ATA 100 vs. ATA 66 - My Opinion



I recently purchased and installed a Maxtor DiamondMax Plus [40] 30.7G Ultra ATA 100 (53073H6) HD on my machine.

Surprisingly, I did not notice any significant improvement in performance over my previous HD, which was a Maxtor D.Plus 13.6G (7200-ATA66) HD.
The only real noticable difference was the whisper quiet operation of the new drive. Eventually I learned about Maxtor's Acoustic Management and how it actually slows the HDD down to allow a quieter operation. AMSET, a Maxtor utility (, allows the end user to disable Acoustic Management so that the disk can perform as it was intended. The downside is that by disabling AM, it increases the disk noise. I, like many of you reading this, want performance and I really don't care about the slightly louder operation of the drive as a result of disabling Acoustic Management.

AMSET improved the benchmark results in Sisoft SANDRA. Average access time with A.M. disabled is now 8 ms. Access time was 10 ms prior to running the utility. If anyone wants me to post all info. that SANDRA outputs after the HD benchmark, I'd be happy to.

Anyway, my first upgrade (from 6.4G ATA33 to 13.6G-ATA66 HD) resulted in a remarkable difference in disk performance. A friend of mine agreed that it made a big difference in overall disk performance to his machine when he followed suit.

I assumed that the ATA100 HD would have an equally noticable impact on my machine, as did the 33 to 66. My motherboard was ATA100 ready so I was really looking forward to similar results. Wrong! What a disappointment. A colleague of mine said that he never noticed much of a difference when he upgraded to ATA100 either. So if you are thinking about an upgrade, I would advise that you stay with your ATA66 until you actually need more space and have to buy a new disk anyway.

Here are my system specs:

ASUS CUSL2 (UDMA MODE 5 - ATA100 M/Board - BIOS Rev. 1006)
P3 800EB
256MB PC133 SDRAM (1 x Micron running @ 2T,2T,2T / 7T,9T)
Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 30.7G ATA 100 HD
ASUS CD-S500 50x Max CD-ROM
Sony CD-RW CRX140E Burner (8x4x32)
SB Live! Platinum 5.1 Sound Card
Cambridge Soundworks DTT2200 Speakers
Canon N650U (USB) Scanner
Canon BJC6000 Parallel Printer
17" MAG Innovision 770T (Trinitron)
Voodoo 3 3000 PCI
@HOME Internet Conx.

-Latest drivers, BIOS, and software service packs (thx to Windrivers).

So there you have it. That's my two cents about ATA100. Save your money. I heard something about new disks coming out very soon which are 4x the speed of the fastest drives today. Anyone heard anything similar?



Jan 25, 2001
The difference you noted from the upgrade of the 6 gb to 15 Gb is due to the rotation speed of the drive (7200 rpm , the 15 gb! Don´t know about the 6 gb , but is surely way slower than 7200 , even slower than the 5400!)
The only difference you will notice from the ATA 100 drive is a slight increase of the transfer rate (not much! Read TOM´s review on hard-drives to know more about it!)

Better burn in Hell with some company than freeze in Heaven all alone


Dec 31, 2007
The only time that an ATA100 drive is faster than an ATA66 drive is in bursting (transfers from the hard drive's SDRAM cache). ATA100 drives usually burst in the 85MB/s range while ATA66 drives will burst at around 60 MB/s. If you think about it, even with a 2 MB cache, the bursting occurs for only a 30th of a second at most and then your drive has to rely on it's STR speed to transfer any more data. The max STR of the fastest IDE drives out there is about 37 or 38 MB/s or so, and don't even come close to maxing out even the ATA66 spec.

Basic idea here: If you have two 20 gig Maxtor (or whatever) drives at 7200 rpm, with one on an ATA100 controller, and one on an ATA66 controller, and try to load a 50 meg file, the ATA100 drive will do it about 1/30th of a second faster or so...

Why do I even try?
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
M Storage 6