in this thread. This time the backup took about <big>NINE minutes</big>. Now from a perception standpoint (not scientific!) who could complain about that? Speed ratings of 3.0 vs 1.5 be darned I think I'll keep the drive and when Vista arrives on the scene, she'll be installed on that drive for whatever it's worth.

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