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Need some advice on a Hard Drive situation please. (Long Read)

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by BigJohn82, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. BigJohn82 New Member

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    So heres the situation. I originally bought a Dell 3000 computer about 3 years ago thinking that a pci video card was fine and that a 40GB HD was more then enough. When I found out how bad pci sucked, I went ahead and bought a refurbished Dell 8300 for only 460 bucks which at the time was a deal and a half and I couldnt find anything better for the price. I was on a budget both times, and both systems were cheap, and I have no regrets buying either, especially my 8300 as its treated me well the last 2 years and has accepted all upgrades ive wanted to do. So when I got that, I passed the 3000 on to my Wife.

    My wife plays games like Sims2 and Roller Coaster Tycoon and manages her digital pictures and does a lot of net surfing and forum posting so the 3000 with an upgraded Geforce FX 5500 has done fine. But now, that 40GB HD has only 3.5GBs left of space with a possible 1-2 more after I finish resizing all her digital pictures. Ive found another 8300 that id like to get her that comes with a P4 3.0, 1.5GB PC3200 Ram, and a 160GB Hd for only 350, but she wont let me buy it as we are on a very tight budget right now and will be for some time. She has given me the go on doing something about the HD only though, as much as id rather just get her the 8300 and stick my X700 Pro in it (just upgraded to an X800GTO 16 Pipes..... WHAT A DIFFERENCE THAT HAS MADE!!!!), it just doesnt seem like an option that shes gonna let me do. So please advise me on what to do:

    1) Buy an external HD or a Sata HD and an external enclosure. Not sure which is safest as far as least likely to crash and lose all date, but either would be reusable later on when we do get her a new computer. So opinions would be great here.

    2) Buy another EIDE internal HD to add to her computer, though id have to order the HD braket to add it to the system which would cost about 10-12 bucks on ebay with shipping.

    3) Buy an EIDE internal HD to replace the current one and find a computer shop that can do an exact HD copy including OS and everything from her current HD to the new one. I have no idea what this would cost though to have done if it can be done by someone.

    4) This is a question regarding EIDE cables. Do HDs and CDRoms use two different types of cables? I tried taking a CDRom ribbon cable to temp add my old Maxtor Ultra ATA 13.6GB Hd to her comp (her current HD cable only has one plug) and when I do it ends up saying both HDs are unknown and that theres no boot drive. Im not sure if the cable is the wrong type or if im not changing something in the bios before I put the HD in or if im hooking up the HDs wrong on the cable, but the last time I used the Ultra ATA in my 8300 as backup for something when I had some system restore problems, I unhooked one of my roms and plugged it in there(mine uses Sata,hers doesnt) set as a slave and it worked fine. Im just baffled by it, but im thinking its got something to do with the cable.

    Thanks for anyone that takes the time to read this and help me out. I really want to make the best decision possible.

    Thanks
    John
     
  2. Frogger

    Frogger

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    #3 is your cheapest option at based on your {wife} restrictions. most drives these days you can download a utility that will image it for a drive swap.;) easy to do yourself:D

    yes most older cdrom cables are 40wire you should try useing an 80wire cable with the master on the end plug and the slave on plug 2....hope this helps F
     
  3. BigJohn82 New Member

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    Frogger,

    Thanks for getting back with a quick reply. About the cable, where would be the best place to pick one up pretty cheap? We have some computer stores here in Reno and have a CompUSA and I think CompUSA has them but wants like 15 bucks for one. Let me know if you think I should try just a small computer store. And also, how do you tell the difference between a between the 2 cables? Is there an obvious difference in a 40 and 80 wire ribbon cable? Also, when I tried hooking up the 13.6 I had that at the end and the master boot in the middle plug, should I retry it and put the master on the end?

    As far as the disk imaging goes, can you recommend a free or cheap utility that will get the job done and possibly give me a quick idea/walkthrough on how to go about it? Im no expert when it comes to computers, but I know my way around them pretty well, but this is something all new to me. And which brand of drive would you recommend getting? I tend to lean towards Maxtor and Seagate, but thats just becuase thats all ive used.

    If anyone else has any opinions, let me know.
    Thanks
    John
     
  4. Lazzer408

    Lazzer408

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    When installing the other drive, on the cdrom end of the cable for lack of better explanation, you have to set the drive to slave via. jumpers on the drive. If this wasn't done they both try to act as masters. The boot drive is generally the master. Some drives come with a cable in the box. You can use an 80 conductor cable in place of a 40. They both use 40 pins. The extra 40 conductors in the 80 conductor cable are extra grounds to prevent crosstalk between the wires allowing faster data transfers. Partition magic 8 works well for copying one drive to the other. Once it's done you shut off the computer and set the slave drive back to master, exchange it where the original drive was, then reconnect the cdrom and it should boot normally but be aware that -some- applications -may- need to be reactivated or reregistered but for the most part it works just fine.
     
  5. BigJohn82 New Member

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    Adding the second Sata drive to my comp was the first time ive ever added a second HD permanently and it was cake. But I did have my 13.6 Maxtor hooked up in place of one of my rom drives one time before and that went fine as it was only storing info I needed to put back on my main HD when it needed to be reformatted. Would having your master boot drive on the HD cable in the middle plug and a slave at the end set to slave cause neither to be recognized and to get no boot altogether? Thats what im guessing was the case when 2 days ago I had it hooked up just as that and wasnt able to boot and had unknown devices reported in the bios.

    Anyways, so using Partition Magic 8, I would have to have the new HD that would be replacing the 40GB one hooked up in place of one of the roms to use the program and make the image and place it on the new HD? If thats correct, let me know. Im just trying to get a sense of how this will all work as its the first time ive ever thought about and looked into doing something like this. How much will it cost and where is the best place to get Partition Magic 8? This seems like a pretty easy task, atleast you make it sound that way.

    Thanks for all the help guys, I really appreciate it. I figure its best to ask the more experienced then to experiment with something im unsure of.

    John
     
  6. Frogger

    Frogger

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    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16812119011
    "think I should try just a small computer store" yes link above will give apx $ value
    "Also, when I tried hooking up the 13.6 I had that at the end and the master boot in the middle plug, should I retry it and put the master on the end?" yes with the 13.6 set as slave
    "Seagate," for sure 250GB version7200.10 this drive gives best bang for $
    "As far as the disk imaging goes" if you do a search on the seagate site you will find.. is free and has walk through
    better link for cables in CAL http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10227&style=
     
  7. Frogger

    Frogger

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    "Partition Magic 8" great for someone who will use it all the time ...in your case prob too much $$ and to much work for what you want to do :) F
     
  8. BigJohn82 New Member

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    This site truely contains what I feel to be the ELITE people when it comes to PC Forums. Ive posted on other sites in the past and your lucky if you get a response or two and rarely anyone who reads your whole post. Ive found so much useful information on here and being the first time I think ive asked for some serious opinions and help, im very happy to get such great responses. I thank you very much for your help and ill let you guys know how it goes. If the wife lets me, im gonna try that 13.6 in her comp again when I get home if shes not busy using it if that 40wire ribbon cable I have actually works. If not, ill be hitting a comp store sometime this week for one that will.

    Thanks
    John
     
  9. Lazzer408

    Lazzer408

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    John.
    Someone suggested the utility that comes with a new harddrive. That is a great idea. Sometimes I forget that most people have to pay for software. I do buy my own, dont get me wrong, but for one use it's not worth it.

    To the other question, Yes, you can plug the new drive in where the cdrom was but if the utility to copy the drive is on a cd your kinda screwed with that idea. Older boards usually have 2 ide connectors on the board. Some of this new stuff just gives you one. If you have 2 you can plug the drive into that using the cable provided with the new drive. The stripe on the outer lead on the cable indicates that side of the connector contains pin1. Locate the connector on the motherboard and pin1 should be labeled. Set the drive to 'single' or 'master' depending on the drive. Check the manual that comes with the drive. It should explain how to connect/configure it in detail.
     

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