In computers, hard drive are the devices used to store large amounts of data. As with all types of electronics, different types and formats exist. Two common hard drive types are IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) and SATA (Serial Attachment). IDE sends several lines of data at once, while SATA sends them one at a time at a faster rate.
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Overall, all hard drive costs have dropped dramatically over the past 10 years. This is due to advances in technology and capacity. Because IDE is an older technology, hard drives of this type are commonly less expensive than their SATA counterparts.
The used computer parts market makes this cost discrepancy even more broad. For users without the need for brand-new parts, older IDE hard drives can be found at bargain prices. This is because many organisations and corporations frequently upgrade to newer technology, making the surplus hard drives common.
One major advantage of SATA compared with IDE is the available capacity of the hard drive. This capacity, or "density," is based on the number of sectors that can be placed on the spinning disks inside the hard drive. Because development for the older IDE technology has stopped, the maximum capacity of these drives has not increased in several years.
In contrast, as hardware developers have shifted their focus to SATA drives, the capacity of this format has increased. It is common to find SATA hard drives with space measured in terabytes, or 1,012 gigabytes. These high capacities cannot be easily achieved using IDE technology.
Another advantage for SATA, and disadvantage for IDE, is hard drive speed. Speed indicates how quickly data can be read from a drive. A device may have massive storage capacity, but if it cannot be accessed in a timely manner, the data is useless.
SATA technology was developed with speed as a primary focus. The first version of SATA had a maximum speed of 150 megabytes per second, which was later increased to 300 megabytes per second. For comparison, IDE hard drives have a speed of only 130 megabytes per second, which is less than half the amount.
For basic computing tasks such as word processing, hard drive speed is not critical. For high-demand applications such as video editing and gaming, however, the speed of the hard drive becomes more critical. While more expensive, the speed possible with SATA drives makes them valuable for more demanding users.
Compatibility is another consideration for hard drives. This indicates the ability of a drive to work with different devices. When it comes to compatibility, neither IDE nor SATA has the outright advantage. Instead, each has advantages for different kinds of compatibility.
Many users have no need to upgrade to the latest computer systems and choose to use older and less expensive technology. For these users, IDE often offers the best compatibility, because it is common and works with a variety of older systems.
For users looking to stay on the cutting edge in the future, however, SATA has better compatibility. This format is used more often in newer systems. In fact, almost all newly manufactured computers simply will not work with the older IDE format. Using SATA ensures new devices and upgrades will work well for years to come.
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