IDE Controllers (The definitive Thread )


Ok I am hoping you all can help me setup a definitive thread on IDE controllers. I presently have 2 systems with Promise Ultra 133 Controllers and had nothing but greif getting them to run right. After reading thru alot of threads here I can see these aren’t good to use for CD/DVD burners. I am looking for any feedback negitive and positive you have had with any controllers available for purchase.

Is there a brand that you can disable bios so it boots faster?

What out there that is speedy any maybe configurable from device manager for speed setting or all do it automatically?

What ones work with all devices with no problems?

If you see this thread helps you give it a bump to keep it going


I use an Aralion controller, 6 IDE/PATA channels. I can connect several ODD devices at once. But the card creates a lot of compatibility and stability problems, everyone seems to agree.

Good for harddrives:
Cards based on silicon image chipset
Cards based on promise chipsets
Cards based on via chipset
Cards based on ITE chipset
The controller included in the southbridge/chipset on your mainboard :stuck_out_tongue:

Good for optical drives:
Cards based on silicon image chipset
Cards based ITE chipset
The controller included in the southbridge/chipset on your mainbord.

Bad for optical drives:
Cards based on promise chipset
Cards based on highpoint chipset
Cards based on via chipset.
Some southbridge/chipset controllers - if you install vendor drivers for them. Nvidia nforce is the worst example - stick to the M$ IDE drivers if you’re going to have optical drives on that controller.

I do not have experience with others ( AMI and a few others probably).

This is only based on my own experiences tough.

I was having horrible burn times with my setup (promise ultra133 tx2) no matter what ODD i used. i then purchased a Syba Ultra ATA IDE Controller Card with the Silicon Image 680 chip. the cost was 15.99 and i found it on

here are the results:

681meg burn using nero at 40x speed

using the nforce2 on the mb of my asus a7n8x deluxe
3:02 for write, 5:32 including verify

using the promise ultra133 tx2
8:45 for write, 11:33 including verify

using Syba with sil680
3:02 for write, 5:29 including verify

as you can see, the promise is utterly horrible and the sil680 was able to give me back all of my speed!

I contacted Promise tech support (EU) on this issue and their reply was that Promise NON-RAID cards fully support all optical / ATAPI drives on both ATA / SATA interfaces (e.g. SATA150 TX4, SATA150 TX2plus, Ultra133 TX2, Ultra100 TX2)

Raid cards (all FastTrak, SuperSwap cards) will NOT support optical drives correctly.

I have not personally experimented with this myself, so I cannot guarantee the above is correct. But I did ask them twice and ask them to clarify so that I was sure I understood what they said.

So if the above info is wrong, you can give feedback to Promise EU tech support.


I have two OEM non-RAID Promise cards, an Ultra100 and an Ultra133. Both are Maxtor rebadges but are identical to Promise’s own cards. Both are flashed to the latest Promise FW and are using the latest Promise drivers in W2K. They show the same problems - buffer overruns on DVD burns and attempted high speed CD burns. Even DVD reads are often poor when using these cards.

They’re fine for HDs, though, luckily for me.

I ordered the same one as sunruh (Silico Image, thanks OC-Freak for your little list there) after reading this article about increasing the speed performance by either getting a IDE controller card or an external USB/1394 case. In that article (I cannot find it now for some reason) it shows the guy’s Pioneer 106s (I think) running DMA Mode 5 with Promise Controller card but my NEC 5700a still shows DMA Mode 2. Is this because my NEC is older technology? I ordered the Lite-on 166S today and hoping the speed will increase if it is at all. Thanks for your inputs!

OK. I found the link :smiley:

Supermicro’s 8 ch. S-ATA PCI-X card now costs as low as US$92. Pricegrabber has it for a littler more.

Now I have about 7 to 8TB HDD storage. Only about half of them are online yet.

One word of warning:

If you already have a SIL based controller integrated onto your motherboard (RAID or non-raid) you may have difficulty in getting an additional SIL chipset based PCI card to work.

My motherboard won’t even pass bios post completely, because of the competing SIL chipset bioses.

Some have written that disabling bios on one of the SIL chipset controller helps, but my card does not have disable ability and my motherboard can’t disable the bios of the SIL chipset controller in bios.

So, I’m SOL with a SIL chipset PCI card that I can’t use until I swap my mobo for another one that does not have SIL chipset :slight_smile:


PS Be aware that most SATA controllers now integrated as add-ons on motherboards are currently SIL chipsets.

Try putting the card in a lower PCI slot. Also double-check your boot settings in BIOS.
Usually, these conflicts only pop up with RAID controllers. I’ve got a SIL based card that runs just fine with the SIL-based onboard controller, but it is booting in non-RAID mode. There’s also a Promise PCI RAID card running, so the SIL card has to go in a slot that’s below the Promise card, or no POST.

Thanks for the help. I tried it in all slots and double checked the Bios.

The problem is most likely to conflicing SIL controller bioses. My non-raid PCI card does not have a jumper to disable the bios. Motherboard SIL RAID SATA controller I cannot disable, because my boot drive is on it.

I think I must change to another motherboard sooner or later :confused:

Of course, now I find this thread, 5 days after I buy a PCI card!
I have tried to set the OB SATA controller to BASE (not RAID), but still have no luck getting to boot windows.
If I disconnect the 2 drives off either of the controllers then it boots, then I re-connect the drives and through MMC convert the 2 ‘hot swap’ drives into dynamic ones, and they work OK. Or I can disable the OB SATA device, and it will then boot to the PCI card.
But this is tedious. And I’d like to use all 4 SATA drives as 2 separate RAID0 devices.
I’m thinking that the only real solution is to get another (chipset) controller, maybe a real hardware controller, 4 port PCI card and this looks nice!
I then need 2 more WD 160JD’s (I already got 2) and I’ll RAID0 them, I should be able to get 120Mb/s at least. Hopefully more like 140-150!
I’ll have to use this ST Labs PCI controller in another box, with the 2 80G segates.

Oh Well!

Let me ask the most important question first - is your box overclocked in any way?

The system does not need to be overclocked, for Promise to bork ATAPI/optical devices it seems.

Also, in case you have Silicon Image SATA controller on your motherboard (which you use), don’t get a Silicon Image based PCI card. Those two separate controllers both want to activate their own bios, and when that happens, you get a hard lock.

If you need to boot from your motherboard Silicon Image controller, you can’t disable Bios on that.

Most PCI cards (Silicon Image chipset) I’ve been able to find do not allow disabling the bios on them.

Hence, get a motherboard that does NOT have a Silicon image controller (SATA or parallel ATA) integrated onboard, as it will conflict with a Silicon Image based PCI controller.

I have been having the same slow ODD performance issues on my server. It has the giga-byte GA-7DPXDW-P motherboard in it that has a Promise MBUltra133 (PDC20276) IDE/RAID controller on it. I have been using the promise controller for standard IDE usage and found that DVD and CD burns take much longer than they should, in addition to the high CPU usage and the burners buffer constantly dropping off and filling back up. It takes about 30-40 mins to burn a DVD on my Pioneer A05 which is way too long.

 After reading all the posts here I see that Promise controllers lock the ODD's to PIO mode.  I have also read in a couple of places that the Silicon Image chipset (Sil0680) allows ODD's to run in UDMA mode, in addition to displaying the UDMA status in the hardware manager of Windows XP.

 So at this point I know I want to get a 2 channel IDE controller card with a Sil0680 chipset and I have found two options.  I can get either a [SYBA SILICON IMAGE CONTROLLER RAID CARD]( or a [SIIG High-speed dual channel Ultra ATA/133 adapter, Model"SC-PE4B12 " - RETAIL]( .  Since both cards have the Sil0680 chipset it's really a choice of which card is more reliable, has better manufacturing, warranty, support etc.

 The Syba I can only find at a few web sites and at each one the model version and details are not specific so I'm not positive I will get the card I want.  The SIIG is at and many other retailers and they all list it by the SIIG part number so I know I will get the card I am expecting, especially since newegg has the best price.  I'm just not sure if I should get the Syba for $16 or the SIIG for $42.  The price difference is pretty big so it's all about how well the Syba's work compaired to the SIIG.  

Any ideas guys?

A couple of thinks to consider:

  • If you get the SIIG card, you can probably disable the ROM/Bios on the card, if needed (and get it to work with other SIL controllers in the same system)

  • non-raid cards are usu. a better bet than raid cards. If you get the non-raid you don’t have to cross-flash bios from the raid card to non-raid

Other than that, I’m not sure there’s much of a difference, except the price you mentioned.

My slots are full so I have to buy an IDE controller card to use with my upcoming Plextor Premium and LG GSA-4160B.

My favorite dealer has 2 available cards: a Promise Ultra133 RAID 0+1 (Promise chipset I think) and Adaptec (don’t know anything about the chipset).

The Promise costs 40 euros which is acceptable… the Adaptec costs 80 euros which is way too much for an IDE controller!

I have read Promise cards, especially RAID ones, cause a lot of problems like buffer underruns and ODD devices in PIO mode, so I don’t really know what to do. The Adaptec cost twice as much as the Promise… and I’m not sure it will cause no problems.

Should I:

  • Check what chipset is my mobo onboard controller based ?
  • Disable RAID mode in the Promise controller to eliminate any conflicts ?