Promise ultra ata 66: The Specification — Promise Ultra 66

6001089 ULTRA ATA 66 | Promise Ultra 66 Pci Controller Card R.1

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Promise Ultra 66 Pci Controller Card R.1

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Item Description

Promise Technology Ultra ATA 66 PCI Controller Card Adapter Revision 1. The Ultra66 controller card provides two IDE hard disk connectors that support synchronous Ultra advanced technology attachment (ATA)/66 protocols. Ultra66 installs into any available 32-bit peripheral component interconnect (PCI) slot on the motherboard. Each of the two IDE connectors support a master and slave combination of hard disks. The connectors are compatible with all IDE hard disks, including IDE, enhanced IDE (EIDE), and Fast-ATA-2 standards. Hard disks of different standards can be connected to Ultra66 without performance degradation due to the independent programmable timing registers in the controller’s design.

Features & Specifications:

Compatible Part Numbers: 6001089 9000934

IDE Interface:

  • Is compatible with the latest peripheral component interconnect (PCI) IDE, advanced technology attachment (ATA)-4, ATAPI and enhanced IDE specification. Primary and secondary build in a single chip, four hard disks supported totally.
  • Supports ATA and ATAPI proposal PIO Mode 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, DMA Mode 0, 1, 2 and Ultra DMA Mode 0, 1, 2, 3, 4. The IDE drive transfer rate is capable of transferring up to 66 megabytes per second (MB/Sec) each channel.
  • Automatically detects whether the cable is suitable for Ultra DMA mode 3 and 4 or not.
  • Supports four individual access timing and protocol for four drives attached to IDE bus.
  • Has programmable active pulse and recovery time of the read/write command for data access timing.
  • Has independent access timing for command block register and data register.
  • Supports the options to disable or enable each of the primary or secondary channels, using hardware strap and software programming.

PCI Interface:

  • Complies with PCI Local Bus Specification Revision 2.1.
  • Supports 32-bit PCI bus master with zero wait burst protocol, up to 33 megahertz (MHz) bus speed and 132 megabytes per second (MB/sec) sustained transfer rate.
  • Has latency timer control.
  • Supports full set of configuration headers, selectable legacy or native mode complying with the peripheral component interconnect (PCI) IDE Controller Specification Revision 1.0; it can easily implement the plug and play BIOS feature.
  • Allows PCI computer to relocate IDE drive registers with an option available to disable the relocation when legacy mode is used.


  • Single chip advanced technology attachment (ATA)/ATAPI controller implementation for easy integration onto the motherboard and for using less board space in add-on card.
  • Bus mastering design takes full advantage of multi-tasking, multi-threading operating system and greatly improves performance.
  • Provide a Scatter/Gather DMA mechanism that complies with Revision 1.0 of the Programming Interface for Bus Master IDE Controller.
  • Scatter/Gather mechanism further supports both DMA and PIO IDE drives and ATAPI devices. Allows byte-boundary memory region allocation to support all existing operating systems (OS) and application software and future software.
  • Dual independent data paths with read ahead and write posting first-in-first-out (FIFO) supported for dual IDE channel to balance bus loading and optimal performance.
  • Supports flash memory interface, easy to update BIOS.
  • Sustained transfer rates up to 66 megabytes per second (MB/sec)
  • 133MB/sec burst transfer rates through the PCI bus
  • cyclical redundancy check (CRC) checking with Ultra ATA/66 hard disks
  • Dual channel peripheral component interconnect (PCI) IDE bus master controller
  • Plug and Play compatibility
  • Coexists with IDE/ATAPI controllers
  • Logical block addressing (LBA) translation BIOS supports Extended Int13 for hard disks larger than 8.4 gigabyte

Technical Specifications:

Bus Platform peripheral component interconnect (PCI)
Data Transfer Rates Capable of 66 megabytes per second (MBs/sec)
Drives Supported Ultra advanced technology attachment (ATA)
Drive Modes Ultra DMA 4/3/2/1/0 PIO 4/3/2/1/0/ DMA 2/1/0
Drive Control Separate timing controls for each drive
Host Interface 33 megahertz (MHz) bus speed
Logical block addressing
Automatically identifies and configures drive type, EIDE or Ultra-DMA; auto-detects and supports Ultra Mode transfers
External BIOS support Yes
Operating Systems Compatibility MS-DOS 5. x, Windows 3.x, Windows 9x, Windows 95 OSR2, Windows NT 3.1x/4.x


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ABIT Hot Rod 66 ATA-66 Controller

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Abstract: A couple of years ago the newest greatest IDE standard was first introduced. The ATA-33. Although we were promised great gains in performance preliminary performance…
 82% Rating:   

Table of Contents

Filed under: Hard Drives/SSD Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website:
Mar 02 2000   D. Dee  

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ABIT Hot Rod 66

ABIT Hot Rod 66 ATA-66 Controller

A couple of years ago the newest greatest IDE standard was first introduced. The ATA-33. Although we were promised great gains in performance preliminary performance testing showed very little or no advantage over Mode 4 EIDE hard drive rigs. But as time went on, manufacturers found ways to harness the advantage of ATA-33 to its fullest extend. We see the same thing today. ATA-66 promises the world. But can it deliver yet?

First there was Promise Technology with their introduction of the Ultra ATA-66 controller. In fact the Promise technology offering was so popular they shipped approximately 1/4 of a million units. Pretty impressive. Now ABIT is in the game trying to steal some of the thunder away from Promise Technology with their Hot Rod 66 ATA-66 controller. Unfortunately, in this review I’m not going to concentrate on which one is the best card for your ATA-66 needs, but whether or not an ATA-66 controller is worth your hard earned money.

Specs,Impressions,The Package, Installation

The ABIT Hot-Rod 66 is a PCI based ATA-66 controller. It boasts the ever so popular High Point Technologies HPT366 ATA-66 controller. It features two IDE channels for a total capacity of for IDE devices. Each ATA-66 channel is backwards compatible for older legacy IDE devices. The Hot-Rod 66 package consists of the controller, an ATA-66 80 conductor IDE cable, a drivers floppy disk and an installation manual. While the manual is not of the caliper of the usual ABIT manuals, at the same time it is adequately informative to get the job done.

Installing the Hot Rod 66 is as simple as finding an empty PCI slot and sticking it in. At boot-up the Hot Rod 66 controller auto detects any IDE devices attached to it, and automatically sets the proper mode. Once you boot into Windows 95/98 the operating system pops the «Found New Hardware» wizard and prompts you to insert your drivers disk. Simple as that.

While the installation is very simple and pretty much automatic, it makes me wish for more user control. Imagine this not so far fetched scenario. You are overclocking like a madman using ungodly bus speeds, and you decide to stick the Hot Rod 66 in your system in your never ending quest for more performance. You immediately find that your hard drive cannot handle your bus speed. What are you to do? You can’t adjust your PIO modes cause the Hot Rod 66 doesn’t give you that kind of control. In other words, you are simply up creek without a paddle. That’s something to think about for all you overclocking freaks out there. This simply puzzles me coming from a company who caters to the overclocking crowd.

SCSI controllers usually have an option to get into
their BIOS to adjust settings. Granted, there are a lot more options to be set
in a SCSI controller, but the option should definitely be there. I did run into
some issues trying to run the controller in a BE6 motherboard with all of its
controllers enabled. Of course, my configuration is not common, and plugging it
in a «normal» motherboard should present no issues.

© 2022

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Contents of Article: ABIT Hot Rod 66

 Pg 1.  
— ABIT Hot Rod 66 ATA-66 Controller
 Pg 2. 

Features And Specs
 Pg 3. 

High-End Disk Winmark
 Pg 4. 



Ultra ATA/66 — Breaking Speed ​​Barriers Again

The Evolution of the


Ultra ATA/66 is the latest in IDE data transfer standards and, like the interface itself, is an inexpensive way to connect hard drives while still allowing high transfer speeds data. Like its predecessor Ultra ATA/33, it was proposed by Quantum and accepted by most manufacturers of drives and chipsets. Also known as Ultra DMA/66. Compared to Ultra ATA/33, Ultra ATA/66 doubles the data transfer rate limit between the hard disk cache buffer and the system bus — up to 66.6 MB/s, against 33.3 MB/s for Ultra DMA/33. Despite the fact that the limitations on the speed of disks are imposed primarily by their mechanical characteristics and the technology of manufacturing components, the task of electronics and data transfer protocol developers is to prevent the peak values ​​of the internal data transfer rate between working surfaces from approaching through the heads to the internal cache of disks. with the limitations of silicon. With twice the headroom, Ultra ATA/66 guarantees, even more so than Ultra ATA/33, that disk and motherboard electronics will not be a bottleneck in data transfer, and especially in sequential read and write operations. In addition, Ultra ATA/66 provides data integrity, which is important for the EIDE interface, the disadvantage of which is poor noise immunity. For this, additional shielding is introduced, using a 40-pin 80-wire cable and error checking using a cyclic redundant CRC code (Cyclic Redundancy Check). In addition to the usual 40 signal and ground lines, another 40 ground lines reduce interference and improve signal quality. The connector is pin-compatible with existing 40-pin wiring, minimizing the extra cost of a new type of cable. nine0005

The previous Ultra ATA/66 data transfer protocol Ultra ATA/33 guarantees data streams with a maximum peak speed of 33.3 MB/s. In turn, before the advent of Ultra ATA / 33, its role was played by data transfer standards with the participation of the PIO Mode 4 central processor and packet packets with direct access to the DMA Mode 2 system memory with a maximum speed of 16. 6 MB / s. Ultra ATA/66 is twice the capabilities of Ultra ATA/33 and four times the capabilities of PIO Mode 4/DMA Mode 2. The development of the interface capabilities occurs at the signal level, by changing the specification for following data to the clock pulses. With the change in the mechanical parameters of modern hard drives, their rotation speeds, the improvement of head suspensions, the change in their type, material, and technology for applying a magnetic layer to the working surfaces of disks, the internal data transfer rate has noticeably increased, and will continue to grow further, more and more approaching the limits, set by the interface of the disk with the system bus. Ultra ATA/66 reasonably matches the effective transfer rate on the system bus with the internal speed of the drives. The new protocol makes it possible to guarantee a higher bus bandwidth, which is especially important for the modes of continuous serial data transfer typical for audio / video applications. nine0005

The data transfer rate to and from the system bus must exceed the internal speed of the surface, otherwise performance drops — additional drive revolutions are required to empty the buffer when reading from the surface and fill it when writing. You can fight this by increasing the size of the disk cache buffer or by increasing the efficiency of its exchanges with the system bus. The first method is associated with the use of expensive memory and contradicts the very purpose of IDE disks, manufacturers do their best to minimize the size of the cache. The graph below reflects the upward trend in the internal data rate, confirming the need to increase the interface rate. It follows that Ultra ATA/33 limits will be reached in the second half of 1999 years, which means the time for Ultra ATA/66 has come.

The graph confirms that the interface data rate is doubling every three years. Ultra ATA/66 will become obsolete somewhere by 2002. Previous milestones experienced by the industry were related to implementation:

  • PIO Mode 4 and DMA Mode 2, 16. 6 MB/s in 1994
  • Ultra ATA/33, 33.3 MB/s in 1997
  • Ultra ATA/66, 66.6 MB /s in 1999

Continued increase in the capacity of disks and their rotation speeds, their internal speeds also continue to grow. Transferring large files, especially those written sequentially to disk, is especially sensitive to interface capabilities. With sequential reads, the disk, due to its high internal speed, can fill the buffer faster than the system reads data from it. The performance of the disk subsystem most often falls due to such bottlenecks. Ultra ATA/66 is a tool for improving the interface, which is relevant right now due to the change in the structure of transmitted information streams towards multimedia data. nine0005

Ultra ATA/66 Ensures Data Integrity

Standard ATA bus data transfer in the DMA Mode 2 specification (16.6 MB/s) consisted of bursts of data, clocked by pulses, but only on the rising edge of the strobe signal. The basic idea behind the Ultra ATA/33 expansion was to use both the rising and falling edges of the signal for synchronous data transfer, achieving double the data rate without increasing the pulse rate. Having a hard drive as a generator of both pulses and data in the process of reading, the Ultra ATA/33 specification eliminated delays in the data forward and reverse passage, which made it possible to improve the transmission timing diagram. Ultra ATA/66 uses the same strobe rate but again doubles the peak transfer rate possible, this time by reducing transfer mode entry times. Data clocking is twice as fast. However, a new 80-wire cable is required to ensure data integrity. A standard 40-pin, 40-wire cable can’t handle time loops at transfer rates of around 66 MB/s. An 80-wire cable will be used with the same 40-pin connector, but the signal lines in it will be separated by ground lines acting as a shield. No new signals will be generated or transmitted. nine0005

Ultra ATA/33 pioneered CRC error checking, a new option for the IDE interface for data verification. Ultra ATA/66 uses the same procedure: the CRC is calculated at the time of transmission by the host system and the hard disk, and the information is placed in the appropriate CRC registers. After each data packet, the host system sends the contents of the CRC register to the hard drive, which compares the received value with its own. In this case, in case of discrepancy, the transmitted data is requested again. nine0005

Compatibility and system requirements

The Ultra ATA/66 protocol and commands are compatible with existing ATA devices and systems. Drives implementing Ultra ATA/66 are fully backward compatible with previous ATA modes, including Ultra ATA/33. Slower modes will be served with different clocks and timing. When migrating a drive to a new standard system, you will need to replace the standard 40-pin interface cable with a new 40-pin 80-wire cable. The reverse is also true: for Ultra ATA/33 and older drives connected to systems whose logic is able to implement Ultra ATA/66, the data transfer rate cannot exceed 33 MB/s. Full implementation of the Ultra ATA/66 specification requires an appropriate drive, chipset, and new-style cable. (It should be noted that with UDMA/66 technology, both the PC and the hard disk check for the presence of an 80-wire cable, and without it, the disk subsystem will work in the old standard). For PCs that do not natively support Ultra ATA/66, it is possible to upgrade by replacing the drive with a new one, using an Ultra ATA/66 PCI adapter and a new cable. This will require scaling the timing characteristics to implement the new protocol. As far as support from the operating system is concerned, only the implementation of data transfer in DMA mode is required. Windows allows this, and does not make any difference whether data is transferred to Ultra ATA/33 or Ultra ATA/66. Transfer protocol speeds are determined by the HDD, controller and motherboard BIOS. The above is true for operating systems:

  • Windows 98
  • Windows NT Service Pack 3
  • Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2

So, to use Ultra ATA/66 technology you need:

  • Ultra ATA/66 compatible logic or on the motherboard Ultra DMA PCI adapter.
  • Ultra DMA compatible BIOS
  • DMA device driver for operating system
  • Ultra ATA/66 compatible IDE device (hard drive, CD-ROM, etc. )
  • 40-pin 80-wire cable

It’s time…

The Ultra ATA/66 interface is time for two reasons. The much-discussed transition to the IEEE 1394 high-speed serial bus (FireWire) and the transfer of disks in desktop systems to this interface has not yet passed into the stage of accepting specifications. In particular, Intel excluded the mention of 1394 from the development of the bridge part of its new PIIX6 chipsets, which indicates a delay in the implementation of this interface. At the same time, the continuous growth of typical data transfer rates in hard drives due to the increase in the linear density of recording on the surface and the acceleration of drives promises to end 1999 years to reach the limits of Ultra ATA / 33. To sustain performance growth, the interface speed limit must also increase. As a result, the industry is expected to support Ultra ATA/66 in 1999 with new products: Western Digital, Fujitsu, IBM, Maxtor, Quantum, Seagate, Toshiba and others.

Western Digital pioneered the Ultra ATA/66 standard among all storage manufacturers by equipping the latest family of Caviar EIDE drives with a capacity of 4.3Gb per platter (the older representative of the AC313000 is 13Gb) with Ultra ATA/66 electronics. Obviously, the corresponding products of competing manufacturers will appear in the very near future. Despite the fact that the drives of the first wave, equipped with new electronics, do not develop those speeds for which the introduction of the specification is critical, their appearance should be considered as the introduction and testing of the future standard. The situation was exactly the same with the advent of Ultra ATA/33. Until now, most drives not only do not approach its 33 MB / s limits, but even in peak mode do not exceed the DMA Mode 2 16.6 MB / s values, but the development and calculated behavior of new products is not constrained by electronics limitations. disks or system logic of motherboards. nine0005

As for support for Ultra ATA/66 at the system logic level, so far it has been implemented only by chipset developers alternative to Intel — VIA Technologies and Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS). Ultra ATA/66 — compatible chipsets are VIA MVP4 for Socket 7 and VIA Apollo Pro for Slot 1 (both include South Bridge VT82c596, responsible for supporting peripherals). SiS implemented support for the standard in the SiS 530 chip for Socket 7, which includes an Ultra ATA/66 IDE controller. Presumably, the BIOSes of motherboards developed on the basis of the new sets will allow working with the timing characteristics of the new specification. As for Intel, support for Ultra ATA/66 will be implemented in the PIIX6 controller, which will be part of the new i820 chipset in the second quarter. nine0005

November 27, 1998


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Ultra ATA/66 FAQ

Of all the properties of the Ultra ATA/66 interface, the main one today is… its name.

Once again, in a brief form of questions and answers, it is worth dwelling on what new features the Ultra ATA/66 interface has in comparison with its predecessors, what requirements it imposes on devices that implement it, and what a real user can get from it. nine0005

  • What is Ultra ATA/66?
  • What is the difference between Ultra ATA/66 and Ultra ATA/33?
  • What is required from the system to work with the new interface?
  • Which of the existing motherboard chipsets support Ultra ATA/66?
  • Which manufacturers’ hard drives support Ultra ATA/66?
  • Why is a new 40-pin 80-core cable needed?
  • Is the Ultra ATA/66 interface downward compatible? nine0014
  • Can the new 80-core cable be used with an old drive/in an old system?
  • What can happen if the drive’s Ultra ATA/66 option is enabled, but the drive is running on a system that does not support this standard?
  • What is the actual data transfer rate between the disk and the system bus?
  • Why is the Ultra ATA/66 interface being heavily advertised if it doesn’t provide a speed boost?
  • Do I need to buy a new Ultra ATA/66 drive in this case?

What is Ultra ATA/66?

Ultra ATA/66 is the latest evolution of the ATA/IDE hard drive interface. This is a set of specifications related to the electronics of hard drives and motherboards, and describes the signaling between the drive and the board. Without going into details, we can say that the definition of a “new high-speed interface” means that the timing diagrams formed using the new Ultra ATA / 66 signal protocols fundamentally allow data transfer at a speed twice as high as that achievable by its predecessor, Ultra ATA / 33. Ultra ATA/66 retains a cyclic redundancy code (CRC) data integrity check. In order to avoid signal distortions, the shielding of signal lines is introduced due to additional conductors of the connecting cable. Retaining the old 40-pin connector, the new cable is 80-wire, with most of the conductors connected to ground. nine0005

What is the difference between Ultra ATA/66 and Ultra ATA/33?

A compressed timing diagram that allows twice as much data to be transmitted over the new interface in the same period of time. The bandwidth limit has been doubled from 33 MB/s to 66 MB/s.

What is required from the system to work with the new interface?

  • Ultra ATA/66-compatible logic on motherboard or dedicated Ultra DMA PCI adapter and Ultra DMA-compatible BIOS
  • Ultra ATA/66 support by the hard drive itself. You may need to activate this mode (if this option is available by default, but disabled), for example, using the appropriate manufacturer’s utility.
  • Drive connection must be made with a 40-pin 80-wire cable
  • DMA device driver for the operating system used

Which of the existing motherboard chipsets support Ultra ATA/66?

For Slot1/Socket 370 architecture: i810 Whitney — in its more expensive modification with the i82801AA (ICH) controller as part of, SiS 620, VIA Apollo Pro Plus. For Socket 7 architecture: VIA MVP4, SiS 530.

Which manufacturers’ hard drives support Ultra ATA/66?

  • IBM Deskstar 25GP 5400rpm and Deskstar 22GXP 7200rpm series;
  • all new Western Digital drives: Caviar 5400rpm 4. 3-20.4GB and Expert 7200rpm 9.1-18.3GB series;
  • Quantum Series Fireball CR 5400rpm 4.3-13GB, Fireball CK 5400rpm 6.4-20.4GB, Fireball Plus KA 7200rpm 6.4-18.2GB;
  • Fujitsu series MPD3xxxAT 5400rpm 4.3 -18GB and MPD3xxxAH 7200rpm 4.55 -18GB;
  • Seagate Medalist Series ST3xxx32A, STxxx42A, 5400rpm 10.2-17.2GB and U4, 7200rpm, 4.3-8.4GB

Why is there a need for a new 40-pin 80-core cable?

An increase in the information transfer rate is associated with a change in the frequency characteristics of the signals, and may be accompanied by interference between adjacent conductors. To avoid interference and maintain the integrity of the transmitted data, the existing 40 signal lines and ground lines in the new cable are interleaved with an additional 40 ground lines. A new cable costs a little more than a regular 40-core cable. nine0005

Is the Ultra ATA/66 interface downward compatible?

100% compatible, which means that Ultra ATA/66 hard drives can be used in systems where some or all of the components do not meet the prerequisites listed above. At the same time, the limits of the theoretically permissible data transfer rate over the interface remain at the same level — 33MB / s.

Can the new 80-core cable be used with an old drive/in an old system?

Yes, the new cable is downward compatible with the old 40-core cable. Performance is limited by the Ultra ATA/33 interface.

What can happen if the drive’s Ultra ATA/66 option is enabled, but the drive is running in a system that does not support this standard?

Usually nothing. The disk will perform as well as its physical capabilities and system limitations allow. There may be incompatibility with some older BIOS versions, which in rare cases can lead to slow performance or CRC transmission errors. Some manufacturers, such as Western Digital, recommend using a utility (WDATA66 for WD drives) to enable/disable Ultra ATA/66 mode in cases where drives are guaranteed to support the new standard, but there is no certainty that it will be supported by other system components. nine0005

What is the actual data transfer rate between the disk and the system bus?

The speed of information transfer in real conditions depends on many parameters: the characteristics of the disk itself, the location of data on it, the operation of applications and the operating system responsible for servicing the disk, etc. Usually, they talk about two threshold parameters: the internal data transfer rate between surface and working heads that send information to the disk cache buffer (Media to Buffer) and external speed — between the disk cache and the system bus (Buffer to Host). The first value is determined by physical parameters: the type of heads, the properties of the magnetic layer of the surface, the location of the tracks from which data is read. Peak surface read speeds for modern disks rarely exceed 160-200 megabits per second (i.e. 20-25 MB/s). The average reading speed from different tracks, interspersed with head positioning, is even less. At such speeds, no matter how fast the cache buffer communicates with the host system, it is not able to transfer more data per unit of time than it has in itself! For modern systems, we can talk about data transfer in a stream with a stable speed of about 10-12 MB / s, and then only for individual applications, such as reading / writing video or sound, working with data sequentially placed on a disk. Ultra ATA/66 describes Buffer to Host transfer modes, and its external speed limit of 66 MB/s is more of a theoretical limit to ensure that electronics capabilities don’t become a performance bottleneck for hard drives for the foreseeable future. nine0005

Why is the Ultra ATA/66 interface heavily advertised if it doesn’t provide speed gains?

Until now, most drives operate at speeds that are sufficient not only for Ultra ATA / 33, but also for earlier PIO Mode 4, DMA 2 protocols with their maximum bandwidth of 16 MB / s. If the internal speed of the disks increases gradually, as the technologies for manufacturing the working surface and components of the disks improve, then the external speed refers to the development of semiconductor circuits for accelerated signal transmission, it changes abruptly — in accordance with the agreements reached by the developers of the standard. At the time of implementation of new protocols, disks do not become faster. The main purpose of these agreements and their implementation in silicon is to prevent the convergence of typical internal and external disk speeds, when the limitations of electronics can become a limiting factor in performance growth. The new data transfer protocol is a new step that characterizes the progress in the industry and is rightly considered by the developers of hard drives and system logic as a landmark event. Nevertheless, it follows from the above that apart from the marketing effect and maintaining the manufacturer’s reputation as a conductor of progressive technologies, no real benefit for consumers from Ultra ATA/66 should be expected in the near future. nine0005

Do I need to buy a new Ultra ATA/66 drive in this case?

It is necessary, because there are practically no others.

May 31, 1999


  • New statistics based on the use of 230,000 hard drives.