Give thanks! Intel's new UDMA drivers


— 12:28 PM on November 25, 1999

I saw over at VE that Intel made available some new ATA/33 and 66 (aka UDMA/33 and 66) drivers for their 810, 810E, 820, and 840 chipsets. Included are drivers for both Win9x and NT4, and these things are much improved over both Intel's previous efforts and the UDMA drivers supplied by Microsoft with their OSes.

How so? According to the documentation, these drivers allow "independent device timings/transfers for each ATA channel; this effectively allows PIO-only devices and DMA-capable devices to share the same ATA controller cable (one device as master, one as slave) without restricting transfer mode to PIO-only for both devices". (I can plug my Zip drive back in. Heheh.) They also include a very nice companion application that indicates the capabilities of the system's various IDE storage devices. (Here's a picture.) The companion app also allows manual control of the DMA mode used for each device.

Although Intel claim these drivers are "optimized" for their new 8xx series chipsets, they're working fine for me on a 440BX-based system. [Update:] They're working for me in Windows NT. I'm hearing reports of failures, however, so I suspect they won't work with the BX chipset in Win98.

Once again, the battle between UDMA and SCSI shifts a bit toward UDMA. Unfortunately, too many people write off UDMA as "just IDE" while their system has lousy I/O performance and high CPU utilization simply because they haven't installed the right UDMA drivers. These, folks, are the right drivers, judging by what I've seen. Get 'em and give thanks for a speedier PC that doesn't cost a wing and a leg.

Oh, and happy Thanksgiving.

 
   
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