Give me my IDE port back now

Give me my IDE port back now

Summary: I wish motherboard manufacturers wouldn't consign parallel ATA (PATA) hard drives and the IDE ports they require to the dustbin of history just yet.

TOPICS: Intel, Hardware

I wish motherboard manufacturers wouldn't consign parallel ATA (PATA) hard drives and the IDE ports they require to the dustbin of history just yet with their "one PATA slot per motherboard" mentality.

This 1950s computer is also without two PATA slots on the motherboard.
(City, personnel, IBM room image by The Library of Virginia, no known copyright restrictions)

In the past 24 hours I've become the gleefully happy owner of a new Core i7-based PC. This is a joyous occasion, but for one small hiccup. Straight up I will concede that my issues are definitely not your usual users' problems. Most people are happy to start from scratch with new hardware, but in this instance and in my stubbornness, I don't see why I should.

The issue is based on the fact that I have moved the five hard drives out of my old system (3x Serial ATA, 2x PATA) and moved them over to the new beast system. My hard drives are split between Vista and Gentoo Linux. Now the last time I checked, Vista was the current Microsoft stable and supported state-of-the-art operating system, so I see no reason why I should reinstall an OS that can handle drastic hardware changes.

Similarly for Gentoo; the worst hardware incompatibilities can be solved by a Live CD, a chrooted environment and walking away while the system recompiles. This recompile will, of course, be a doozie; switching from AMD to Intel architectures means it all gets recompiled (I concede that this may be essentially a "reinstall", but I maintain that there will be no formatting of drives).

There's no holding back of the fact that PATA is going away though. I did decide to ditch one of the PATA drives and figured I can carry the other one from system to system as long as optical media drives remain on ATA. Oh? Blu-ray and DVD drives are going SATA too? Looks like I've hit the end of the PATA road — on the motherboard at least, adapters and PATA cards may go on yet.

The rest is great
Now that my Luddite manifesto is out of the way, and I admit that my drive desires are stuck in the past — it's time for praising new modern hardware.

Presenting eight cores to the operating system via a Core i7 920 CPU is an absolute dream. I haven't yet decided what to do with all that surplus power. Half of me wants to run some virtualisation frenzy, while the other half sadistically wants to prioritise running viruses on those cores. It actually does concern me that a virus could solely use up two cores and I wouldn't notice or I would falsely think it was the OS being slow.

The case is a little beauty, a Cooler Master HAF that is at once massive, yet quiet.

I haven't had a chance yet to see how the latest Radeon drivers behave with Linux, but should any problems occur, I'll be sure to voice the problems here.

What's your favourite piece of hardware? Have you made an awesomely good or bad hardware purchase recently? Let us know in the comments below.

Topics: Intel, Hardware


Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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  • Buy an IDE to SATA converter!

    A whole article about nothing really!
  • Re: Buy an IDE to SATA converter!

    True, but the caption was good for a laugh though! Or maybe I'm just easily amused...
  • I agree!

    You've hit the nail on the head Chris Duckett - PATA is not dead yet. And as for the negative comments above, well, you can't expect too much from negative people.
  • PATA bluray?!

    Are there actually any PATA bluray drives?? Every one I've seen are SATA, and mine certainly is.
    Anyway, a $20 PATA card or even a SATA/PATA combo card is all one needs, or you could just get a cheap external hard drive enclosure and hook it up to a spare USB or LAN port.
  • It's time to go ...

    PATA, whilst not completely dead yet, needs to be phased out and I for one think that MB manufacturers only having one IDE controller on board is a good thing. Sadly, If we look at the FDD connector for a reference, I think it will be a number of years before it disappears altogether.
  • Nothing you can't fix with a $3.50 gadget

    I've had a good run with bi-directional SATA/PATA adapters. These can be had on e-Bay for $3.50 plus $4.00 shipping from HK. They work both ways, allowing you to use SATA peripherals in PATA systems and PATA drives with SATA motherboards.

    Works with Gentoo x86, Gentoo amd64 as well as various embedded MIPS and ARM platforms, including PVRs.

    At least the SATA/PATA problem has a workable solution. The $20,000+ pile of various SCSI hardware I have here is another story :-(
  • how many cores?!??

    an intel i7 920 has 4 cores not 8.

    great technology review... have you ever actually used a comupter?
  • PATA is almost dead

    But on most newer motherboards, user do not use them at all.

    The sensible thing is then to delete it from the motherboards and those few who now need them can buy the very cheap adaptors.

    Its like the parallel printer and serial ports - they took up a lot of connector area's real estate but didn't earn their keep for most in the end.
  • hardman.

    Yeah, you totally showed him.
  • Floppy connector - an XP legacy?

    While SATA to IDE adaptors are cheap and readily obtainable, allowing older equipment to continue to fulfill a current system function, the floppies and the associated connectors do not have a future, but remain on the off chance that an XP system might need to have some storage driver installed off one.

    USB thumb drives have basically obsoleted floppies, except for the XP storage driver loading.
  • Cores

    4 pyhsical cores 8 virtual with hyper-threading enabled, so technically you are both correct