Hard Drive Upgrade Advice

Posted on 2006-05-09
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
HI guys.

Ok, this one should be easy.
I simply would like to know which hard drive I could upgrade
to.  I want to get a new hard drive because I'm not happy with
the speed in which mine accesses / transfers data.
I currently have a Seagate barracuda 7200 (160gb).
Is there anything faster out there that I could grab.
Any advice would be awesome!
Also, how could i litterally transfer everything (including my os) from my
old hard drive to the new so that I don't need to re-install windows or anything?
I remember back in the days I used to use something called norton ghost but Im
guessing there are better things these days, let me know!


Question by:smoket22
    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    Hi there smoket22,

    The fastest SATA out there is the Western Digital Raptor.  

    They are 15,000 rpm and come in 3 sizes: 36, 72 and 150GB.

    Don't bother with the RaptorX as you are paying $50 for a clear lid and a massively reduced lifespan.

    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Transferring the system could be done with Ghost, nowadays also known as Symantec Ghost.

    XP might whine because you use a new drive, so be carefull.
    make sure you clear all event-logs before transferring the stuff. Uswed to be necesery for NT and 2K, so I guess it won't hurt XP to do it also.

    Check what version you require for your disk-size, I think 160 GB can be handled ok with the latest versions.
    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    The only issue on the Ghosting is that your old hard drive will be bigger that the largest Raptor so you will have problems Ghosting. To resolve this you will have reduce the size of the existing drive via something like Partition Magic to be smaller than the formatted size of the Raptor.

    Since you are adding a new Drive why format the new drive install the OS and programs then connect up your old drive as a SLAVE and copy off the documents you need and then keep it as storage space?
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    this is not needed. With ghost you can easily change the partition-size's for the receiving disk. Ghost will even make a recomendation.
    You only need to make sure that the total data-size will fit on the new hard-disk.

    LVL 70

    Accepted Solution


    First, you didn't say whether your system uses IDE drives or will accept a SATA drive.

    Second, Wadski is WRONG about the Raptor drives -- they are not 15,000 rpm drives.   They are, in fact, 10,000 rpm drives.   They will, however, provide a nice performance boost relative to your current 7200rpm drive.   They have both faster access times (~4.5ms vs ~8.5 ms depending on the exact drive), and of course faster data transfers due to the higher rotational speed.

    If your system does not have SATA connections, you can still gain the additional speed of this drive by installing an add-in SATA controller -- this is a good one that supports both SATA-150 and SATA-II and includes support for tagged command queueing:

    ... or you can use a SATA Drive to IDE Bus / Bridge Board, which you can buy here:  (be sure you get a SATA-IDE bridge board -- NOT an IDE-SATA board).

    Third, to transfer the OS you can use any of the image/restore programs -- Ghost, Acronis TrueImage, Boot-It NG, etc.   You do not need to worry about XP "whining" as someone suggested above -- a new hard disk is well within the allowable parameters that do not require re-activation.

    All of the above discussion -- both my comments and those previously, have ignored two additional possibilities:

    (1)  Buying a SCSI drive.   This would be the fastest single-drive option -- but also the most expensive.   You would have to buy a SCSI controller card, and a SCSI drive.   But SCSI drives DO come in 15,000 rpm versions -- and these are VERY fast.

    (2)  Using a RAID-0 array.   A striped RAID-0 array treats 2 or more drives as a single drive, striping the data across all of the drives.   Access times are essentially the same as with a single drive of the same performance level (e.g. 7200rpm, 10,000 rpm, 15,000rpm); but the data transfer rates are MUCH faster -- since data is transferred from all drives at once.   This option would require a RAID controller for whichever interface you want to use (IDE, SATA, SCSI), and at least two identical (they don't really have to be, but it's best) drives.   Note that with RAID-0 the drives in the array are effectively combined into a single drive -- so if ONE drive fails the entire RAID "drive" fails.   It's a tradeoff of a bit less reliability for a lot more performance.
    LVL 32

    Expert Comment

    Some random thoughts:

    7200 rpm Seagate drives are not slow drives.  Check BIOS and disk properties under Device Manager to ensure DMA mode is being used for access.  Ensure drive is connected with an 80 wire IDE cable (if IDE).

    SATA is somewhat faster than IDE and a relatively inexpensive upgrade from IDE (PATA).

    Yes, the Raptors are very fast (10K rpm though) and now max out at 150GB.  The lower capacity should not cause any problems imaging drive as long as you have less than 150GB used on current drive.  Ghost will image to a smaller drive if it has sufficient capacity to handle space actually used.

    Upgrading the hard drive may not help if you have a bottleneck elsewhere.
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    if  you are moving to a SATA drive, you may have issues with drivers, as the OS does not include SATA Drivers in its load of drivers.

    Willcomp is right, 7200 is not slow. You may be thinking it is the drive when it is something else.

    good Luck,


    Author Comment

    Hi there

    Sorry for delay, hadn't realised that I hadn't closed this topic.
    My apologies, I have not accepted an answer.

    Yours Sincerely

    Tommy B

    Author Comment

    Correction:  I have "NOW" accepted an answer

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