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Though hard drives have evolved over the years, the standard IDE plug, developed by Texas Instruments in the 1980s, has remained the predominant adapter. Though it is slowly being phased out for a more miniaturized Serial ATA form, the IDE connection (which stands for Integrated Drive Electronics) and its Parallel ATA port remain highly in use, especially in older models of computers or those designed to put affordability over performance.

The long-term adaptation of IDE hard drives makes it very easy to upgrade to a larger one, even if the machine is somewhat older. In practical terms, the largest size that can be selected is pretty much limited to the operating system that will run on it. The latest forms of Linux, along with Windows XP and Windows Vista, are set to allow any sized hard drive. Note, however, that in most computers, the operating system is linked to the hard drive. If a user is simply going to add a new IDE hard drive, this isn’t a problem. However, if one is going to replace the old hard drive with a new one, it will be necessary to re-install the operating system. In the case of Linux, which is free, this may be done an indefinite number of times. Windows is different however, and each copy of Windows may only be installed a set number of times. As such, it may be necessary to consider purchasing a new operating system or additional licenses for an existing copy when buying a new hard drive.

Once the operating system situation has been decided upon, it’s relatively easy to select what hard drive is best for a given computer and budget.

All IDE hard drives are compatible with every computer that has parallel ATA ports on its motherboard, and they are all designed to be the same size and shape as a 3.5″ floppy drive (even though floppy disks have long since ceased to be used). The only attributes that matter are the reliability of the drive and it’s storage volume. The storage volume is pretty much just linked to one’s budget, but it is generally accepted that a gigabyte of storage is worth about ten cents.

This means that a 500 gigabyte hard drive will cost around $ 50, making it a good benchmark. From there, it is necessary to determine whether or not the drive is reliable. It isn’t possible to link cost or manufacturer to drive reliability, unfortunately. Therefore it is necessary to read lots of reviews regarding the individual hard drive before purchasing it. Most online retailers permit their customers to review the hard drives in detail, and this user feedback is critical. Often, drive manufacturers produce bad runs of drives wholly by accident, since inferior aluminum or improper assembly can cause entire lots to be worthless. This is also why it is a good idea to purchase a model which has been on the market for at least six months. Bad drives tend to fail quickly, and an inferior drive will quickly pick up a reputation, directing a user to buy something a lot more reliable.

Matthew Kerridge is a computer hardware engineer. If you are looking for cheap IDE hard drives please visit http://www.ebuyer.com/

Article source: http://hard-drive.ezinemark.com/buying-an-ide-hard-drive-4f09ca58902.html.

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