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Old 08-07-2006, 03:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default August 2006 News

Hello to all members! Here's some news from Tech-Forums. If you haven't been at the forum in awhile, we hope that the email you received and this thread may encourage you to visit again and start posting!


Folding@Home is a revolutionary project, created by Stanford University, designed to simulate the “folding” of proteins to expose faults in the folding process. The program is designed to run on modern personal computers, and has users all over the world. Users, who join teams formed by online forums, clubs, and other organizations, compete against each other to see who can get the most points by completing “work units”. Tech Forums has a team, which, after having been dormant for quite some time, is now springing back to life. We hope to greatly increase our folding output in the coming months, and we would love to have your help. Just download the client program from (works with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X), set your username and team number (12864), and let it go.

For more details, please see


Who can you trust? Well, who can you trust when buying stuff online? How can you tell who has a good track record, and who doesn't? These are questions that have needed answers here on Tech-Forums for quite a while. While there have been some attempts, both by members and the staff, none have proven to be a workable solution... until now.

HeatWare has been adopted/approved as a means for forum members to post feedback on who has turned good deals, as well as bad. Heatware accounts are free, as well. The whole system works a lot like buyer's feedback on eBay, and members can post a link to their Heatware standing in their sigs.

If you're a buyer or seller at our forum, please use Heatware to let others "know" about you.

Elbatrop1’s Guide to Hard Drives

Have you ever wondered what the difference between SATA and PATA is? This guide is intended to give a introduction to the more common types of hard drives and hard drive interfaces.

There are two major parts of a hard drive that work together to make it work. The first part is the interface that transfers data. The second part is on the inside, which actually stores the data.

Hard Drive Interfaces


The majority of new computers being built use a SATA interface. SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) transfers data serially to and from the hard drive. This means that there is only one bitstream and one bit being transmitted at a time. SATA cables are narrow and therefore allow better airflow through a computer case.

Current standards for SATA interfaces allow for a maximum data transfer of 150MBps (SATA-I) or 300MBps (SATA-II). SATA HDDs (Hard Disk Drive) get a dedicated IDE channel. This means that any other hard drives connected are not competing for bandwidth.

Also, SATA-II hard drives are backwards compatible with SATA cables, and motherboards. This is helpful, as more and more SATA hard drives are SATA-II, while less are available as only SATA.


Although most new computers are built with SATA HDDs, PATA HDDs are still very common. PATA may sometimes be called IDE or EIDE, which is somewhat a misnomer. In fact, SATA is a type of EIDE HDD as well. Another way to describe PATA HDDs is by saying that they have Ultra ATA/100 or Ultra ATA/133 interface. PATA uses ribbon cables to transfer data to and from the hard drive. Modern PATA drives use a 40-pin/80-conductor cable. The extra 40 conductors (wires) are used to reduce crosstalk that would otherwise hinder performance.

Although there are many different standards of PATA interfaces, the two most common are Ultra ATA/100 and Ultra ATA/133 which transfer data in parallel at 100MBps and 133MBps, respectively.

PATA HDDs can share the same IDE channel, and therefore share the same cable. This means that, unlike SATA, PATA drives share bandwidth with other PATA drives. Since these hard drives share a channel, one has to be set as a slave and the other as a master. Generally, the faster drive is set as the master to it’s peer on the same channel.

Other Interfaces

Although PATA and SATA make up the majority of HDDs, there are other interfaces available. SCSI supports very high bandwidth, and higher numbers of drives connected to a single channel. Hard drives can also be connected via USB and IEE1394 (Firewire).


It is commonplace to find someone who is pondering the different hard drive interfaces. Cost and performance are main concerns, while other concerns such as airflow are important to consider as well.


PATA, SATA, and SATA-II are currently comparable in prices. Firewire and USB hard drives are external and cost more due to the casing and supporting software, etc. SCSI hard drives are usually quite a bit more expensive than the previously mentioned.


For normal home use, all interfaces supply similar noticeable performance. SATA-II interfaces supply the most bandwidth out of the common three interfaces. Since it supplies more bandwidth, that is enough to make the best by far, right? Wrong! The extra bandwidth is not utilized to it’s full potential. Even 10000 rpm hard drives have around an average sustained transfer rate of 72 MB/s. That doesn’t even fill up the original SATA’s bandwidth. However, there is something to be said about burst traffic. Hard drives have very high-speed cache that can come closer to filling that bandwidth.

SATA-II also transfers data serially, which turns out to be more efficient than PATA, which transfers data in parallel. Why is serial more efficient? In serial transmission, one bit of data is transferred at a time. This makes it a lot easier for the controllers that send and receive data. Imagine trying to catch one ball at a time, or forty at a time. Since it is easier for the controllers to manage and sort out serial data, they can send it on its way faster and more efficiently.


There is not much comparison between the cables used in the different interfaces. SATA and SATA-II are much better as far as airflow is concerned. SATA cables are thin, whereas PATA cables are ribbon-cables, and can block airflow if not used carefully.

Other News

Zero Profanity Just in case you've missed the announcement, TF has gone to a zero profanity rule. We've added this rule to encourage use of the forum by any and all members in an non-offensive manner. Thanks to everyone for helping us make this a better place. See more here.

Off Topic Forum Yes, we've implemented some more changes there. There are still lots of things to talk about there, but there's some things that are just Off Limits in the Off Topic. See more here.

Thanks to everyone for their membership and use of the forum. And a big thanks to all the Mods and SMods! Be watching for some new Mods.

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