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installing new hard drive

Old 01-09-02, 08:05 PM
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installing new hard drive

i've decided to replace my current hard drive which has been failing. i was checking out the maxtor 40 GIG drives for about $100. i'm using win 98 and am wondering if there is a size limit on the hard dive it will recognize. if the limit was, say a 30 gig drive, could i still install a 40 or 60 and just reformat and partition it when i upgrade windows?
Old 01-09-02, 08:52 PM
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depends on your motherboard and bios
win98 doesnt have any size restriction (that you will see)

how old is your computer?
Old 01-09-02, 08:57 PM
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it's about 2 years old. it's an AMD k6-2 450 mghz.
Old 01-10-02, 02:28 PM
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Win98 has the FAT32 file format system, which can handle 40 GB in a single partition. As for the large drive itself, if your motherboard doesn't recognize all the space, you can always buy a third-party card like a Promise that plugs into an PCI slot and has the appropriate BIOS, etc. You might want to do this anyways because new hard drives use the ATA100 interface standard, where as an old K6-2 450 machine is likely still on UDMA/33. UDMA/33 works with these drives, but the data transfer rate is much slower.

FYI I replaced an old hard drive in a K6-3 450 a couple of months ago, using a Promise ATA66 controller card. It made a huge difference - apparently the old hard drive was a major bottleneck, and the new drive gave the 2-year-old machine a huge leap in performance.

There's still plenty of life in these old machines!

RD

Last edited by DivxGuy; 01-10-02 at 02:31 PM.
Old 01-10-02, 02:40 PM
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Yep, I just added a ata100 controller to a old P166, mainly to use larger drives (a 40 and 60 gig). Worked out well, I needed something to get me over a coupon minimum, and that did it.

Dave
Old 01-10-02, 08:12 PM
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i have no idea what an ATA 100 controller card is. guess i'm off to do some research. thanks for the info, i'll probably be checking back in.
Old 01-10-02, 08:22 PM
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ok, so i just install one of these in an empty slot and plug my hardrive into it instead of the motherboard? will my current system be able to handle an ATA 100 or would i need a 66? and once i have a 100 or 66, how large can i go with a harddrive in a single partition?
Old 01-10-02, 09:35 PM
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You can use the ATA100, but it will cost more. You can use Pricewatch.com to find lower prices - Promise is a good brand. Once you get it, just put it in an empty PCI slot, and route the cables from the drive to the card, instead of to the motherboard.

I don't know what the max partition size is using FAT32, but it's pretty big; I did one that was 40gb. Problem is, the cluster size increases when you do that, so it might be better to use several smaller partitions instead of one huge one.

RD
Old 01-10-02, 10:37 PM
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i see a promise ATA 66 for $20 at buy.com. 100's can be had for $25. there's also a ATA 133 from SMG, inc for $40. it's probably worth the extra $15 if SMG is a decent brand. any thougths there?
Old 01-10-02, 10:46 PM
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Originally posted by monkeyboy
i see a promise ATA 66 for $20 at buy.com. 100's can be had for $25. there's also a ATA 133 from SMG, inc for $40. it's probably worth the extra $15 if SMG is a decent brand. any thougths there?
depends.. are you actually considering buying a ata133 harddrive? or just want to have the card now, for future consideration?

because the difference in a ata100 and ata133 drive is 50-75% in price, while the speed difference will be virtually unnoticeable with current technologies


in my case.. i would pass on the ata133 card.. because I know that by the time I would be willing to pay the money for an ata133 drive, the motherboards will have them as standard connectors, making the card unnecessary.

with current technology.. you really cant get all of the speed out of an ata100 drive.. in bursts, the ata100 drive is faster.. but I dont think we are to a point where I can see much need for ata133
Old 01-11-02, 12:21 AM
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I'd get the Promise ATA100 (make sure it comes with the special cables). BTW you can get Maxtor 40gb drives for about $70 + shipping, really nice ones that are quiet and very fast.

RD
Old 01-11-02, 12:30 AM
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ok, thanks all for your help. hard drives are something i've been lacking some knowledge in and this thread has been very helpful. i think i'll be going for the promise ATA 100 and a Maxtor 40 GIG.

what 'special cables' should i be looking for with my promise card? won't i just be using the cable that comes with the new hard drive?

Last edited by monkeyboy; 01-11-02 at 12:32 AM.
Old 01-11-02, 01:48 AM
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Originally posted by monkeyboy
ok, thanks all for your help. hard drives are something i've been lacking some knowledge in and this thread has been very helpful. i think i'll be going for the promise ATA 100 and a Maxtor 40 GIG.

what 'special cables' should i be looking for with my promise card? won't i just be using the cable that comes with the new hard drive?
I hate to disagree but i think the promise controller is a waste of money. your system is slow so i doubt you will notice the speed difference from ata 100 or ata 66 or even ata 33. the biggest speed change you will notice is going from your old slow hard drive to a newer 7200 RPM hard drive.

I would buy a nice maxtor 40 GB hard drive. use the disk that comes with it to partition it and see if it works. I bet it does. If it does not i bet a bios upgrade will allow you to use it.

when you get a new computer you will have many that have built in promise or similar controllers on the newer motherboards making the controller unnecessary in a new computer.
Old 01-11-02, 04:10 AM
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I hate to disagree but i think the promise controller is a waste of money. your system is slow so i doubt you will notice the speed difference from ata 100 or ata 66 or even ata 33. the biggest speed change you will notice is going from your old slow hard drive to a newer 7200 RPM hard drive.
Even on a 450Mhz, the hard drive is a bottleneck, and the new ATA100 units make a big difference. Although the cheaper units like the Maxtor 40-gigs spin at 5400 RPM, the higher data density rate on the single platters means that data can be read very quickly, in some cases more quickly than 7200 RPM units with multiple platters.

I put one of these in a K6-3 450, which isn't that much quicker than a K6-2, and it made a very noticeable difference in the speed of the machine. So much so that I wish I could replace the 30-gig 7200 RPM unit in this machine with one.

RD
Old 01-11-02, 04:29 AM
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now i'm a little confused. the 5400 could actually be faster than the 7200 in my system? the 40 gig maxtor at 7200 isn't really that much more expensive, but now i'm wondering which i should get.
Old 01-11-02, 07:40 AM
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Originally posted by monkeyboy
now i'm a little confused. the 5400 could actually be faster than the 7200 in my system? the 40 gig maxtor at 7200 isn't really that much more expensive, but now i'm wondering which i should get.
he is saying using ata100 instead of ata66 could make more of a difference then using 7200rpm instead of 5400rpm

not sure if I agree with that statement, but

if you can get the 7200rpm drive, and run it at ata100.. then it will be the best of both worlds
Old 01-11-02, 02:38 PM
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I'm saying that a new 5400-RPM drive could be faster than older 7200-RPM ones. Speeding up the drive platter is not the only way to increase the rate at which data passes under the read/write heads; increasing the data densisty of the drive (which has been done on these new 5400-RPM units) is another way. When the latter is done, the amount of data moving under the read/write head for a given amount of platter movement increases. In addition to this, the new drives may only use one platter, which means fewer read/write heads, eliminating the slowdowns that come with having to deal with too many of them.

I should post a link to that article on the new hard drives that I found, but I lost it.

In summary, a $70 Maxtor 40-gig drive coupled with a Promise ATA100 card should give your K6-2 a stiff boost in performance, both real and perceived.

RD
Old 01-12-02, 02:57 AM
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Originally posted by DivxGuy
Even on a 450Mhz, the hard drive is a bottleneck, and the new ATA100 units make a big difference. Although the cheaper units like the Maxtor 40-gigs spin at 5400 RPM, the higher data density rate on the single platters means that data can be read very quickly, in some cases more quickly than 7200 RPM units with multiple platters.

I put one of these in a K6-3 450, which isn't that much quicker than a K6-2, and it made a very noticeable difference in the speed of the machine. So much so that I wish I could replace the 30-gig 7200 RPM unit in this machine with one.

RD
I agree that if you are going to buy an older 7200 RPM hard drive from a year or two ago vs getting the newest 5400 RPM drive the newer 5400 drive might be faster due to improvements in techology from the manufacturer.

However if you buy a 7200 RPM drive vs the 5400 RPM drive made right now and using current technology the 7200 RPM drive will cost a bit more and will perform better.

I still believe that the promise card will not cause his system to run much faster at all. frankly I would buy the 7200 RPM drive and see how the performance is. if you are satisfied then do not waste the money on the promise controller. i do not think he will notice much performance gain from the controller in his older system.

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