Mandatory Requirements to Enable Ultra-ATA

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In order for you to implement and utilize Ultra ATA technology (also referred to as Ultra DMA or Bus Mastering) your system must have all four of the following elements:

  1. Ultra ATA/33, Ultra ATA/66, or Ultra ATA/100 compatible chipset or host adapter.
    There must be an Ultra ATA/33, Ultra ATA/66, or Ultra ATA-100 compatible chipset on your system motherboard or an Ultra ATA/33, ATA/66, or ATA/100 PCI host adapter card (for legacy systems) must be installed. In the case where the logic resides on the motherboard, the operating system must be able to recognize and configure the chipset.

    For customers with systems containing Intel 430FX/VX/HX/TX and 440FX/LX/EX/BX/GX chipsets we recommend reading the following document located on Intel’s web site, which discusses bus-mastering issues in depth. This document discusses common system configuration issues related to the use of the Windows* 95/98 INF Update Utility for Intel® chipsets and the Intel Bus Master IDE driver for Windows 95. Note: The issues discussed in this guide are only relevant to systems using the Intel® chipsets and Windows 95 or the first release of Windows 98.

    If you are using Windows 98 Update or OEM, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows NT or Windows 2000 with systems containing Intel 430FX/VX/HX/TX, 440FX/LX/EX/BX/GX or I810; I810E; I810E2; I815; I815E; I815EM; I815EP; I815P; I820; I820E; I840 and I850 chipsets we recommend that you review the relevant Intel documents located here.

  2. Ultra ATA/33, Ultra ATA/66, or Ultra ATA/100 capable system BIOS.
    This is only a requirement when the Ultra ATA logic (chipset) is embedded directly on the motherboard. If an add-on Ultra ATA capable host adapter is being used, then this information will be supplied directly from the card.

  3. Ultra ATA/33, Ultra ATA/66, or Ultra ATA/100 device drivers.
    You will also need to have the necessary Ultra ATA/33, Ultra ATA/66, or Ultra ATA/100 device drivers installed for your particular operating system. Starting with Windows 98, Microsoft began including bus-mastering drivers for most of the popular Ultra ATA/33 chipsets, however, those drivers will not support Ultra ATA/66 or Ultra ATA/100.

    Please check with your system or motherboard manufacturer for the required device driver support for proper Ultra ATA operation (most manufacturers post their latest drivers on their web site). Manufacturers of Ultra ATA host adapters will typically include all the necessary software drivers with their PCI cards.

    Windows NT 4.0 natively supports bus mastering starting with Service Pack 3 and greater, however additional drivers may be necessary for the support of Ultra ATA/66 and Ultra ATA/100. Once again, the best practice is to always check directly with the system manufacturer for the latest available drivers.

  4. An Ultra ATA compatible hard drive or CD-ROM.
    The Ultra ATA protocol provides backward compatibility with previous ATA standards. Because of this feature, newer Ultra ATA drives can still be used in older systems that only support legacy ATA modes (i.e. PIO mode transfers). To take advantage of the higher-speed Ultra ATA protocol, users with legacy based equipment (Ultra-ATA 33) will need to use Ultra ATA66 or 100 PCI adapter card. We have these add-on cards available from Promise and Adaptec.
Special Note Regarding Cables for Ultra ATA/66 and Ultra ATA/100 Users:
The faster timing requirements of Ultra ATA/66 and ATA/100 require the use of an 80-conductor cable. This is necessary for proper operation of UDMA modes 3 and greater. The 80-conductor cable is used with the same connector configuration as the standard 40-conductor cable. The 40 additional conductors are used as ground paths and are all connected to the 7 original ground conductors. These additional ground conductors serve to improve the overall signal quality (signal-to-noise ratio) of the ATA cable. 80-conductor Ultra ATA cables are also limited to a maximum cable length of 18 inches.

Our sales department can provide Ultra ATA ribbon cables that are fully backward compatible for operation on all standard/legacy ATA devices and hosts. These cables will typically utilize the cable select (CS) configuration on ATA drives for defining a master or slave device (drive 0 or drive 1). The drive placement convention used on an 80-conductor cable is also different from the previous generation of cable select type cables. The 80-conductor Ultra ATA cables require the master drive (drive 0) to be installed at the end of the cable and the slave drive (drive 1) to be installed on the middle connector. The connectors on 80-conductor cables are also color-coded to help insure proper drive placement and attachment to the host (system). Typical color-coding is as follows: blue for attachment to the host (system), black is for device 0 (master) and gray is for device 1 (slave).

You may want to review this article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base for regarding Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) terms

Q262969 - 07/11/2000 - Definitions of Common Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) Terms

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