KarbosGuide.com. Module 5b2a.

About the EIDE interface - continued

The contents:

  • The EIDE cable
  • Problems with assigning two EIDE harddisks
  • The Promise FastTrack EIDE controller
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  • The EIDE cable

    Here you see a typical EIDE cable:

    These cables are diffficult to handle, if you want to make a nice PC. The are so big, that they disturb the air circulation and hence the cooling inside the PC cabinet.

    Since each channel can handle two units, there are two of these connectors on the system board. Note the blind hole in top center. Note also the stripe (it is red) in the far right edge of the cable. It tells you that lead number one is on this edge. Both of these features help prevent incorrect installation of the cable.

    Using primary and secondary channels

    The system board has sockets for two EIDE cables. Each EIDE cable (primary and secondary) has sockets for two units (master and slave).

    Settting up four units

    If we have to use all four connections, it causes some problems. The setup may look like this:

    Primary, master Hard disk 1
    Primary, slave Hard disk 2 or CD-ROM
    Secondary, master CD-RW DVD drive
    Secondary, slave ZIP/LS120 diskette drive

    Typically, a PC has two EIDE units connected: the hard disk and the CDROM drive. However, as you can see, other units can be connected as well. The hard disk must must be on the primary EIDE channel. On some system boards, this has the greatest transfer capacity.

    Using two EIDE harddisk

    In the table above I indicate that it is not good to assign two harddisks to the primary channel. They should be assigned to the masters of the primary and the secondary channel.

    This is due to the fact, that the two main controllers (primary and secondary) are capable of multitasking. The two channels can process data simultaneously and independently, at the same time.

    The two sub-channels (slave and master) do not multitask; here only one operation is processed at the time, be it on the master or on the slave channel.

    Single or multitask?

    So for best performance, the two harddisk have to be assigned one at the primary EIDE channel and the other at the secondary EIDE channel. This leaves us with the problem of the CD-ROM drives, which also have to be placed on EIDE channels.

    My conclusion is that if you have to use two EIDE harddisks (and many of us do), the motherboard should be enhanced with further EIDE channels. Please continue the reading...

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    To learn more

    Read more the boot process and system bus in Module 2b

    Read about file systems in module 6a

    Read about I/O buses in module 2c

    Read about the motherboard chip set in module 2d

    Read about RAM in module 2e

    Read Module 5c about SCSI, USB etc.

    Read module 7a about monitors, and 7b on graphics card.

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    Copyright (c) 1996-2005 by Michael B. Karbo. www.karbosguide.com.