Home > Hard Disk FAQs > Special Requirements to use an Ultra DMA Hard Drive

Special Requirements to use an Ultra DMA Hard Drive

January 5th, 2011

Special Requirements to use an Ultra DMA Hard Drive Are there any special system or software requirements to use an Ultra DMA 33/66/100/133 ATA hard drive? Yes as follows:

  • To utilize the Ultra DMA (UDMA) capability of a hard drive, the system that the drive is being installed into must contain the appropriate hardware chipset and have the necessary software drivers installed. The system’s motherboard must be designed with a core logic chipset that provides the desired UDMA support. Also, it is the motherboard or system manufacturer’s responsibility to provide any additional software drivers that may be necessary to implement UDMA (Ultra ATA) operation.
  • Pentium II and newer motherboards and systems will typically contain some level of hardware support for UDMA operation (this could be UDMA 33, 66, 100, or 133 depending on the age of your system). It will be necessary to consult the system or motherboard manufacturer’s documentation to determine the level of UDMA supported by your particular hardware. For example if you install a new Maxtor hard drive capable of Ultra DMA/100 (UDMA mode 5), but your system is only capable of supporting Ultra DMA/33 (UDMA mode 2), you will only be able to achieve the Ultra DMA/33 performance. In this case you may want to consider upgrading your motherboard or purchasing an add-on PCI adapter, such as Maxtor’s Ultra ATA card, that is capable of supporting the latest Ultra DMA transfers. This is an inexpensive alternative to replacing your entire system or motherboard.

All Maxtor UDMA drives are fully backward compatible to earlier, non-UDMA systems. Just keep in mind that the transfer rate (performance) of your drive will be limited by the system’s capabilities and not necessarily by the hard drive.

  • Windows 95 (all versions), Windows 98 (all versions), and Windows NT 4.0 all have limited “bundled” driver support for UDMA operation. If you are attempting to use a hard drive capable of UDMA/66 or greater with one of these operating systems, you will more than likely need to obtain updated drivers for your system. It is best to always check with your system or motherboard manufacturer for UDMA driver requirements and availability. In some cases updated drivers may be available directly from Microsoft or from Intel if an Intel chipset is being used by your motherboard. Maxtor Corp. does not provide software drivers for UDMA operation since any required drivers are specific to the chipset and not the hard drive.
  • Windows ME, Windows 2000, and Windows XP all have expanded “bundled” driver support for UDMA operation and may already contain the necessary driver support. Updated drivers may or may not be required depending on your motherboard’s chipset. Once again, it is always best to check with the system or motherboard manufacturer for driver requirements. A good resource for Ultra ATA drivers for systems with Intel based chipsets is at the following site: support.intel.com/support/chipsets/storagedrivers/ultraATA.
  • For systems and hard drives which have all of the prerequisites for UDMA mode 3 and greater (UDMA/66 and faster), a special 80 conductor, 40-pin interface Ultra ATA interface cable is required. The 80 conductor cable reduces cross talk and improves signal integrity by providing additional ground lines between the 40-pin ATA signal and ground lines. Due to the higher transfer rates and shorter cycle times of UDMA data transfers, this cable is required for UDMA/66, UDMA/100, and UDMA/133 operation. It is also highly recommended for UDMA/33 operation as well to help prevent any possible noise related issues.

All Maxtor Retail Kits that contain a UDMA/66 or greater hard drive will also include the 80-conductor Ultra ATA interface cable. This Ultra ATA Interface Cable conforms to the ANSI Specifications.

Comments are closed.