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adding a second hard drive

Discussion in 'PC hardware help' started by michelle9, Jun 6, 2004.

  1. michelle9

    michelle9 Member

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    I would like to add a 160gb hard drive to my computer for video editing and copying my dvds. The drive i'm looking at is an internal drive, but i'm thinking i would like to turn it into an external drive, other than a cooling fan and an external case is there anything else like cables or racks that i would need? There's nothing i hate more than getting a new toy in the mail and it turns out i was supposed to buy another bit of equiptment for it, i live out in the middle of nowhere, i can't just run out and buy it. also, my os is windows me, i've heard tell that may cause problems...thank you. Michelle
     
  2. The_OGS

    The_OGS Active member

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    Hi michelle9,
    most people have a 'controller crunch' and this limits you to four devices. SerialATA controllers are now appearing on motherboards, and this is a good thing.
    You would add your new 160GB as the master on the secondary controller (just like your c: harddisk is the master on the primary controller). Then, you could still hookup one or two optical drives as slaves, like maybe a burner and a DVD.
    An external harddisk is cool (kewl?), and offers the obvious advantage of portability between PCs. They cost more, and typically hookup using USB2.0 but are a little slower than a 'real' (internal) one. You will also require USB2.0 hardware, which is supported only under Win2K / XP.
    Just get a regular ol' harddisk for maximum cost-effective performance or if you don't have the latest hardware and OS.
    Having two harddisks is great for your performance (as long as they are on different controllers). When processing video or whatever, one reads and the other writes. Your OS is on one, put your swap-file on the other.
    Just switch any CDRom currently on your secondary controller to be a slave.
    Regards
     
  3. Praetor

    Praetor Moderator Staff Member

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    You should probably make it the slave on the primary controller since channels are limited by the slowest device on that channel (supposedly although ive never noticed, it doesn't hurt to be safe)

    :)
     
  4. The_OGS

    The_OGS Active member

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    You don't want 2 HDs sharing a controller. Your performance increase comes from the system's ability to access both devices simultaneously, which it can do when they each have a controller. Then you slave your DVD to the HD on the other controller from the disk you want to write VOB files to, so again one controller reads, the other writes.
    You can always tell a 'quickie' upgrade because you'll find the CDRom still a master, and the second HD slaved to the first...
    UltraDMA mode 5 master and UDMA 2 (DVD) slave play nice together; the HD is not limited to the bandwidth of the slower device.
     
  5. hogan

    hogan Regular member

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    I didn't know this The_OGS. I have two HDs on the same controller. I will fix that problem tomorrow. Too late to start that now. Thanks for the advice I didn't know I needed. Hogan
     
  6. Praetor

    Praetor Moderator Staff Member

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    True however if you've got ATA33 devices on that same chain then you get limited (supposedly -- heck I don't notice one way or another).

    So i guess it comes down to how much you use your optical drives? :)
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    Last edited: Jun 6, 2004
  7. The_OGS

    The_OGS Active member

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    When your DVD is reading and your HD is writing, and they are on the same controller, then yes you are limited to the throughput of the slowest device.
    If you are playing DeusEx with the CD in place, again you wouldn't want it in the drawer that is slaved to the HD that the game is on - ideally it would be in the drive slaved to the other controller.
    I have a 2GB system partition containing boot files, a 78GB boot partition containing system files, and a 120GB HD on the second controller. I have my DVD slaved to the secondary and CD-RW slaved to the primary. What you can see is that if I burn stuff from the secondary HD and rip VOBs onto the primary HD, then each device effectively has its own controller during the event.
    Therefore if I play DeusEx I have two drawers to choose from for the game CD, so I would want both controllers involved if possible.
    Likewise, your game will not freeze briefly when the system accesses the swapfile: it can play the game and swap simultaneously, y'know?
    (LoL) As if you guys with 1GB+ of memory need a swapfile...! But for average (or older) PC this is a breakthrough in performance. If I upgrade a guy from 64MB to 128MB and put an old ($20) small HD on his secondary controller with a 512MB permanent swapfile, the transformation is startling; he's gone to 'memory heaven'!
    Lotsa people still using Pentium2 400s or whatever,
    I went through university with a 286-12MHz (LoL)
    L8R
     
  8. Praetor

    Praetor Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes we do. Try playing UT2004 with settings ramped to max and you will quickly see why a ~300MB pagefile is still needed. Hell a ~100MB pagefile is still needed at the 1.5GB mark. Only when there's about 2GB onboard then one can dispense with the pagefile :)

    LOL to be honest I cant tell the bloody difference -- I used to have my config as 1:0-HDD, 1:1-Optical, 2:0-HDD, 2:1-Optical and then because I switched cases and it helped with the wiring and folding of cables ive moved to a 1:0-HDD, 1:1-HDD, 2:0-Optical, 2:1-Opitcal and cant bloody tell the difference (only because HDDs never operate anywhere near their spec'd speed anyways)

    Agreed but get this, with a P133/12x i didnt have any skip but when i had my P3-800/40x I lagged out like a mofo :p
     
  9. michelle9

    michelle9 Member

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    Ahem...you know that tag that says "newbie" under my user name is there for a reason...if I understood(doubtful) correctly, I should just pay the extra $100.- for an external drive. I was actually looking at a firewire connection as I don't have USB 2.0, my computer being 4 1/2 years old. Now that I consider the matter more carefully however, if I go with an external drive I will have no problems when I upgrade to a better computer. In fact, except for the extra memory, everything I've bought has been either a PCI card or an external drive, so maybe I should start saving up for a new computer...I digress, so if I buy an external drive with a firewire connection all I have to do is plug it in and I'm ready to go? I already have a CD writer, a DVD player in the computer and an external DVD burner used via Firewire, will a new hard drive be too much now? I'm thinking of that "controller crunch" you mentioned. Sorry, I studied your answers for 15 min. and I'm still a little hazy on that one... Thank you, Michelle
     
  10. Praetor

    Praetor Moderator Staff Member

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    Everyone gets roughly the same amount of respect and time dedicated to a post as far as Im concerned (to be honest I usually look at the rank after I've posted)

    I would reccomend you get something like the ADS Dual Link Drive Kit ( http://www.everythingusb.com/hardware/index/ADS_Dual_Link_Drive_Kit.htm ) or the Belkin equivalent ( http://www.everythingusb.com/hardware/index/Belkin_Hi-Speed_USB_2.0_External_Drive_Kit.htm ) ... I know Belkin is a reputable name and I have personal experience with the ADS unit and its quite a solid buy. I would reccommend this technique because you can use any normal internal harddrive you want without having to pay silly prices for a premade external version.

    If you choose the route of something like the ADS/Belkin, that unit can be "worked into" the newer system as you transition from the old to the new and it doesnt add a significant expense as far as trying to keep the old computer viable.

    Pretty much. If you are running an older operating system however then you may need to deal with drivers etc.

    If I'm not mistaken in guessing, you only have one harddrive right now, which means you still have one slot free on one of your two IDE controllers. The firewire/usb2 can stack upon each other so there shouldnt be a significant controller problem there.

    Don't be sorry -- of the hundreds of posts I go through, its a pleasure to see people trying to help themselves for a change and not demand spoonfeeding.
     
  11. michelle9

    michelle9 Member

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    Ha ha, I've got reams of paper littering my office trying to figure all this out! Thank you for the drive kit pointer, the ADS one has a fan so I think I'll go with that. The prices of the internal hard drives are so much nicer! Even adding the expence of the kit you still come out ahead. Thanks! Michelle
     
  12. Praetor

    Praetor Moderator Staff Member

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    Im glad I could help! :) If you've got questions, ask away! :)
     

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