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About Drives

Desktop IDE/ATA Drives

All IDE/ATA drives have the same interface, a 40pin connector, with a power connector.

Listed below are the different specifications for a drive:

  • Interface
  • Height
  • Transfer Rate
  • Cache Buffer
  • Average Access Time
  • Rotational Speed

They come in several different variations of the interface:

XT-IDE, AT-IDE, E-IDE, ATA/33, ATA/66, ATA/100, ATA/133

(XT-IDE being the oldest and slowest . . . ATA/133 being the newest and fastest)

The numbers listed after the ATA (ie: ATA/66, ATA/100) specify the transfer rate between the host (controller) and drive.

All variations of the interfaces will work in any system, but only as fast as your IDE controller will allow. You may check the transfer rate your system will allow by checking the manufacturers web site. If you have an older computer there is no need to buy the newest drives because you will just spend more money for capabilities your system will not allow. If you are unsure, it won't hurt to get an interface faster than your system.

Desktop drives can vary in height. The three different heights made are 3/4", 1", and 1.6". The majority of drives are 1" tall. The 3/4" drives were only made for a select few systems.The 1.6" drives were the original drives made and are generally not used because they take up too much space in the system.

The cache buffer size varies from 32k to 8MB. The more cache memory your drive has, the faster your access time will be.

The average access time varies from 8ms to 28ms. The lower the millisecond, the faster the access time will be.

The rotational speed varies from 3000RPM to 7200RPM. The higher the RPM, the faster your access time will be.

For example, if you want the latest, greatest drive, you will want to purchase a drive that has the highest transfer rate (ie:ATA/133), the highest cache buffer size (ie:8MB), the fastest average access time (ie:8ms), and the fastest rotational speed (ie:7200RPM)

Another important issue when upgrading your computer is whether your current BIOS will support a larger capacity drive. Please read the BIOS Limitations document.

If you are unsure of what drive to purchase and would like assistance, please feel free to contact our sales specialists. Email: Phone: 877-738-6900 Toll Free Outside California or 818-718-6900 Inside California.

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