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How to add new hard disk and RAM?

By amalsk
Mar 22, 2014
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  1. Hey Guys. I would like to upgrade my computer. I've got a 40 GB HDD right now. Is it possible to add another 80 GB HDD to my computer? If so, how? Could I use both the HDDs?

    Another question. I've got 512 MB RAM right now. And they are of PC2700 type. Is it possible to remove them and add PC3200 type RAM? And while inserting RAM, is it true that we should put it in sets of two? I mean if I want 1 GB RAM, could I put 2x 256 MB and one 512MB or should I put only 4x 256 MB?

  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,752   +1,709

    A general rule of thumb but not an absolute is, you can put in better RAM. RAM will simply down-clock to the highest settings the motherboard supports. But like I said though, it is not an absolute, as you can still find incompatible RAM.

    Before we can answer with a direct answer, we need to know if you are working with IDE and/or SATA ports. I'm certain your machine is IDE, but I'm not certain it has free IDE and/or SATA ports. Short answer is yes you can, it all depends on the availability of port and finding a drive that will connect.

    Your machine likely doesn't support Dual Channel Mode. I'm almost positive DDR memory doesn't support Dual Channel, but I'm not going to swear to it. If that is the case then it wouldn't really matter as long as the RAM is compatible with your system. The best way is to stay with RAM you know is compatible or is recommended for your board. Dual Channel though is the main reason, you would want matched RAM modules. With all that said, I personally always like keeping the same speed modules regardless of whether they needed to be matched.
  3. amalsk

    amalsk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Yes, mine is an IDE machine. And I do have a WD 80GB IDE HDD ready. Is it possible to put it in? If so how? Would I need an anti-static band? Is it possible to get it done without the anti-static band? If so, how? And I don't have the screws of the HDD too, so could I just put them without screwing them?

    And about the RAM, how do I know which type of RAM is compatible with my system?
  4. Rabbit01

    Rabbit01 TS Booster Posts: 928   +44

    If there's another IDE connection on the mobo, then you can plug the new drive to it. If not, and if you don't have another IDE drive, like a CD or DVD on the same ribbon cable as your existing hard drive, then you can add the new 80 GB HDD to it.

    If both HDD are on the same cable, the existing HDD will be the master and the new one will be slave.

    As for memory, it'd be easier if you tell us the mobo model # or the computer make & model.

    Anti-static band, not necessary.
  5. amalsk

    amalsk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    I do have a Samsung Super Writemaster CD/DVD drive though I don't know if it is an IDE or if it is connected to the same cable or not. Here is my plan - I just want to format the whole 80GB HDD, install Windows into that and use the 40GB HDD using right now as the secondary memory. I hope you get what I mean.

    My computer is Mercury. Model - P4M266a I guess that is. Not sure, though. Has all my specifications.

    Anti-static band - could you tell me how to do it without the anti-static band? Will it damage my PC?

  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,752   +1,709

    When connecting two IDE drives on the same ribbon, one must be set to Master and the other to Slave. That is unless the ribbon is labeled for Cable Select, then you would set both drives to Cable Select. Cable Select has predefined connectors for Master and Slave. And the Master drive will always be the boot drive. As for mounting the drive, that is not completely necessary but a good procedure for preventing possible damage.

    If you don't have a manual for your motherboard, you may be able to find one online. With your machine being old, it may be hard to find one though. But if you look hard enough, I bet you will fine it. The manual will be the only way I know, unless you can find a website that matches your board to the best memory solution.

    In twenty years of servicing my own PC, I have never used Anti-static bands. If you are bad about static build-up, touch the metal housing on the PSU or Case before and during servicing. This will insure you do not have a static charge while working with volatile parts.
  7. Rabbit01

    Rabbit01 TS Booster Posts: 928   +44

  8. amalsk

    amalsk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    I checked through the Crucial Memory Scanner as well as the CPU-Z and found that I had 4 slots and two are already filled. About the 2GB thing, I guess I'll need only upto that for this old PC! :D
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,752   +1,709

    Chances are it is 1GB per slot, with 4 slots making it 4GB max. I've not read the manual for the machine, so I'm not positive.

    It is a safe bet that a couple of 512MB stick, will work in the extra slots.
  10. Rabbit01

    Rabbit01 TS Booster Posts: 928   +44

    Max memory could be more, not sure, since the mobo you have and the manual don't match.
  11. amalsk

    amalsk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Hey all! Just another thing. I used Speecy by Piriform and it says I only have 2 slots and both the slots are occupied. But the Crucial Scanner and CPU-Z said I had 4. Confused right now.
  12. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,752   +1,709

    Pull the cover and look inside. That is the easiest way I know, to find out.
  13. amalsk

    amalsk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Well, it would be better to know how to install the HDD too. This is how I plan to do. I like to make the 80GB HDD as the primary HDD and the other 40GB HDD which is currently in use as secondary. I also don't want to partition the second drive - the 40GB one and I like to use it as such. I want to format 80GB one and install Windows into it. All I have with the 80GB HDD is a grey, thin cable which I suppose is the IDE cable? Yes it is. Googled it now and that is what I have. It's like I want to make partition for the 80GB one and the 40GB one shouldn't have any partition. I like to use it as such. And I also would like to format is so that it can be empty.Also one more thing to mention, I believe my DVD drive is also connected by an IDE cable. I need a complete tutorial on how to do the above mentioned things as this is the first time I am going to do this.

    As for the RAM, I'll just do as you said, once you/someone tells me the above thing. :)

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  14. Rabbit01

    Rabbit01 TS Booster Posts: 928   +44

    I'd put the 2 HDD on the primary IDE, and the DVD on secondary IDE. I don't think it's all that important whether you use jumper to set the 80 GB drive as master and the other as slave or use cable select to differentiate the two drives. I've set mine using jumper in the past.

    With the drives connected (data & power cables), turn on the computer and go into BIOS. Might be the Del key, could be one of the Fn keys, it varies from manf. to manf. The manual should have this info. Check to see whether all 3 drives are detected in the BIOS. Check the boot device, change it to the DVD if not already. Insert your Win XP disc. Save changes in BIOS and exit. The computer will reboot and should boot from the XP installation disc. Should be able to format and proceed w/ the installation.

    You can format your 40 GB HDD in Windows.
    amalsk and cliffordcooley like this.
  15. amalsk

    amalsk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Well, that's what I actually wanted. But I don't know how to do that. So I will need a detailed tutorial as to how to set a HDD as master or slave....! If you know what I mean, because I'm doing it for the first time. Could you tell me about making the HDDs master/slave?

    Thanks for your effort.
  16. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,752   +1,709


    The image should be self-explanatory. Every drive is different though, so you will need to know the jumper configuration for each drive.
    • If you want the drive as Master set the jumper to Master or single drive position.
    • If you want the drive as Slave set the jumper to Slave drive position.
    • If the cable is Cable Select set the jumper to Cable Select position for both drives.
    This is what a cable designed for Cable Select looks like. If all the connectors are black, then it is likely not Cable Select, and you will need to set the Master/Slave jumpers to Master or Slave.
    amalsk likes this.
  17. amalsk

    amalsk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Exactly! Both the ends of my IDE cable is black. Thanks a lot for your help. Apart from the IDE cable, do I need any power cable? I hope I'll get it from the local store, if necessary. And which connector should I connect to the mother board and to the HDD in my case as both the ends are black?

    Anyway, thanks @cliffordcooley & @Rabbit01 for your tremendous help.
  18. amalsk

    amalsk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    In addition to that, is it possible for me to use my 40GB HDD as such without any partition? It currently has a partition of 20 GB and 20 GB. Can I use the full 40 GB without any partition? If so, how?
  19. Rabbit01

    Rabbit01 TS Booster Posts: 928   +44

    Found this, basically a video version of what cliffordcooley explained, plus a bit on the BIOS.

    Yes, you don't need to partition the 40 GB drive. You can use Windows' Disk Manage function to repartition.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  20. amalsk

    amalsk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    So my Optical drive will be secondary master, huh?

    Anyway, will try it tomorrow and post if I face any problems. Thanks
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
  21. amalsk

    amalsk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Hey all. I just thought about it now. How do I delete the Windows on my current 40 GB HDD? How can I repartition using the Windows Disk Manager tool to format and use the 40GB one without any partition.

  22. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,752   +1,709

    It would be easiest to clone your drive and moved the OS to the new drive. That is unless you are wanting to reinstall the OS for a clean start.
  23. amalsk

    amalsk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    I want a fresh new feel for my PC, so I was planning to do so. Hey, could you tell me how to remove the partition from the 40GB one and format it so that I can use the full 40GB? Thanks. :)
  24. amalsk

    amalsk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Guys! Quick update. I just did the whole thing as said but my old 40 GB HDD is not recognised and I can't even see it under My Computer. Any help? @cliffordcooley @Rabbit01
  25. Rabbit01

    Rabbit01 TS Booster Posts: 928   +44

    Is the 40 GB drive recognized in the BIOS?

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