Should I upgrade from IDE 100GB HDD to 400GB SATA HDD?

Hi Everyone:

       I have a concern regarding the possible need to upgrade my HDD.  At the present time, I have a 100GB IDE HDD with 26.9GB free.  With this point in mind, I am wondering if it may be time to start considering an upgrade.  I did run across a good deal on a 400GB SATA HDD.  And, since my motherboard supports SATA connections, I am wondering if this may be worthwhile to pursue.  

       I do have a USB 200GB HDD hooked up to backup end user files such as mp3's, jpeg's, and mini movie files.  Since I already have this setup, I am wondering if I can simply get by with what I currently have without purchasing a bigger drive.  However, I do a lot of DVD recording using Nero and wondering if this program leaves any backup files which should be deleted following the recordings.  At the present time, I assume this is not a requirement and thus should not be filling up my HDD.

       Any suggestions or directions to this concern will be appreciated.  I look forward to hearing from everyone regarding this post.  

       Thank you.

       George
GMartinAsked:
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Gary CaseConnect With a Mentor RetiredCommented:
... one other comment:   It's a common misconception that a SATA drive will be a lot faster than an IDE drive.  NOT TRUE.   Both rotate at 7200rpm;  the access time is generally the same; and both interfaces are faster than the sustained transfer rate of the drive ==> so there is NO difference for any operations EXCEPT those that are between the drive's buffer and the computer.  In those (limited) cases the higher transfer rate of SATA is an advantage ... but that's a very small % of the transfers.   A standard IDE drive also has no "SATA driver" issues with motherboards that require them (such as yours).    So ... IF your system has an available IDE connection  ... you could use a standard IDE drive to add your additional 400GB [e.g. http://www.directron.com/st3400620a.html ]

By the way, I noticed that the links in my previous post don't work exactly right.  Here they are again:

The 320GB drive:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822148140

The 400GB drive:  http://www.directron.com/st3400620as.html

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asian_niceguyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you use nero.. you will need enough free space to allow copying of dvd data to harddisk and back (4-8GB).. nero will auto-clean up any backup files.
The standard drive nowadays would be around 200GB, so purchasing a 400GB drive wouldn't be a problem and is probably expected if you are working with lots of media files.
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jasonr0025Connect With a Mentor Commented:
This would probobly suit you well.  My main reason is not the storage concerns (if you have 25% left plus the backup I wouldn't see it as critical yet)  The fact that you can increase disk I/O is the best thing.  With SATA your hd I/O will increase depending on the level of SATA you go with and or can suppport.  The SATA 2 would be a tremendous increase over ide as well as minimally increasing airflow in case.  (getting rid of the wide floppy does help air to circulate even though minorly).  You will notice a difference in the speed of your computer in nearly all aspects.  Since you already have the usb backup drive you have a place to store a full backup or create an image of your pc and restore from.
If it was me and I had an ide drive with the ability to upgrade to sata I would have already done it.
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jasonr0025Commented:
I meant ribbon cable where I put wide floppy>:}
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi

       After reviewing the feedback thus far, I do have a couple of followup questions.  First, what is the difference between SATA and SATA 2?  And, secondly, will my current motherboard (e.g. VIA KM400 with a 8237 Chipset) support the faster of the two, namely, SATA 2?

        Thank you

        George
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Beachdude67Commented:
I personally hate replacing the hard drive, especially if it happens to be running the operating system. Why not add a 2nd drive? You already know that your system supports it. Just buy a 300GB IDE drive and install it, and move your data to the 2nd drive. 100GB is plenty for Windows and your applications.
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jasonr0025Connect With a Mentor Commented:
I may be wrong but I believe the 8237 only supported the sata 1 (150) standard.  This would mean you could support the SATA 150 which would still increase your speed.
I would say you have an ata100 hdd now and the sata would be 150MBps  In theory this would increase speeds by 50 percent.  SATA 2 would further increase it to 3ooMBps which would have "theroetically" increased it 3 fold.
Hope this helps
Jason
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi Everyone:

       Thanks so much for the followups.  If it would not be too much trouble, could some provide a direct purchase link for a SATA HDD?  I am concerned I may get the wrong one, namely, SATA 2 which may not be supported by my motherboard.

        George
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jasonr0025Commented:
What size do you need.  If you have the cash I would reccommend a wd raptor at 10,000 rpm  It is ubelievable quick and would maxamize the thoroughput of your sata http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822136011 unfortunatly 150GB is large as it comes, but take a look at the access times versus standard 7200rpm drives.  I currently have 2 of these in raid0 and I get roughly 160MBps thuroghput in real world  That is a ton compared to 20 to 40 that you are maybe getting with current drive.
but for general purposes any of these will do http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?N=2010150014+1035907918&Submit=ENE&SubCategory=14
I tend to stick with western digital and seagate as both of these are fine drives/
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi There:

       I was looking for a SATA at 300GB or higher.  Thanks for the links.  Newegg.com is a great online site to purchase computer components.  I have been a repeated user of their products and have always been a satisfied customer.

       I will get back in touch with everyone once I make a final decision.

      Thanks again.

      George
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Gary CaseConnect With a Mentor RetiredCommented:
Hi George ...

First, your motherboard only supports SATA-150, but it's okay to purchase a SATA-II hard drive ==> they are downward compatible, and most of the drives also have a speed-limiting jumper that restricts the transfer rate to the SATA-150 rate (some SATA controllers have problems with the speed negotiation, so this resolves it).

Second ... you don't need a Raptor :-)  I have one and love it ... but since your main goal here is a significant increase in capacity, you should focus on capacity (the Raptors not only don't have the capacity you want; but are also MUCH more expensive/gigabyte).

Third ... I'd get a Seagate, simply for the 5 year warranty.   The "sweet spot" at the moment (best cost/GB) is with the 320GB drives [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822148140] ... but if you want a 400GB one they're not too much more [http://www.directron.com/st3400620as.html].  (Directron is also a good supplier; and is about $20 less than Newegg for this particular drive)

Fourth ... I agree with the comment above that it's best to simply add this as a 2nd hard drive for additional storage.   Not because it's tough to swap the old drive for this one (it's not) ... but because it's simply a good idea.   I'd also dedicate part of this drive for an image of your system drive (which I would also re-partition into two partitions ... but that restructuring is best saved for another question AFTER you have this drive installed :-) ]
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi Everyone:

       After reflecting upon the last two enlightening comments given by Gary, it seems reasonable to sum up hard drive speed as follows:  Given this information, it appears that hard drive speed is a function of how fast the drive itself spins as measured in RPM's.  And, secondly, having a SATA interface with a SATA HDD does not necessarily mean significant increases in seek times of the HDD as compared to IDE interfaces with IDE HDD's.  

        With these tenets in mind, are these general conclusions accurate ones?  Any wrap up thoughts regarding my conclusions are welcomed and certainly will be weighed in when it comes time for me to make a final decision on what HDD to purchase.

        Thank you.

        George

       
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... hard drive speed is a function of how fast the drive itself spins as measured in RPM's. " ==>  Absolutely.   The sustained transfer rate of a drive is determined by how fast it rotates (UNLESS the interface speed is not fast enough to "keep up" with the data coming off the platters => which is NOT a factor with any modern IDE drive (at ATA100 or ATA133 transfer speed).   Rotation speed is not, however, directly tied to access time ... so you do need to look at the access times when comparing drives. (that's a function of the speed of the head positioning mechanism)

"... having a SATA interface with a SATA HDD does not necessarily mean significant increases in seek times of the HDD as compared to IDE interfaces with IDE HDD's. " ==>   There is NO increase in seek time.   The ONLY thing that works faster is transfers between the disk's buffer and the PC's memory.


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jasonr0025Commented:
This may be true in earlier cases but with the introduction of NCQ protocol there is a tremendous advancement in disk I/O in SATA technology.  Heres a comment and a link from seagate concerning the NCQ protocol--which is not supported on Pata ide drives (also Sata and Pata are both IDE drives). "NCQ generates measurable benefits, especially in the area of performance, producing vastly improved performance with highly transactional workloads. The performance benefit can amount to an addition of as much as a 10K SATA drive's performance. NCQ is complementary to several performance-boosting features that are part of the SATA protocol. Additionally, as a result of its command and data handling, NCQ reduces the mechanical wear and tear on drives and improves their endurance. "

As much difference as adding a 10k sata drive----thats impressive.

This may not imply with your senario- but it is a fact.  

A new Sata drive supporting NCQ will be faster in nearly all aspects---do a little reading for yourself.
http://www.seagate.com/products/interface/sata/native.html

Thanks
Jason

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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Native Command Queueing DOES make a big difference with large transactional workloads IF the controller supports it ==> which is NOT the case here.

George ... FYI NCQ works like an elevator (i.e. the accesses are done in a "smart" manner ... thus eliminating a lot of unnecessary seeks if you have a large number of closely-spaced disk accesses to different parts of the disk;  this is generally NOT the case for most home applications ... but certainly can be for transactional applications).
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi Everyone:

        I personally found each response to this question to be informative and enlightening.  Not only did I learn additional details regarding the significance of the numbers commonly used along with the HDD interface standards such as ATA 100, SATA 1, etc., as well explained by Jason, but, I was also able to correct a misconception of my on, namely, believing that SATA HDD's being faster than IDE HDD's.  Thanks Gary for correcting me on this misconception.  I found your explanation regarding this concern to be rational and easy to follow.  Realizing that SATA HDD's are newer with respect to IDE HDD's, I immediately assumed the SATA HDD's would be faster than standard IDE HDD's.  In any case, thanks again for getting me on the right track here, Gary.  

        In closing, I must confess I learned a great deal here.  Thanks again everyone for such an exceptional job!

       George
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