Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

New EIDE hard drive for Dell 4550

Last response: in Storage
Share
July 21, 2007 11:48:57 AM

I have a 5 year old Dell 4550 running Windows XP-SP2 with a 2.0 GHz P4 and 1GB of RAM.
I've only got 9GB of space left on my 40GB EIDE hard drive so I figure it's time to think about adding more storage. The drive is a WD400BB 7200 with 2mb cache.
I use the system for business applications, desktop publishing, photoshop and graphic app's plus web browsing & email. I don't want to spend a lot since it probably won't be too long before I start thinking about a new system.
I've been reading reviews and forum postings on this and other sites and although I know more now than when I started, I still not quite sure of the best path to follow. One problem with reading reviews, just as I get to the point where I think I've got the answer I'll come upon a contradictory review and without the personal experience it's hard to know what to think.
I've narrowed my search down to a choice between a Western Digital Caviar SE EIDE or a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 Ultra ATA/100 at 160 GB or 250 GB.
Any thoughts on which is the more reliable and /or better performer?
Are there other drives I should consider?
Should I be replacing or adding another drive?
I've read a few postings suggeting putting the OS and applications on one disk and data on the larger one. Good idea? Or would it be better to put the OS and app's on a partition on the new drive?
The whole RAID thing is not quite clear to me. Would one of the RAID configurations be the way to go?
So many questions... and I'm sure I don't even know all that there is to ask.

July 21, 2007 3:09:06 PM

RATTY said:
I have a 5 year old Dell 4550 running Windows XP-SP2 with a 2.0 GHz P4 and 1GB of RAM.
I've only got 9GB of space left on my 40GB EIDE hard drive so I figure it's time to think about adding more storage. The drive is a WD400BB 7200 with 2mb cache.
I use the system for business applications, desktop publishing, photoshop and graphic app's plus web browsing & email. I don't want to spend a lot since it probably won't be too long before I start thinking about a new system.
I've been reading reviews and forum postings on this and other sites and although I know more now than when I started, I still not quite sure of the best path to follow. One problem with reading reviews, just as I get to the point where I think I've got the answer I'll come upon a contradictory review and without the personal experience it's hard to know what to think.
I've narrowed my search down to a choice between a Western Digital Caviar SE EIDE or a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 Ultra ATA/100 at 160 GB or 250 GB.
Any thoughts on which is the more reliable and /or better performer?
Are there other drives I should consider?
Should I be replacing or adding another drive?
I've read a few postings suggeting putting the OS and applications on one disk and data on the larger one. Good idea? Or would it be better to put the OS and app's on a partition on the new drive?
The whole RAID thing is not quite clear to me. Would one of the RAID configurations be the way to go?
So many questions... and I'm sure I don't even know all that there is to ask.


http://www.frys.com/product/5090665
a b G Storage
July 21, 2007 4:06:15 PM

For a 5 year old system, just about anything that fits your budget/space requirements will be fine. Any 7200 rpm Seagate, Maxtor, Samsung, they are all about the same. The link posted above is nice drive for a good price.
Don't bother thinking about RAID. 5 year old system + coming off a 40 gig drive means you have no use for it. You have no RAID controllers on your motherboard, which means you'll have to buy an add-in PCI controller card and your system is old and pretty slow by todays standards, and well, just take my advice RAID is not for you.
You'll see a nice little performance boost (not huge, but nice) with any new drive you decide to get over what you have now.

Oh, and just take the new drive and use the utilities that come with it, or download the free version of Acronis True Image (I like this program, it is very easy to use, fast, and works perfectly-trial version good for 30 days) before you get your new drive. I really see no reason to keep the old 40 gig you have now. It's pretty slow/small and outdated. Just install the new drive, mirror your 40 gig over to the new one, and pull the 40 gig out, set the new one as your master boot drive, and bingo, you are jammin.
Related resources
July 21, 2007 4:14:59 PM

OP can always make an external drive out it when He gets a new system. Yeah, any 7200 8 MB transfer drive will be a big improvement from what you have. The link listed is 16 mb transfer.
a b G Storage
July 21, 2007 4:25:52 PM

And...one more thing. Your BIOS in that old Dell may not recoginze a new drive that big on it's own. You may have to manually set the number of heads, cylinders, etc. in your BIOS, if Dell allows you to do this. Someone else may have better knowledge of this situation with your Dell, but I would go into the BIOS and see if you can change these settings manaully. Then again, it may detect it just fine, but definetly check that out before you run out and buy something.
Anyone else have any help here?
July 30, 2007 11:13:25 AM


So I bought the WD Caviar SE 160GB drive, updated the BIOS, and used Acronis True Image to transfer my system
from the old drive to the new one. After completing the cloning I removed the old drive and rebooted the system and everything appears to be running just fine.
Now, what to do with the old drive.?
How long should I keep the old drive intact in case the new drive should fail?
Should I put it in an external enclosure to use for backups? If so could you recomend one?
Put back in the case installed as a slave and use for backups or to store an image of the system?
I really appreciate the opportunity to draw on the experience of those who have been down this road before.

Thanks, John
a b G Storage
July 30, 2007 11:35:14 AM

I hooked my old drive up and copied everything I have that I don't want to lose, like my music library, pictures, important documents etc. Then I simply unplug it and leave it in the case. Once in a while I plug it back in to update it, but I figure leaving it unhooked from the system and power minimizes any chance of something happening to it.
!