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  1. #1
    RetroSteve! My location

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    Hard Drive recomendations

    I am interested in getting one or two new HDs.

    As it was a long time ago since I last got an HD, I was wondering who makes the best ones (of the IDE variety) these days?

  2. #2
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    Samsung and Seagate are the two makes to go for.

    IDE drives are getting fewer in number now though as SATA drives have completely taken over.

    When looking for an IDE drive, if you are using older hardware you need to be aware of what protocols, speeds and HDD size the IDE controller can work with. Very old P2 and P3 motherboard IDE controllers can sometimes only address the first 32GB of HDD space on a drive, whereas other P3 and P4 boards 128GB. These limitations can normally be overcome using software patches available from the HDD makers own websites if needed.

    Also try to get a drive with an 8MB Cache. Many IDE drives have a smaller 2MB cache and this makes a big difference to read and write speeds due to the smaller buffer. However if that is all you can find it isn't too much of an issue.

    Also try to get a drive with a spin rate of 7200RPM.

    What sort of sized drives are you thinking of getting?

    Seagate 80GB drives are around 28.
    Seagate 160GB drives are around 35.
    Western Digital 250GB are around 45.
    Western Digital 500GB are around 60.

    I've not seen an IDE drive larger than 500GB, and 60 is a lot of one these days when you consider you can buy a 1TB SATA drive for the same price.

    You could alternatively get a PCI SATA controller and use SATA drives. Have you thought about that?

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  3. #3
    RetroSteve! My location

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    Thanks for the infor harrison.

    I suppose I could get a SATA card. Is a PCI SATA card likely to cause any improvement over IDE?

    I will also have to try and find a spare PCI slot

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    If your current IDE controller support ATA100 or ATA133 drives and their speeds then you won't see much difference using SATA drives over them. However if your IDE controller is older and only supports ATA66 or the even slower ATA33 then you will get a big improvement switching over to SATA.

    However it isn't that clear cut. If you added an SATA card to an older system then other factors will effect the speed that the card can access and send data from the drives to the system. The front side bus speed of the motherboard will be much slower in older systems slowing things down, as will slower ram, and the PCI bus might be slower too.

    The biggest advantage to getting SATA drives now is really their ease of installation, and the fact they are more future proof them IDE drives. If you built a new system at some point in the future you would be able to easily stick the SATA drives into it. But IDE is quickly dying as a format and most new motherboards only had a single IDE port for use for IDE DVD/CD drives (it is the only think I used IDE for still).

    SATA also gets rid of the horrible big ribbon cables and leaves you with a nice small thin cable for the data, and a small connector for the power (you would probably need to buy a molex to SATA adaptor cable).

    If you are interested in SATA then a card such as the following one from Novatech would be ideal and only costs 14.53

    http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/s...html?NOV-SATAR
    Last edited by Harrison; 26th June 2009 at 23:46.

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  5. #5
    RetroSteve! My location

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    I've decided to change to SATA.

    Turns out my motherboard's IDE controller is ATA33. For some reason I thought it was ATA133.

    Hopefully I will try and get a couple of SATA drives. Is it easy to install Windows (either 2000 or XP) and Linux onto older PCs with PCI SATA cards?

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    Retro Addict Administrator
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    On older systems you will need to provide the drivers for the SATA PCI card during the installation of 2000 or XP as the point when it asks for any drivers for additional devices. Also you will need to double check if the SATA card can be booted from. I'm sure they can be, but it is worth double checking.

    I think, if SATA cards work like earlier SATA supported motherboards, the card will have its own bios that will load after the main motherboard bios has finished loading, and at this point the card's bios will initiate the drives and boot from them.

    I would try to go for at least XP SP1 over 2000 because it has more built in support for SATA and larger HDDs. Windows 2000 had a HD size limitation of 128GB unless patched, and I think 2000 SP2 and above included this patch.

    Have you considered upgrading your PCs hardware? I recently upgraded a PC for someone on a budget, and it included a new motherboard, CPU, and ram and it only came to 115 for the lot. The motherboard had 4 SATA ports built in plus an IDE port to keep using older DVD/CD drives., along with a dual core E5200 CPU and 2GB of DDR2 ram. Great little system for the money.

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  7. #7
    RetroSteve! My location

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    Is something like this likely to be good?

    http://www.cclonline.com/product-inf...id=st3500418as

    I was originally looking at the 250GB version, but the 500GB version is only a few pounds more .

  8. #8
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    Definitely. I have a few of those Seagate Barracuda drives running in my systems, and they are nice and quiet and fast. 16MB cache is good, as is the 7200RPM and SATAII support.

    36 is a good price too.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  9. #9
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    I agree, good drives Stephen. Quiet and even the 500GB one is single platter, meaning it has a high density and performs very fast.
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  10. #10
    Burn! Hot Blooded Rhythm Soul! Staff Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Coates View Post
    Is something like this likely to be good?

    http://www.cclonline.com/product-inf...id=st3500418as

    I was originally looking at the 250GB version, but the 500GB version is only a few pounds more .
    I've had the 250gig one in this system for ages, probably over 3 years, perfectly happy with it.

    Starting to think about upgrading my PC, I'd like something with a bit more processor grunt and just a general speed boost but cheaply. Unfortunately I'd need to upgrade the mobo for that as I've got a socket 939. Might also need new ram as I've only got DDR. Possibly GFX card too.... maybe I won't bother actually.

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