Confused by disk types

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WelshCanadian

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Dec 4, 2006
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Guys:
What's the difference between SATA IDE EIDE PATA (and a few others I'm sure)?
I want to exchange the 60Gb disk in my PC for a larger one but I don't know what to shop for. How do I find what is compatible with my very second hand Dell desktop?
Thanks!!!
 
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IDE , EIDE, and PATA are all basically different names for the same thing. They follow the evolution of the Advanced Technology Attachment for Integrated Drive Electronics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Technology_Attachment
These are all Parrallel communications connectors for drives which have their own controllers on board.
As noted in the chart they have 16 (numbered 0-15 ) wires used for data transfer. This allows them to transfer data 16 bits (two Bytes) at a time to or from the drive.
Initially they were slow 33MHz, but improved to 66, 100 and eventually 133MHz communication speed.

Sustained data transfer rates are limited by mechanical hard drives themselves, not the interfaces: the fastest modern desktop hard drives transfer data at a maximum of about 118 MB/s well below 133MHz


Also you can only have two devices on a cable and only one of them can be using it at a time.
So they reached a speed limitation where very high speed drives were on the verge of being able to read and write data faster then they could send or receive it.

So the next generation came along. Instead of parrallel communications, they adopted serial communications like networks and modems use.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SATA

SATA has several advantages. One is that with fewer wires, the cross talk issue is easier to solve (crosstalk occurs when fast flowing data on one wire causes an induced current which appears to be mirrored data on the adjacent wire thus messing it up or requiring every other wire to be unused hence the 80 wire 40 pin IDE cable)
The first generation of SATA (Sata/150 or SATA I) operated at a nominal 1.5Gbps communications speed (actual data transfer rate of 1.2Gbps after all the overhead of the setup was considered)
 

WelshCanadian

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Dec 4, 2006
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Great - thanks! How can I find what's compatible with my PC? Is there a FW scanner I can use?
 

fairnooks

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Oct 1, 2007
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Take the cover off the side (or however it comes apart) and find where the drive is and look at the cables coming out of them. If they are IDE the data ribbon going to the motherboard will most likely be wide and flat or more neatly rounded but there will still be a large retangular terminus at the drive and motherboard connection. IF its SATA then there will just be a flat, approximately 1 cm wide cable coming from the drive and going to a comensurately small port on the motherboard.
 

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