ABIT Hot Rod 66 ATA-66 Controller
A couple of years ago the newest greatest IDE standard was first introduced. The ATA-33. Although we were promised great gains in performance preliminary performance testing showed very little or no advantage over Mode 4 EIDE hard drive rigs. But as time went on, manufacturers found ways to harness the advantage of ATA-33 to its fullest extend. We see the same thing today. ATA-66 promises the world. But can it deliver yet?
First there was Promise Technology with their introduction of the Ultra ATA-66 controller. In fact the Promise technology offering was so popular they shipped approximately 1/4 of a million units. Pretty impressive. Now ABIT is in the game trying to steal some of the thunder away from Promise Technology with their Hot Rod 66 ATA-66 controller. Unfortunately, in this review I'm not going to concentrate on which one is the best card for your ATA-66 needs, but whether or not an ATA-66 controller is worth your hard earned money.
Specs,Impressions,The Package, Installation
The ABIT Hot-Rod 66 is a PCI based ATA-66 controller. It boasts the ever so popular High Point Technologies HPT366 ATA-66 controller. It features two IDE channels for a total capacity of for IDE devices. Each ATA-66 channel is backwards compatible for older legacy IDE devices. The Hot-Rod 66 package consists of the controller, an ATA-66 80 conductor IDE cable, a drivers floppy disk and an installation manual. While the manual is not of the caliper of the usual ABIT manuals, at the same time it is adequately informative to get the job done.
Installing the Hot Rod 66 is as simple as finding an empty PCI slot and sticking it in. At boot-up the Hot Rod 66 controller auto detects any IDE devices attached to it, and automatically sets the proper mode. Once you boot into Windows 95/98 the operating system pops the "Found New Hardware" wizard and prompts you to insert your drivers disk. Simple as that.
While the installation is very simple and pretty much automatic, it makes me wish for more user control. Imagine this not so far fetched scenario. You are overclocking like a madman using ungodly bus speeds, and you decide to stick the Hot Rod 66 in your system in your never ending quest for more performance. You immediately find that your hard drive cannot handle your bus speed. What are you to do? You can't adjust your PIO modes cause the Hot Rod 66 doesn't give you that kind of control. In other words, you are simply up creek without a paddle. That's something to think about for all you overclocking freaks out there. This simply puzzles me coming from a company who caters to the overclocking crowd.
SCSI controllers usually have an option to get into
their BIOS to adjust settings. Granted, there are a lot more options to be set
in a SCSI controller, but the option should definitely be there. I did run into
some issues trying to run the controller in a BE6 motherboard with all of its
controllers enabled. Of course, my configuration is not common, and plugging it
in a "normal" motherboard should present no issues.