SATA/IDE Compatibility?

Hey everyone, hopefully I can get some help with a few hardware questions I have.

I've been getting nasty grinding noises out of my hard drive lately, and I think it's about to go bye bye. I've got all my important data backed up and I'm looking into buying a new drive.

I have an Asus A7N8X Deluxe mobo which has a Silicon Image Sil3112A SerialATA controller installed.

First off, I plan on upgrading my machine to a core2 or similar machine setup in the next 6 months, but can't afford to do so now. Since it seems like SATA is the way things are moving now, I had thought about buying an SATA drive to replace the one that is failing and then I don't have to spend more money for another drive 6 months down the line that is SATA.

So here are my questions, keeping in mind that all I'm used to is the old standard parallel IDE type hard drives:

1. Will an SATA drive work without any problems with this mobo? I know that it has a controller for it, but I've got zero experience using SATA. Does it just plug in the way an IDE will? Do I have to set up the BIOS so that it knows to look at the SATA for the hard drive?

2. I'm assuming that this controller is the old 1.5 Mbit/s standard, since the board came out in 2004 or so. Will a newer 3 Mb/s HDD work with this board or not?

3. I have a secondary 40 Gb Western Digital internal hard drive set up as a slave drive on my machine, in addition to the master drive that has the operating system on it (the master drive is the one that is failing). Will I be able to use an SATA drive and the WD drive at the same time? I'd like to be able to continue using the WD for storage purposes. If I can't run both an IDE and an SATA drive at the same time, can I get an adapter for the IDE so that I can have it run through the SATA setup?

4. Anyone care to throw out suggestions for a good drive? The one that's failing now is a Maxtor, and is not even 3 years old. The WD is going on 8 years and I've never had any trouble with it. Not sure if I'd go with a Maxtor again, but I'd like to see what the community thinks about manufacturers in general.

Thanks in advance for all your help!
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More about sata compatibility
  1. SATA 3.0 is backwards compatible so it should work but you may have to change the jumpers but you can download the instructions from the mfg. Seagate makes a good drive but all my WDs have worked fine including a SATA. You can use the PATA drive but you'll have to change the jumper to either Master or the other setting, never remember what it's called. There are no Master/Slave with SATA.
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