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IBM PATA/IDE/EIDE Internal Hard Disk Drives

How to Access Data on Your PC

Even in a world of commonplace web services, there is always a need for local storage. Disk drives provide local storage so that you can work the problem without worrying about the limitations of network access.

What is IDE?

While programmers may talk about integrated development environments, in the storage world the term stands for integrated device electronics. Also known as ATA for advanced technology attachment, it came about as a way to standardize drive interfaces so that it was easy to move HDDs from one device to another. There were three defining features of the interface.

  • Device Controller: Unlike Ultra-SCSI, IDE placed the controller electronics on the drive itself. This simplified platform design because all the motherboard needed was a port.
  • Parallel Connection: The initial specification used a 40-pin parallel ribbon connector that enabled a 32-bit data access profile.
  • Multiple Devices: The standard ribbon cable offered three connectors, one for the system board, and two more for devices. One device was the "master," using its controller to manage both disk drives.

How Do You Choose a Drive?

While every user has different needs and all hardware has a lifecycle, there are some things you should check out before choosing an IBM HDD for your computer. The advantage of standardization is that if the connection fits it should work, but there are a few features you should look at:

  • Capacity: The more capacity a drive has, the less data you have to store on the IBM Cloud. PATA drives can run from capacities as low as 2 GB to as high as 30 or 40 GB without difficulty.
  • Form Factor: Drives generally come in one of two form factors: 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch. The smaller offerings common in laptops and portable computers while the larger is more suited to desktops and servers.
  • Speed: While there are several things that can affect transfer rates, never underestimate rotational speed. A 7200 RPM HDD can easily manage higher sustained transfer rates than a 5400 RPM unit.

Using Storage

There are a number of ways to look at storage. One of the more important ones is the difference between local and non-local storage. The big advantage of local storage is that its right there in your computer where you can control both the data and access. Moving your data to web services or otherwise off-site gives up some measure of control but allows for a more robust infrastructure as youre no longer dependent on a single piece of hardware for all the data in your system. One useful strategy is to use local storage for your working data while your backups reside off-site where reliability is more important than speed.

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