So, many interesting findings as of late. Ultimately what I'm trying to sort out is:
I have a Pentium 60 with ISA slots and an on-board IDE controller that (a) may or may not be on a proprietary local bus and (b) struggles with the 504MB limit sans mitigations. Therefore, what of the following is best performing:
1) Local IDE controller with an DDO
==> Using OnTrack + DiamondMax Plus 9 80GB, 80GB FAT32 partition (thanks DDO!)
(+) max disk space, no cards
(-) drive won't mount cleanly on other systems due to overlay
2) Local IDE controller with replacement controller BIOS
==> Using a Promise EIDE Max card + DiamondMax Plus 9 80GB, 8GB partition (BIOS limit)
(+) easy to swap drive to modern computer & transfer files w/o overlay causing issues
(-) not utilizing space; Promise BIOS perhaps not as good as XTIDE or others?
3) ISA SCSI with the fastest drive I can find
==> Using an Adaptec 1542CF with 10k, 15k drives, 8GB partition (BIOS limit)
(+) 15k rpm seek times are pretty sweet
(-) hot, hot, still need IDE controller for optical or $$ SCSI optical, hot, performance not better
Looking at max disk throughput (512kb, 1mb transfer size) I end up with:
1) Local controller w/ODD: 1.9MB/sec
2) Local controller w/Promise BIOS: 2.0 MB/sec
3) Adaptec w/36GB 15k U320 + adapter: 1.7 MB/sec
In terms of responsiveness, the SCSI option feels ~ 15% faster in day to day Windows 98SE, which is significant but not mind-bending. But I am not seeing it benchmark faster in sustained transfer rate. It obviously runs hot... unacceptably hot for this vintage computer with limited air flow.
So what I'm gathering is that,
a) this computer (Deskpro XE 560) does not have an on-board IDE controller that has 'local bus' speed advantages
b) given the above, it doesn't matter too much what configuration I use... performance will be similar.
c) at this point, the Adaptec though reliable doesn't unlock a substantially superior level of performance
Anything I should be checking? Now that I have all this hardware, any more robust benchmarks I should run & publish for posterity before tearing all this down?