Laptop with new hard drive. What to remember?

Have hp laptop without a hd.  Need to buy one.  Should I buy Ultra ATA, Parallel ATA, Serial ATA or does it matter?  Once I get the new hd installed, does it need to be formatted before installed the OS?
JayMulkeyAsked:
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PCBONEZConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You can use any standard Laptop IDE, 2.5-inch form factor, 9.5mm height drive.
[Most common Laptop drive there is.]

ATA-100 (a.k.a. UDMA-100 or UDMA Mode 5)
-- is 'recommended' and required for over ~120 GB drive.
[ATA-xxx is the interface specification for various IDE type drives.]
[Most new drives are ATA-100 (UDMA-5) or better.]
You may run across ATA/66 (UDMA-4), ATA/100 (UDMA-5), ATA/133 (UDMA-6)
- They will all 'work' but ATA-100 is faster than ATA-66 and an ATA-133 is only going to run at ATA-100 because that's what interface in your Laptop is.

[[ In ATA-xxx, the xxx is basically the speed rating of the interface that moves data on and off the drive. 66=66 Mb/sec, 100=100 Mb/sec, and so on.... - But, usually the transfere rate INSIDE the drive (head to disc) is slower anyway so the faster interface is only good to a point. ]]

[[ ATA-100 and above support "48-bit addressing" - If you think of an address book that lists all the addresses to the 'spots' on your drive,,, well,,, you need a 48-bit "address book" to have enough addresses available to use a ~127 GB or over hard drive. (Some say 137 GB, same issue, bits or bytes and 'real' vs 'advertised' drive size.)

READ! -- To use 48-bit addressing the BIOS in you Laptop must support it. If it does not then you are limited to drives less than 127 GB. (The actual commonly manufactured size would be 120 GB.) ]]

The 4,200 RPM is only the speed of the factory installed drive.
The laptop doesn't 'care' about the speed and faster is better performance wise.
[If the disc spins faster then the heads will get to 'the spot' they need to read on the disc quicker.]
5,400 RPM drives are easy enough to find these days and the cost difference is usually minimal. [There are also 7,200 RPM drives but they can get HOT and are much more expensive.)

Also there is the 'Buffer' (a.k.a. cache). - More is better to a point.
2 Mb is standard and good enough for most people.
8 Mb is common. Slightly more expensive. Usually a noticable improvement. (To me anyway.)
16 Mb is available. More expensive. I've had one and I didn't see much difference between it and a drive with an 8 MB Buffer.
[The Buffer is basically a memory chip on the drive's circuit board that helps in data transfer.]

My recommendation is a 5400-RPM drive with 8MB cache, ATA/100.
[And the required 2.5-inch and 9.5mm height. - Most new IDE drives are.]

I shop here:
http://www.pricewatch.com/

The last few drives new I've bought came from here.
http://www.upgrade-solution.com
Was always a good experience.
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PUNKYCommented:
Depending on the connector type, you will have to buy hard drive correctly type. What is laptop brand/model?
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JayMulkeyAuthor Commented:
hp pavilion ze4630us
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PUNKYCommented:
Your hard drive type is ATA-100 EIDE hard disk drive - 4,200 RPM, 2.5-inch form factor, 9.5mm height based on HP website in the link below:

http://partsurfer.hp.com/cgi-bin/spi/main?sel_flg=partlist&HP_model=DS520UR&modname=HP+Pavilion+ze4630US+notebook+PC+(NA)&plist_styp=subcat&plist_sval=Drive

However, you will look for exactly type of this hard drive for your laptop.

When you have the drive, insert it in properly, and plug OS cd in the DVD/CD and set boot from DVD/CD. You can installation (format will be asked during installation).
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PCBONEZCommented:
Yes - You will need to partition and format the drive to install the OS.
Some OS's do it (or some of it) for you if you can boot to the CD drive.
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PCBONEZCommented:
When you are shopping if you see "Serial ATA-150" or "Serial ATA-300" these are not IDE drives.
They mean SATA-150 and SATA-300
(and I think even that is incorrect terminology).

SATA is yet another ATA specification but they are *not* IDE compatible drives.
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ryanarakCommented:
Just get any Western Digital off of Newegg.com.  Cheap and great drives.
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PCBONEZCommented:
Western Digital is definitely not the price leader when it comes to laptop drives.
They are also rather new to manufacturing laptop drives.
That doesn't make them bad though.
Their reviews are very good.
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PCBONEZCommented:
The only (newer) drives I've heard complaints about are the Samsungs.
They seem to be power hogs.
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