Buying a new SATA hard drive is confusing if you don't understand the
differences between the various drive types. Which hard drive should
SATA Hard Drives (Serial ATA) are the most popular drives being sold
today. Alongside them in the store however you will also find boxes
labeled Parallel ATA or SCSI. So what are the differences between these
hard drives and which one should you purchase? Your decision is
dictated by what your computer can accept. Check with your computer's
manufacturer to see which drive style you can use. Most newer computers
purchased within the last two years accept SATA connections. If your
computer cannot accept one of the newer SATA hard drives you can
purchase SATA adaptor cards
that plug into an empty expansion slot on your computer's motherboard. You can purchase SCSI adaptors
as well, so follow these tips to guide your decision.
SATA vs PATA: Serial ATA vs. Parallel ATA Drives
SATA hard drives have many benefits over their older cousin, the Parallel ATA drive. Chief among these differences are:
- SATA hard drives are faster and perform much better than traditional ATA drives and are better for high bandwidth applications such as video editing and multiplayer gaming.
drives use a smaller, cheaper cable to connect to the computer's
motherboard. These cables can also be up to three feet in length
compared to eighteen inches with Parallel ATA cables.
- SATA hard
drives can be hot swappable, meaning that they can be disconnected and
reconnected without powering down the computer. There are limits to
this of course. You should never disconnect your boot drive while the
computer is operating.
- SATA cables are easier to plug in without damaging the delicate connecting pins on the drive.
- SATA hard drives are significantly faster than external USB hard drives.
SCSI Hard Drives
SCSI hard drives are the elders of the storage world. SCSI is one of
the oldest specifications but it is also the fastest and thus has been
widely used in network servers and other high speed, high bandwidth
applications. Unfortunately this high speed storage has also meant much
higher costs. SCSI drives were once standard in all Macintosh computers
but have since been replaced by the cheaper SATA based hard drives.
- SCSI drives are also hot swappable, similar to the SATA drives.
- Some varieties of SCSI can be used with SATA
- SCSI drives are often set up in a mirroring arrangment to allow for instant, continuous backups of the hard drives.
- SCSI drives are still the most expensive drives on the consumer market.
basic rule of thumb should be to purchase a drive that is designed to
work with your computer's motherboard. Try to avoid using SCSI adaptors or SATA adaptors
unless absolutely necessary as the whole point of using a specific kind
of hard drive is to get the most speed and storage for the money.