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HD upgrade for Dell Dim. 3000


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#1
moscatomg1

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I'm not complaining b/c I know this is a nice free forum to have available, but hopefully someone can reply sooner than in the past. (Other posts I've made have taken one to two weeks to get 1 response.) If not, as I say, I'm still thankful in any case.

I'm looking for a Hard Drive upgrade for a Dell Dim. 3000. An internal SATA looks really nice (and a reputable seller on Ebay had some great deals the other day), but it looks a bit risky and complex for my newbie skills--since the Dim. 3000 was for ATA HDs. Does anyone know how the external HDs are? (The Western Digital WDH1U5000N one on Dell's site has mentions of Drive Failure with total data loss in more than one review, so this one doesn't look like a good option. If I find a good deal on an ATA Seagate internal HD, maybe that will be good, since that seems a reliable brand from what I've heard. If I'm not messing around SATA HDs, is a regular ATA HD easier to just slip in the tower? I assume there are things like formating--which I don't know about and have never done--and installing a OP sys. like Windows involved. I know SATAs are good for their quicker speeds, but are there more recent regular ATAs that would be compatible with Dell Dim. 3000 that would be quicker than the ATA HD I currently have (WDC WD800BB-75JHC0), which has indeed slowed down over the last few years? I know, too many questions. But thanks for any help,

M.
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#2
makai

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Hello,

I'm not complaining b/c I know this is a nice free forum to have available, but hopefully someone can reply sooner than in the past

Yah, I understand where you're coming from. Unfortunately, there are a LOT more people asking questions than there are people available to help. We all are volunteers, after all. Please try to be patient, and if you don't get an answer after a few days, create a new topic HERE.

OK...

First off, your computer cannot run SATA drives without installing some kind of adapter card. I wouldn't bother because your computer won't gain any performance boost.(see next comments)

snip>...but are there more recent regular ATAs that would be compatible with Dell Dim. 3000 that would be quicker than the ATA HD I currently have (WDC WD800BB-75JHC0), which has indeed slowed down over the last few years?

The speed the harddrive will run depends only on your motherboard. Your system runs at ATA100. If you put an ATA133 drive in, it would still only run at ATA100. The only major gain would be space. On the other hand, since your old drive only has 2MB cache, a new drive with 8 or 16 MBs will appear to run faster. You won't notice it but your system will.

To address the "slowed down over the last few years" comment... Drives (and Windows) appear to slow down because they get weighed down with applications, documents, videos, music, etc... not to mention trash left over from installing/uninstalling, internet trash, and basic lack of maintenance by the user. A fresh Windows install will appear to run very fast, but as soon as the user starts putting stuff on the computer, the computer will start slowing down because now, Windows has to manage all that data. So, it makes sense that over the years, things slow down. This is not unexpected.

snip>... is a regular ATA HD easier to just slip in the tower?

Yes, any standard 1" ATA drive will just slip into your case.

HERE is a page for drives that would be compatible for your system. As you can see, there are quite a few to choose from. The number of reviews is a good indication of what people think about each drive because thats the number of people who actually bought the drive. Of course, buyer experience can vary, so no drive will ever get 100% excellent ratings.

I assume there are things like formating--which I don't know about and have never done--and installing a OP sys. like Windows involved.

Yes, you will have to do a lot of work to install a new drive. Physically installing the drive is easy... what comes later is a little more difficult. However, I just assisted someone with formatting and installing Windows... HERE'S the thread.
If you're willing to take the time to read the entire thing, you might find it helpful.

Edited by makai, 14 December 2008 - 03:05 PM.

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#3
moscatomg1

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Makai, thanks so much for the reply--so quickly, too. Yeah, after following your link to the thread of the reformatting, I don't know if this is for me right now. Regarding the slowdown, I guess it's not sooo slow, depending on what program is being used or as long as some background process like Norton or something else isn't making things lag. It's probably time to clean up some old, rarely or never used programs and defrag. Apart from that is there anything else simple that could speed it up? Also, since the internal HD doesn't look to be the way right now, do you know of any reliable external HD brands? Seagate, Fantom, and acomdata seem to sell well on that Newegg site. However, do Ext. HDs in general have more of a reputation for failing/crashing/data loss? I see significant comments for such on many ext. hds. Since it is more for storage for me, is it any easier getting started with ext. Hds--i.e. is formating required, if so is it easier, and does an Op. sys. (Windows) need to be put on the ext. hd if just used for storage? Thanks again for all your help!
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#4
makai

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You're welcome!

Yeah, after following your link to the thread of the reformatting, I don't know if this is for me right now.

Well, if the time ever comes, at least you'll have a reference.

I too use external drives for storage, however, I don't buy enclosures with drives in them. I have an dual-drive enclosure that allows me to swap out drives so when one gets full, I pull it, and put another on inside. I do a lot of video stuff, so I go through harddrives like mad! Personally, I only use Segates, but that's only because I've been happy with them. I guess compared to others, Seagates crash just as much, so you end up taking your chances no matter who you go with.

hmmm.... recommendations....

Well, I've really been thinking of getting this thingamajig. This utilizes SATA drives, with a USB computer interface. So far the comments are pretty decent... don't be fooled by 82%... that's not too bad on Newegg. If you think about it, one of these days ATA (IDE, PATA) drives will go the way of the dodo, and SATA will be all you can get/use. If you were to get something like this, you could install a SATA drive that you could possibly use in the future, if you ever upgraded your computer. Of course, one day this thing too will be obsolete, but I don't see that happening very soon. This thing is only $40, and if you got this drive, (which is what I actually use), then you would spend a little over $110 after you're all done. Plus, if for some reason you ran out of space on this drive, all you would have to do is pull it out and stick another one in! How convenient is that??? The thing about enclosures, is that they get warm. Using this thing, the drive would stay cool, and you could pull it out if you weren't using it anyways. Another thing is that it supports laptop SATA drives, which is good for me since I do repairs on people's laptops, but for you, it may not be that important. Something to think about though. Unfortunately, it doesn't support ATA drives, so that's the down side.

As for the many questions you have in your mind about external drives, just think about them like they're "floppies". They do need to be formatted, just like a floppy, if you buy a stand-alone drive. Windows will not recognize the drive if it's not formatted. However, windows can format the drive for you or you can use the manufactures disk utility. Nothing difficult, but if you need help, just let me know. If you buy an USB enclosure that already comes with a drive installed in it, it is normally already formatted, so all you have to do is connect it to the computer and you're good to go. As far as having to install Windows on the drive... no, you don't have to do that.

It's hard for me to recommend something only because I can only base my recommendations on what "I" would use. There are so many options out there and the user really has to make the choice. One of my friends just bought this thing and he seems to be happy with it. It seems to work well for him, but for me... well, it wouldn't. So... I guess you just have to hunt around and sort of think about what "you" actually require.

As far as cleaning up your trash, and defragging, etc, that should help with speeding things up for you. If you don't already use ATF Cleaner, I highly recommend it. It'll clean up a lot of trash for you out of your temp and internet folders. You can download it from my signature.

Edited by makai, 13 December 2008 - 11:54 PM.

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#5
moscatomg1

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Thanks again for your advice. This is some really helpful info to think about. And I'm guessing from what you're saying that if I did go with something like the Thermaltake BlacX (N0028USU External Hard Drive SATA Enclosure Docking Station) and a HD for that just for storage sake then I could avoid the install of Windows and drivers like you said isn't necessary for Ext. HDs? I suppose I still have to be careful about the whole static electricity thing when handling the HD itself that I've read is rough on HDs. Thanks again. If I go with these options, I'll post again and let you know how it turns out.
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#6
makai

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External hard drives are normally only used for storage. They do not require any kind of OS on them. They just need to be formatted so Windows on your machine can access them.

Yes, static electricity could be a problem, but if you ground yourself before handling the drive, you should be fine... just touch somewhere metal on the outside of your computer to ground yourself.
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