Chapter 5: Customizing Your Computer’s Hardware Devices
There are some feature differences between EIDE and SATA that you should know
about. Most EIDE devices support a maximum data transfer rate of 100 Mb per sec-
ond and allow two devices to be connected per cable. Most EIDE devices have a 10-
pin jumper block, which configures whether the device is being used in a single
device or Primary (Master)/Secondary (Slave) configuration. The pins on the jumper
block are also used to configure cable selection settings.
Most SATA devices have a maximum data transfer rate of 150 or 300 Mb per second
and allow only one device to be connected per cable. Most SATA devices have an 8-
pin jumper block and there are no Primary (Master)/Secondary (Slave) configurations.
Which Type of External Device Is the Right Choice?
You connect external devices to your computer rather than installing them inside
your computer. This makes external devices easier to install and means you can
attach most external devices without having to reboot your computer. It’s not so
easy, however, to understand the various and similar-looking interfaces available
with external devices. Most current computers use external devices with one of the
Universal Serial Bus (USB)
USB 2.0 is the industry-standard peripheral connection for most Windows-based
computers. This connection transfers data at a maximum rate of 480 Mb per sec-
ond, with sustained data transfer rates usually from 10 to 30 Mb per second. The
actual sustainable transfer rate depends on many factors, including the type of
device, the data you are transferring, and the speed of your computer. Each USB
controller on your computer has a fixed amount of bandwidth, which all devices
attached to the controller must share. If your computer’s USB port is an earlier
version—USB 1.0 or 1.1—you can use USB 2.0 devices, but the transfer rates
will be significantly slower. To add support for USB 2.0 devices, you can install a
PCI USB 2.0 controller card.
FireWire, also called IEEE 1394, is a high-performance connection standard for
most Windows-based computers. This interface uses a peer-to-peer architecture
in which peripherals negotiate bus conflicts to determine which device can best
control a data transfer. FireWire has several configurations, including FireWire
400 and FireWire 800. FireWire 400, also called IEEE 1394a, has maximum sus-
tained transfer rates of up to 400 Mb per second and is suitable for hard drives,
digital video, professional audio, high-end digital cameras, and home entertain-
ment devices. FireWire 800, also called IEEE 1394b, has maximum sustained
transfer rates of up to 800 Mb per second and is suitable for the high-speed con-
nection and bandwidth required for multiple-stream, uncompressed digital video
and high-resolution digital audio. To add support for FireWire devices, you can
install a PCI FireWire controller card.