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SCSI vs. ATA Follow-Up

We received a lot of positive feedback on last week’s ATA versus SCSI tips (see inSync 8/22 & 8/23). Most people who had an opinion agreed SCSI is better and more robust overall, but understand that it comes at a price it isn’t always necessary to pay.

Along the way a few lingering questions were voiced that we’d like to (briefly) address now.

1. Are you saying that each device one puts on an ATA bus effects the performance of the others? Yes, it can, and quite often does, but if you do it correctly the performance hit isn’t going to be so severe as to “break” the system. Maybe your CDR will only reliably write audio discs at 4X instead of its rated 8X speed. Those of the sorts of things people run into all the time that can be caused by 100 different things, drive hardware included among them. This is also true of SCSI. You have to always think of it as a system where each piece of the puzzle can potentially effect other pieces.
2. In a system with two ATA hard drives, is it better to place them on the same or different busses? You’ll likely get slightly better performance with them on different busses, but usually a system has one or two other devices that need to be considered. If you also have a CD ROM or Zip drive you are best served to put it on the bus with your system drive, and then leave your “audio” drive on its own bus. If you need to put another device on the same bus as your audio drive you should make the audio drive the master of that bus.
3. What about firewire? Is it becoming viable for recording? Yes, but it is not quite there yet. No doubt there is someone somewhere doing it successfully, but at this point it seems too unstable to recommend. We think firewire is fine for archiving purposes and will eventually be a great alternative for audio and video systems.

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