10,000 RPM WD drive

Built a shuttle this weekend with a WD Raptor 36 GB 10,000 RPM ESATA Hard Drive Kit – WD360GDRTL as it’s boot drive — a nearly 40% improvement in speed over your standard 7200 rpm drive. Wow it makes a huge difference, I am very happy!

Training XP to use a SATA drive as a boot drive was a little tricky — involving:

  • Installing a SATA PCI card — I had a maxtor (promise-based) card that came free with another hard drive so I used that. Installed fine, tho XP has no drivers for it, but the drivers on the CD were certified
  • Connecting up the WD drive. This was confusing. The drive end of the SATA cable was a 15 pin power-carrying connector, and the documentation warned many times about NOT connecting the standard 4-pin drive power connector if you were using a 15-pin connector. However, on the PCI card end, the SATA cable was data-only, and it was clearly not delivering power to the drive. I wasted time here until I finally just connected a spare 4-pin drive power connector and everything worked
  • Getting confused by XP, which was looking for some Promise SATA driver, but finally just ignoring this error message after reading some forums which said it was harmless
  • Running the included WD utilities to copy all my files from my old IDE boot drive over to the SATA drive, and setting the SATA drive to be a boot drive.
  • But of course the utility didn’t really set the SATA drive up to be a boot drive, you have to muck around in the BIOS to do that, enabling SCSI boot as SATA masquerades as SCSI at this level of the system

But it all works now and it is great!