I recently had a brief back and forth with nizzy1115 about IDE channel sharing and how to set up drives on the channels for maximum performance. Since there isn't a "right answer", I was curious what everyone's take was.

My opinion is that harddrives are used more often than optical drives, so it's better to have optical drives sharing a channel with harddrives than it is for harddrives to share channels. My system usage is harddrive intensive though, so I am biased. I have three internal harddrives and two external, and I always have slowdowns when I am making transfers between the two drives that share a channel.

What do you guys think?

I just remembered this topic, and came back for a look. No replies! Shockers. Time to rectify.....

I'm of the belief that drives should only share channels with devices of the same type. Optical drives on one channel, hard drives on the other. Now, I'm buggered if I can remember any benchmarks or official tests that prove what's best, and I'm buggered if I can be bothered looking anything up at this hour of the night.

That said, my "belief" stems from the (possibly horribly incorrect) knowledge that:

  • Optical drives utilise a different transfer protocol from hard drives, so any sharing between the two could potentially slow things down with two different protocols in action.
  • Two hard drives on one ATA100/133 channel have plenty of bandwidth to bandy around with - transfer rates rarely hit more than 30-40Mb/s.