Question for our computer gurus

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Qmaus
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Question for our computer gurus

Postby Qmaus » Sat May 13, 2006 11:17 am

I have decided that it's time I upgrade to a larger hard drive. Usually upgrades don't intimidate me, but I'd like to pick the brains of our gurus if I can with respect to this particular item.

First of all, I'd like to mention that both of my IDE cables are full (both master and slave connections being used) so having two hard drives is not an option i'm considering.

I'm also not considering the option of having an external, USB-connected hard drive. Besides upgrading space, I also think my current hard drive is simply getting old and my other reason for looking to replace it is that I would like something with higher performance.

The questions I feel I need to ask (due to my ignorance on the subject):

1. Is the size of possible hard drives I can use limited by any other hardware components such as my CPU, motherboard (does address bus size factor into this or just for RAM considerations?), etc.?

2. How can I know what rpm speed, etc. I can/should handle?

3. Any particular brands you can recommend for quality?

4. Is the procedure for replacing the hard drive and retaining my current file settings, boot settings, directory structure, etc., difficult and something I should be intimidated by? Are there any cautions I should be aware of during this process?

Info that may/may not be useful:

My CPU: AMD Sempron 2400
My Motherboard: VIA Technologies, Inc. KM400-8237
OS: Windows XP Home (SP2)
Bus Clock: 167 MHz
BIOS: Phoenix Technologies, LTD 6.00 PG 07/08/2004

I don't know how much of the above info is useful, I just put down what sounded good to me, LOL.

Many thanks in advance to anyone who can offer advice / info

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Ommina
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Re: Question for our computer gurus

Postby Ommina » Sat May 13, 2006 12:04 pm

Qmaus wrote:1. Is the size of possible hard drives I can use limited by any other hardware components such as my CPU, motherboard (does address bus size factor into this or just for RAM considerations?), etc.?

2. How can I know what rpm speed, etc. I can/should handle?

3. Any particular brands you can recommend for quality?

4. Is the procedure for replacing the hard drive and retaining my current file settings, boot settings, directory structure, etc., difficult and something I should be intimidated by? Are there any cautions I should be aware of during this process?


1. CPU, no. Motherboard, sometimes. In these cases flashing the BIOS typically makes it better. I doubt you'll have any worries, but I'll take a peek at the mb specifications over the afternoon. OS: Frequently. HD have a bad habit of growing larger than the OS designers thought they possibly would. XP should treat you fine, anything older (Windows 2000) and you'll have extra ick with which to deal.

2. Faster is better. So long as it has an IDE connection, make that baby spin. Oh, quiet is a good thing too. There are no interactions between RPM / access times and your existing hardware.

3. You'll get as many answers here as there are people. I won't buy Western Digital. I like Maxtor. I think I have good reasons for my preferances.

Others will disagree. And they will have good reasons too.

In the end, getting the best performance and size for a given price will probably be fine.

4. Yes. Yes. Many.

Really, it isn't fun. You'll want to use some sort of imaging software to make it happen. (eg: Norton Ghost.)

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Fuddara
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Postby Fuddara » Sat May 13, 2006 4:05 pm

Ommina is completely correct on #3. I love Western Digital, and pretty much refuse to buy anything else. But yeah... if you have no real preference, whatever you can find that is within your budget and has the size you want, will be good. Maxtor and WD are both fine... I'm not sure what other brands still really exist.

#2 7200 is your average RPM on drives these days. WD Raptors are 10k, but I beleive they are SATA only, and they are EXPENSIVE.

#4 Imaging your hard drive is a real annoying process, and often can lead to instablities (that so doesn't look spelled correctly), which are annoying as well. You will need to free up an IDE channel, so you can have your current and new hard drive plugged in at the same time (on the same cable) to do any imaging. It'll be temporary, and after the imaging is complete you can reconnect whatever you disconnected, and your old hard drive.

As Ommina mentioned you will need to get a program that will do it. Norton Ghost is one I've used many times before, but I don't have any experience with other programs. I'm pretty sure you won't find one for free (well... not legally), but will likley find lots of cheapish options at your local Wal-Mart or K-Mart or whatever.