Getting a internal second hard drvie

Ive used up most of the space on my current hard drive and im planning on buying a second one, is there any specific requirements for buying one like compatibilitie issues?
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  1. COOL1AIR1 said:
    Ive used up most of the space on my current hard drive and im planning on buying a second one, is there any specific requirements for buying one like compatibilitie issues?

    Check whether you have spare SATA or IDE connectors and power connectors in your computer so you know what type of drive to buy, also I suggest that you buy a drive of 2TB or less to avoid compatibility problems.
  2. If you have a choice of data interface connectors to use on your mobo, get a SATA drive rather than IDE. IDE is fading out, so future systems may not have easy ways to use such drives.

    When you do get a new drive, read through this sticky by WyomingKnott at the top of the Storage ... General Discussion forum:

    It will guide you on how to get the new drive set up for use.
  3. When i looked inside my computer i didnt see any spare cables and i saw when of the cables said IDE but there was spare wires connectors kinda confused with the wiring
  4. OK, you need help identifying drive types. You do it by looking at the back of the drive unit.

    An IDE drive has one power supply connector (normally near one edge) which has 4 pins in a straight line sticking out. It has a connector from the PSU plugged into it. Near it is a connector with two rows of 20 pins each (one is missing usually), and into this is plugged a wide connector on the end of a ribbon cable. The ribbon cable is for data, and it should have 80 wires in it, even though there are only 40 pins on the connector. (To check, start counting wires across. If you get to 20 and are only ¼ of the way across, you have a 80-conductor ribbon cable.) The data cable goes to an IDE port on the mobo. They only fit into the connectors one way.

    A SATA drive has power and data connectors, too. Both are on ribbon-style cables. The power connector coming from the PSU is wider and has 15 wires in its cable; the data cable has only 7 wires in it. It goes to a SATA port on the mobo.

    ANY IDE port can support up to TWO drives on one data cable. For this purpose, the ribbon cable normally has three connectors on it. The blue one on one end goes to the mobo port. The black one on the other end goes to the Master device on the cable. The grey connector in the middle of the ribbon goes to the Slave device IF there is one. (An IDE port MUST have a Master device, and MAY have a Slave device.) The Master and Slave functions are set by adjusting a jumper on pins on the back edge of the drive unit, near the other connectors. On some machines I have seen an IDE ribbon cable with no middle connector when only one HDD is in the machine. BUT that is not a limit - simply getting the correct 80-conductor IDE cable with three connectors will allow you to connect a second IDE drive on that cable and port, as long as you set up the Master and Slave jumpers properly.

    Most older mobos had two IDE port connectors on the, often with a slightly smaller but similar connector next to them for a floppy drive.

    SATA ports are different. Each can only handle ONE drive, so there is no such thing as Master and Slave, and no jumper to set, and the data cables have only two connectors on their ends. So you connect each SATA device to its own port on the mobo. Because of this, most mobos have at least 4 such ports, often more, if they have any at all.

    If you need more help figuring this out, post here the make and model number of your computer or mobo, and we can get specific. There are some other questions to check. For example, if you have a really old machine, you would need to check for something called "48-bit LBA Support" on your IDE ports, and in your Operating System. The exact mobo identity info can get us those answers.
  5. Dell dimension 4550 , Intel Pentium 4 CPU 1.80 GHz , 512 Mb ram, ATI RADEON Rage 128 II 32mb, AGP 2.0 4x

    (my motherboard and specs)part 1: [...] rd-Review/
    part 2: [...] ew/?page=2
    part 3: [...] ew/?page=3
  6. Thanks for the info - I looked at the Dell site for details. The machine dates from the early 2000's, and the latest BIOS update is from 2003.

    Your mobo has ONLY IDE ports- you cannot use SATA drives unless you also buy and install a SATA controller in one of the PCI slots. I suggest you stick with IDE. That means you can have up to 4 IDE devices - two on each port. Each port should (or can) have an 80-conductor ribbon cable with three 40-pin connectors as I outlined before. When using these, it is important that each device be identified as either Master or Slave by setting a jumper on pins on the back of the device. According to the manuals at the Dell site, they use the "CS" (Cable Select) method for this. That is, ALL devices on the IDE ports MUST have their jumper set to the "CS" position. (To check this, consult the diagram on each device - do not use settings from one device for another, because there is no "standard" set of settings.) When they are ALL set this way, the device on the END of each cable will automatically be that port's Master, and the one on the middle will be the port's Slave.

    So, do you already have 4 IDE devices taking up all the possible connectors, or is there at least one empty? If there's an empty one, you can connect a second drive easily. Now, if your system has one hard drive and one optical drive, they probably are sharing the same cable on IDE port 1. So there may be NO cable and devices on the second IDE port at all. In that case you will need to buy a standard 80-conductor IDE data ribbon cable from any computer parts place. You also need to plug into your new drive a power supply 4-pin Molex connector coming from the PSU. It will look exactly like the one(s) on the back corner of your exiting IDE drive(s). If there is an unused one on the wires coming from your PSU, you can use that. If not, buy an adapter at a computer shop that converts one 4-pin Molex into two. Disconnect one of the Molex's in use now, plug in the adapter, then use the two resulting connectors to power two IDE devices.

    The manual on the Dell website shows clearly how to find and attach to a new HDD the two mounting strips that fasten onto the side of the HDD so you can slip them into their holder slots. That is how you physically mount the drive. Then you connect the power supply Molex and the 40-pin ribbon cable.

    Choosing the HDD gets us to a significant question. First of all, it MUST be an IDE type, and it really ought to be the "standard" desktop physical size, aka 3½". Capacity, though, is where the question comes up. In the 1990's the method of using hard drives became what is called "LBA" for Logical Block Addressing, and at that time they referred to this as "supports large hard drives". Back then, "large" meant up to about 500 MB! Drives did get bigger, but the original LBA system is limited to a max of 137 GB (the way a HDD maker labels their items). Windows calls this 128 GB because it uses a different definition of "GB". As drives got even bigger, there was an update to the LBA system around 2000. It changed from 28-bit to 48-bit. So, to use the new drives larger than 137 GB, you have to have "48-bit LBA Support" in three places. Note that plain "LBA support" or "support for large drives" is not enough.) You need it in the drive (obviously, any drive over 137 GB will have it), in the drive controller (in your case, that's a chip on the mobo and the BIOS that runs it), and in the Operating System. Many machines made with only IDE ports in the late 1990's did NOT have this feature in them. BUT many also could be updated to include this by programming into it a new version of the BIOS. From the Dell website it is not clear whether your machine has this feature already; nor is it clear whether the updated BIOS from 2003 adds this feature. You will have to consult Dell's Tech Support people to find out whether you machine has already, or can be updated to, "48-bit LBA Support".

    If your machine has or gets this feature, then we need to look at your Operating System. Up to the original version of Win XP, 48-bit LBA Support was NOT included. It WAS added in Service Pack 1 and has been maintained in all Windows versions since then. So, IF you are using the ORIGINAL version of Win XP with NO Service Packs installed, you MUST update your Windows to Service Pack 3 before trying to add a large HDD. If you have Vista or Win 7, you already have it so don't worry.

    Now, if you do have the required 48-bit LBA Support in the machine's BIOS and in your OS, you really should have no limit on the capacity of HDD you can buy and use. Just to be sure, ask Dell's Tech Support what max HDD size you can install. But you should be able to use any IDE drive on the market now, although I'd suggest you stick to no larger than 2 TB.

    HOWEVER, if you cannot get that required 48-bit LBA support in your machine, you MUST limit your HDD to 137 GB or less. That's actually hard to find these days. I did it a few years ago on a much older machine for which there was no updated BIOS with that feature. I used a trick offered in many Seagate HDD's. I bought a 160 GB Seagate IDE HDD. One feature it has, accessible by downloading from their website their Seatools for DOS utility, is the ability to set the maximum size of the drive. Using this you set, actually, the largest number of sectors it can use. Since the older LBA system used a 28-bit binary number for this purpose, the max is 2^28, or 268,435,456 sectors. (A sector holds 512 bytes, so this becomes 137,438,953,472 bytes - see where the 137 GB limit comes from?) Once this is set, the HDD unit always tells the rest of the world is is a 137 GB unit and behaves that way. It is completely compatible with older LBA systems. (The utility used to set this also has a second tool that allows you to reset the HDD to its original max size later, if you need to.)

    So to summarize:
    1. You need a 3½" desktop IDE hard drive with capacity subject to the following considerations.
    2. Ask Dell whether your machine had "48-bit LBA Support", and, if not, whether it can be added by updating its BIOS. Also ask them what is the max HDD capacity it can handle.
    3. IF you cannot use 48-bit LBA, search out a HDD with capacity not over 137 GB. Alternatively, try my trick with a Seagate drive that is slightly larger and limit it.
    4. If you CAN use drives over 137 GB, find one that suits you. Bear in mind any odd limit Dell may tell you, but you should be OK up to 2 TB.
    5. Remember to set the jumper on the drive to "CS" when you install it.

    Once you have the drive installed physically and connected, it still will NOT show up when you boot your machine! It will need to be prepared first by creating on it a Partition (or more than one) and Formatting it (them). For guidance on this, see WyomingKnott's sticky at the top of the Storage ... General Forum here on Tom's:

    Pay special attention to his Step Five.

    One way that many people update their old smaller HDD's is to CLONE their older unit to the new one, and have the new one take over as the C: drive you boot from. Then the older drive can be re-used for something, or even removed completely. The new drive, of course, gives you a MUCH larger C: drive to use. If you want guidance on this option, post here and we can tell you how. One hint: the software tools to do this is available FREE from Seagate if you buy one of their drives, or from WD if you buy one of theirs. Some other HDD makers also may have free cloning tools available on their website, so look for that as you choose your new HDD.
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