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Buying Guide for IDE Hard Drives

IDE hard drives allow you to store your operating system, documents, photos, and other content on your computer. Hard drives can be installed inside your computer or used with an enclosure to provide external storage solutions. Here is some basic information to consider when selecting an IDE hard drive.

How do you select an IDE hard drive?
  • Choose a form factor: Review information on your new or existing device to see what IDE hard drive sizes are compatible.
  • Select a storage capacity: You can choose from hard drives that range from 10GB up to 10TB depending on your needs.
  • Choose a rotation speed: This will be measured in RPMs. The rotation speed will determine how quickly data can be written and transferred from the hard drive.
  • Select a brand: You can choose from a wide range of branded and unbranded hard drive options. There are OEM replacement options available as well, based on the computer you have. Be sure to research whether or not your product is compatible before purchasing a hard drive.
What form factors are available?
  • 5.25-inch: This type is designed for desktop models and can be slotted into the same spots as traditional optical drives.
  • 2.5-inch: This style is commonly used with solid-state drives and hard drives used for external enclosures and some laptops.
  • 3.5-inch: The most used of this style is the 1-inch low profile design used in desktop computers. This style has standardized mounting holes to fit different types of desktop cases.
What is an IDE hard drive?

An IDE or Integrated Drive Electronics hard drive is commonly referred to as an ATA or PATA hard drive. IDE drives connect to your motherboard with a 40-pin connecting cable that can support up to two hard drives or disk drives per cable. There will also be a 4-pin power connector that connects to your power supply to power the disk.

What types of IDE hard drives are available?
  • HDD: A hard disk drive consists of rotating disk platters and a read/write head that moves around to read the information on the disk platters.
  • SSD: A solid state drive stores data via flash memory or microchips located in the disk drive and uses a built in processor to read and write information. An SSD has no moving parts and comes in 1.8-inch, 2.5-inch, and 3.5-inch form factor sizes.
  • NAS: NAS or Network Attached Storage drives are used in storage systems that connect to a network. This style allows access from multiple computers.