Thank you for your comments. Flashing problem is a concern. I need to consider that, but I don't think there is an easy solution to that problem, unless I find a PCI controller that enables flashing firmwares.
CPU usage does matter, as wrong PCI IDE controller can cause 60-80% CPU utilisation on a Barton 3200+, so it is definitely a problem, if select the wrong PCI controller. There is little doubt about this.
I have more than 4 opticals. I cannot connect all of them to 2 channel motherboard controller. There are no nForce2 motherboards that I know of that have four channels of non-raid IDE on the motherboard and which all support ATAPI with proper cpu utilisation/burn speeds. If there are and somebody has proof of this, I'd be delighted to hear about them.
I really wish there was a simple working solution to this problem.
Either I'll have to put more than two opticals on one channel (causing problems) and still have to put some of them on the PCI IDE card. Not good in two ways.
... or I'll have to put each optical in it's own channel with well though out drive configuration so that I will almost never have to use two devices on the same channel at the same time and this will also necessitate putting some of them on the PCI IDE controller. Not good either, but only with one problem (PCI IDE controller compatibility).
I wish people would give more comments about PCI IDE controllers, and stop trying to correct my thinking about where to put the ATAPI drives, when its clearly not a solution to my problem.
Just because my solution doesn't suit somebody else's thinking doesn't mean it's automatically wrong/wasteful/stupid. Some people need to understand that there are other realities other than what they see themselves and that they do not alone dictate what is the right way to do things
PS The drives in question:
LiteOn 48246s (soon to change to LiteON DVD-/+RW drive)
Plex PX-708A (soon)
2 x HD 160Gb
and for the time being they all serve a purpose for me, even if it may be hard to fathom to some