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    Promise Ultra100 ATA100 Controller Review
    September 5th, 2000

    There are mixed messages when I mention hard drives to my peers. Of course there are the distinct advantages such as a lot of space to store your files and reasonable prices compared to flash memory or SmartMedia. Of course with advantages there are disadvantages such as the fact that the hard drive is one of the limiting factors or any computer system. Ever use a PocketPC? Programs jump up in one second, the thing boots up just as fast. Why? Instead of using a hard drive, they use flash memory. If our PC's used flash memory, we would be running Windows as fast as anything you've ever seen. But even through the relatively "slow" speeds of hard drives, nothing can compare to the capacity and reliability of some of the new ones floating around. Since the only disadvantage hard drives have over the competition is the slow transfer speeds. Quantum in their all consuming knowledge has just revised the ATA/66 protocol and gave it a spitshine, upping it to the new ATA/100 protocol, theorhetically making it possible for today's IDE hard drives to transfer burst data at up to 100Mbps, pretty fast. In a few weeks, I'll write a detailed article on the ATA/100, 66, and 33 interfaces so I wont go into detail on the history on this review. The ATA protocol is reserved for IDE devices and the protocol itself was blueprinted by Quantum, licensing it to various hard drive manufacturers to spread the wealth. Promise is one of the most well-known and respected makers of controller cards for both IDE and SCSI. Its Ultra line are controller cards while the FastTrak cards are for IDE RAID configurations. The Promise card we are reviewing today is the Ultra100 IDE ATA/100 card for older ATA/66 and 33 only motherboards.

    As the new wave of motherboards hit the market with native ATA/100 support, people with the older BX chipset and older Via chipsets will be out in the cold without a blanket if it wasn't for Promise and their controller cards. They allow us to use ATA/100 drives at full 100 spec through the PCI bus.

    Quick Specs
    • Controller/cable combination to support 100MB/sec burst data transfers of Ultra ATA/100 drives
    • Bundles FREE Ultra ATA/100 cable for higher speed and better signal integrity
    • Backward compatibility supports Ultra ATA/66, Ultra ATA/33, EIDE, Fast ATA-2, and ATAPI devices
    • Separate device timing per port allows running drives or devices at their highest rated speeds
    • Onboard flash upgrade capability
    • 2-year warranty

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    Article Navigation
    1. Introduction/Quick Specs
    2. Advantages/The Card/Installation
    3. Benchmarks
    4. Pros & Cons/Conclusion
    Article Info
    Author: Chris Oh
    Company: Promise Technology
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