g4u – Hard Drive Upgrades Made Easy

Ventured out to the localelectronics superstore last night to grab an enticingly pricedKingston 1GB miniSD card ($29 CDN). While there I spied a stack of200GB 7200RPM ATA-100 hard drives going for the negligible price of$79 CDN, so I grabbed one of those.

Products chosen and in hand, I deftly avoiding the commissionedsales staff who so carefully avoided me when I was actually in thetechnology area — where I presented a potential source of complexquestions — but now wanted to verbally “claim” the sale, howevermarginal.

You all done there sir?” echoed off my heels as Iretreated to the door.

Hard DriveThe hard drive enticed me as I have a dated PC thathad been stumbling by with a rather old and noisy 60GB hard driveas the boot/system drive, a second, larger drive doing storage dutyoff a SATA wire. I have a limited interest in expensive upgrades asI just plan on replacing the whole PC, but a little extra space inthe meantime would allow me to set up a bit of redundancy betweenthe drives in addition to normal backup strategies.

Hanging the old and new drive off ATA wires, I had the datacopied over with a burned image of the very useful g4u (a quickcopydisk and the new was ready to replace the old).Moments later the old drive was out and the new drive wasbooting much quicker and quieter than the old, ready for a copiousnew 140GB partition to be created.

The $79 drive is actually a WD2000JB, which was originally released in late 2002. It’shardly cutting edge, but hard drive technology hasn’t exactly beenmoving at that brisk of a pace so it really isn’t that far out ofthe state of the art.

All in all it was a speedy little upgrade for just $79,implemented painlessly in minutes.

If there were an inexpensive external RAID-capable enclosurewith ATA-100 connectors, I’d grab a gaggle of these drives andcluster them — alone they aren’t terribly fast, but several drivesworking together would provide some killer performance.

With desktops I’ve always gone for 2-drives at a minimum. Evenwithout any sort of performance RAID, simply putting the page fileon the second drive has proven to be a huge performance improvementfor many demanding applications, as does the intelligent storage ofwork and data files.