democrazy's Blog

This is SATA! – Hard facts about hard drives

Posted on: September 30, 2009

Hard drives are cheaper than a 3 pack of socks these days… 

There is no excuse not to buy a bucket of them… buying them is the easy part, actually installing them and using them is a little harder (not hard like getting a driver for your Audigy 2 sound card tho…)

SATA, ATA, WTF?

Like everything hard drives get faster and cheaper… new techy parts are added blah blah blah. What you need to know is “will this new neato hard drive work in my computer?!”

If you have an older motherboard you should check if its SATA or ATA…  (they don’t plug n play nicely with each other… like USB and Firewire) SATA is the newer kid on the block shes faster and has less messy cabling… your power supply and motherboard need to have SATA for it to work as the power supply for SATA is also different…

Space / Installation

Another consideration: Does your computer case have any room for another drive?

First of all check were your original hard drive is? Most of the time there is another bay there to slot in another drive… make sure its got a few cm of breathing space for air flow purposes (heat is a big thing to be aware of when modding and adding to a computer ;D ). If there doesn’t seem to be much space a good trick is to have a look at the other drive bays (eg. where the disk drive is /was or if you have a second DVD/CD bay). Then its just a job of screwing them in place… you want them to be moderately tight (stop vibrations or movement damage). Some drives bays (eg. some Dell or good gaming cases etc) have other means of installing which can be dead easy requiring no screws / finger wounds…

Also you will need for each new drive:
A power cable and a data cable (going to one of the sockets on the motherboard)

Also something to consider is types / length of cables…

You will obviously need to install them somewhere where both cables can reach the hard drive (duh)
Often power supplies have more than one power connection per cable so if you have two drives close by they can daisy chain off one cable…

You can also get right angled plugs etc for SATA if its in a tight spot right up against the case lid etc…

50% Less Electrocution Sale!  

Ok something to think about is static electricity in regards to your shiny new drive and computer components… try scuffing your socks on your carpet and randomly touch all your computer components… see how now they are all dead? Yes the lesson here is static electricity is a computer component killer.

You can go out and purchase a star trek looking anti static wrist band and be the coolest geek on the block or failing that just be sensible and when ever you touch computer components do the following:

Make sure you turn everything off, don’t do any modding or installations on carpet in socks (i am guilty of this), touch the case or ground yourself on something before you touch anything… sweet…

Turning Your Turtle of a Computer into a Ninja Turtle on Crack

Hey here is an idea if you have a little bit of money… buy a large cheap 500 – 1000 gig drive for all your files and an expensive nice smaller drive maybe a solid state one for your operating system. Check out reviews online for a good one (they can be rather expensive)… this can speed up your start up time by a crazy amount and boost your overall performance by an uber amount… having no moving parts makes them quiet and quick…

WTF IS RAID?

Yes i could go on to explain RAID etc but there are much better resources on this side of things out there…. go explore monkey…

EXTERNAL ORGANS

A lot of the info i have given really is more relevant for people with larger cases and most likely PC computers, i-macs etc may not have the space inside for an extra internal hard drive.. But what about an external drive?  These are great.. you can tote them around swap/steal data of other people etc.

There are many kinds, some are powered by usb etc others have there own power supplies you have to plug in… some use USB, some use ESATA or Firewire etc… There are two sizes for the drives 2.5 or 3.5 (internally 2.5 is for laptop and 3.5 is for desktops… Shop around.. you may find it cheaper to buy a the case and the drive separately.

Things to think about:

  • Do you have a spare USB, ESATA or Firewire port? 
  • Is having a drive with its own power supply a problem? is the case the same type as the drive? (a mistake that is common is that people buy an external enclosure that is ATA and then buy a nice new SATA drive that wont fit in the external enclosure)
  • Is noise a problem? Cheap external drives are often more noisy, prone to vibrations and even may cause interference (plays buggery with the TV reception)

Now go fill up that new hard drive with:  Crap pop music and porn…

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