So, I was a Sandy Bridge early adopter, and I've neglected to arrange for a motherboard replacement through the company I purchased it from, as I've had neither the time nor the inclination to essentially rebuild my entirely functional PC. Assuming that I'm going to stick with what I've got, I'm at kind of a crossroads when it comes to storage options. I've got a 120GB SSD on my SATA 0, and a 1TB HDD on my SATA 1 which is ~85% full. From what I've read, my SATA ports 2-5 have about a 5-15% chance of becoming utterly unusable over the next 3 years; I've got my optical drive in one of those ports, but I barely use the thing. I have the feeling that I'm going to plow through my remaining storage space in the coming months, and so I'm trying to determine what I want to drop money on.
Option 1: Buy whatever multi-terabyte internal drive my heart desires and plug it right on up to one of those doomed SATA ports
Pros: Fairly convenient, going to give me the fastest transfer rate possible unless the SATA port explodes, plethora of options (likely concentrated on 2TB-3TB), possibility of buying another 1TB HDD and putting it in a RAID 0 configuration with my other HDD
Cons: Constantly expecting to be plagued with hardware issues, possibly have to wind up shelling out for an external enclosure or PCI controller card after tech issues arise, RAID configuration pretty much a non-starter given the degree of uncertainty.
Option 2: Buy an external hard drive Pros: Definitely the most convenient route, probably pretty fast transfer rate if I spring for a USB 3.0 version, most portable option if that matters at all, can disconnect and keep as static backup when not in use
Cons: Probably the most expensive solution if I want to go 2TB-3TB with a USB 3.0 connection, I don't know if the transfer rate's going to stand up to SATA since my decrepit Western Digital external HDD bogged down my start-up so much that it remains perpetually unplugged
Option 3: Buy a Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB HDD with included PCI controller Pros: A ton of storage space, sidesteps the SATA chipset issue as I understand it, probably a faster transfer rate than an external HDD unless I'm completely underestimating the capability of USB 3.0
Cons: About 149.99 on Amazon and Newegg, slightly more involved installation that will probably necessitate the removal of a vestigial LAN card, neither as fast of a transfer rate as the motherboard SATA port nor the convenience of a USB 3.0 connection
If anyone has any experience with a USB 3.0 external HDD, or with that particular Western Digital HDD with the PCI controller, or if anyone thinks that I'm exaggerating the failure rate of the Sandy Bridge chipset, I'd really appreciate any input that you guys could offer.
Components can fail at any time, but you are looking at a much higher rate. If I were you I would have already replaced the MB, but as my next option I would purchase a PCIe SATA 3.0 card and move all my SATA drives to it.