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Hardware Changes - Part 2 - Hard Drives (Page 2)

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External HDD - Not to be used as your main drive, these are best kept for backup and large data transfer. With the USB 2.0 drives now being the leader of the market this is the best to buy, but remember that before buying, make sure you have USB ports on your computer, and that these ports will support the drive. Always check with manufacturer, as older computers will only have USB 1.1 ports. The drive should work OK, but just make sure. Faster is better though, and if your computer has the ports you should consider USB 3.0 drives and ESATA. These will give you lightning fast access and backups. You could even run your operating system of them.

There are other types of connectors used by external hard drives, ie PCMCIA and Firewire. Always check compatibility with your computer before purchasing.

Buyers Guide - CAPACITY: Depending on what you are using your computer for, will help determine the hard drive size.

ROTATION SPEED: We will make this simple, always buy the fastest RPM drive you can afford, it is well worth the extra expense.

BUFFER SIZE: Most hard drives come with a generous size, usually 2mb or above, only buy the large buffer size (i.e. 8mb) if you are a heavy computer user. High end systems should get 16mb+ buffer size. The higher the better

INTERFACE SPEED: One again always buy the fastest you can get, although this can all depend on your motherboard and what it can support. To get maximum performance from your computer make sure the interface speeds match. ie buy ATA/100 IDE Hard Drive for an ATA/100 motherboard. Although the ATA/133 drive will still work, just not at that speed.

The same goes for SATA 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. See SATA notes above.

INTERFACE TYPE: Buy IDE for IDE, don't buy SCSI if you don't have a SCSI interface, or Serial ATA if you don't have a motherboard that supports it. Always check with your motherboard manufacturer, or manual for support. And try and buy the correct drive for the correct correct port type. ie Buy a SATA 2.0 drive for a SATA 2.0 port.

SEEK SPEED: This is listed in milliseconds, so of very little concern to you the user, but as per usual buy the quickest you can. The quicker the better.

IDE CABLE (For older systems): If you are using a standard IDE cable on your hard drive  (HDD) and both your motherboard and hard drive support UDMA, then changing the cable to a Ultra DMA/ATA IDE Ribbon Cable, will improve performance drastically.

Most Ultra DMA/ATA IDE Ribbon Cables have a blue, yellow or red end, where as standard cables have black connectors at both ends. This can be a major upgrade, with up to a 90% increase in speed.

 



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