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By wirm ยท 5 replies
Apr 10, 2006
  1. Hi folks,

    I've got a question for you. My parent's Dell Dimention 4600 is using a 40GB hard drive, and I thought I'd help them out by adding another larger drive.

    I've read somewhere that 4600 should support SATA hard drives, but when I ran Everest, it seems to be using an EIDE drive.

    Is there a way I can tell if the computer can support a SATA hard drive without opening up the case? :giddy:

    On a side note, if I were to completely replace the 40GB hard drive with a larger one (with more cache), can I do it without re-installing everything? There should be a way to simply copy the files from one HD onto the other without worrying about drivers, activation, etc.

    btw, would they notice any improvement between SATA and EIDE? The current EIDE has just 2 MB of cache.

    Thanks :unch:
  2. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 840   +6

    You can check Dell's documentation to see what's included on the motherboard. If you can determine the type of motherboard you can look it up that way.

    It would certainly be easy to open the case and look. There may not be room for another drive. Some Dell's are pretty small.

    If you wanted to replace the drive, you could use something like Ghost to create an image and then restore the image to the new drive.
  3. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,452

    I doubt if that PoS supports SATA, unles it is one of the later 4600s.
    Everest would have shown even empty SATA-ports, so I guess they are not there.
    You can open it anyway if you want to take a peek, that's not a breach of warranty.
    If they need the extra space, just add another 80/120GB IDE harddisk. There should be room for that.
    Look at e.g. Seagate Barracuda http://www.seagate.com/cda/products/discsales/marketing/detail/0,1081,580,00.html

    It being a Dell, it probably has a recovery partition on that 40GB HD, so unless you want to go through a lot of hassle, forget about copying.

    As for speed, large caches are less important than low access times.
  4. bushwhacker

    bushwhacker TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 766

    Now you got me confused.... :suspiciou

    high caches means accessing the data faster...

    low access times means what?

    high rpm [last i heard, 15k rpm] means what?

    im not sure about that, but i know SATA is hell lot faster than EIDE... despite that WDC Raptor -_-
  5. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,452   +6

    Cache is not about accessing data faster, cache is about accessing recently accessed data faster. If you had a stupid OS like DOS, then you would certainly benefit from the on-drive cache. Real operating systems have extensive disk caches themselves (limited only by your RAM) with much better caching algorithms - the wee 16MB on-disk cache is virtually unnoticeable if you have some 256MB of system cache backed by knowledge about filesystems and prefetch algorithms.

    High RPM means low access times.

    Don't let them fool you by quoting arbitraty big numbers. SATA itself may be a lot faster than EIDE, but that is totally irrelevant. The drives themselves behind the SATA interface are just as slow as their IDE counterparts. If you ripped off the SATA interface from a drive and replaced it with IDE, the speed difference would be virtually nonexistent - the drive mechanics are way slower than the interface.

    Think of it as replacing your shower hose with a 5" pipe. Would you get more water from there? Nope.. The pipes running to the tap are just as narrow as they were before.
  6. wirm

    wirm TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 64

    Where on Everest can I look to see if there are empty SATA ports? I can't remember where I clicked, but it just showed me what kind of drive the computer was using at the time. (it's not my computer).

    The computer has Norton Ghost installed. Is that what I use to copy the old files? How does a recovery partition cause hassle?

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