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Promise Ultra/66 to FastTrack/66 How-To

"...the main bottleneck in overall system performance today is our sluggish hard-drive."

As many of you may know, the main bottleneck in overall system performance today is our sluggish hard-drive. RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks), until recently only known to SCSI and high-end servers, has been helping to overcome this bottleneck for some time now offering incredible performance boosts. Promise as well as others has recently broken into the consumer market with their own versions of RAID for IDE via a PCI controller card (even some AMD/VIA and Intel based mainboards are including on-board RAID controllers now). A neat little trick has been discovered with Promise's Ultra/66 PCI IDE controller card that basically transforms it into the faster, and more expensive Fasttrack/66 PCI IDE RAID controller.

Remember, Speedy 3D is not responsible for any damage that might occur from following our instructions. Perform these modifications at your own risk! Also remember, performing this modification will also void your warranty, so don't expect a new board if you break it performing this procedure. You'll also need to make sure you have a Rev. A5 or lower board before performing my particular method as any board with a higher Rev. will probably not work.

What you need

To perform this modification you will obviously need a Promise Ultra/66 PCI controller card, and a very fine tipped soldering iron that is preferably < 30w and is specially made for soldering circuit boards. You can find these at your local RadioShack or electronics specialty store. You'll also need to make sure you have some 60/40 Rosin Core solder, and a 1/4w 100ohm resistor, both of which you can find at RadioShack if you ask. Here's a run-down of how much all this cost me:

  • Promise Ultra/66 PCI Controller Card - $25
  • RadioShack 15-Watt Grounded Soldering Iron - $7.99
  • RadioShack 1/4w 100ohm resistor 5-pack - $0.49
  • RadioShack 60/40 Rosin Core solder - $1.19
  • Total Cost: $34.67

Hmm, a total cost of $34.67US is not bad, not bad at all. Considering the total cost of a "real" Promise Fasttrack/66 Pro RAID controller will set you back no less than $80 for basically the same exact card.

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