I have been thinking a lot about upgrading the PC lately. Do I really need a new PC? No, but I want one anyway. Now, whenever I upgrade my PC, that usually means a new CPU and motherboard. Unfortunately, when you buy a new motherboard, that often causes you to have to buy a lot of other new stuff. This is because technology changes rapidly, and the stuff I bought 1 1/2 years ago when I last upgraded is already out of date. My current computer has all IDE hard drives and DVD drives, as well as DDR400 and an AGP video card. Most new motherboards these days use SATA to connect their hard drives and DVD drives, rather than IDE. They also tend to use DDR2 800 for memory and PCIe for the video card. That basically means I have to buy a new CPU, a new motherboard, new memory, a new video card and potentially all new hard drives! That's not cheap! Most of those upgrades can't be avoided. There's no way to plug a DDR400 memory card into a DDR2 800 slot (as far as I know) and you can't plug an AGP video card into a PCIe slot. However, you *can* plug an IDE hard drive into an SATA cable if you buy a cheap little adapter to convert it from IDE to SATA.
A few days ago, I ordered a couple of these IDE to SATA adapters from eBay in order to see if I could use my old hard drives as SATA drives. I haven't actually bought any new upgrades yet. I have 4 SATA plugs on my current motherboard, none of which were being used. I figured that if I could convert all my hard drives to SATA on my old computer then it should be an easy matter to do so on the new one. I got the two adapters last night and tried them out.
At first I was concerned about the size of the adapters. The adapters plug directly into the IDE plug on the back of the HD on one side, and provide an SATA plug and a power plug on the other side. (Apparently the adapter card needs power of it's own to function). The problem is that the card sits flush against the back of the HD. I was concerned that it would stick up or down too much and potentially block the other hard drive above or below it. Thankfully that was not the case. The adapter is only slightly taller than the back of the hard drive (by a few millimeters) so it really doesn't interfere with the other hard drives. Since it sits flush against the back of the hard drive, it also doesn't stick out too much, so it really doesn't get in the way.
My first attempt was to just plug in one of the secondary, non-boot HDs into the adapter and reboot. This seemed to work perfectly. It even seemed to run a bit faster. So far so good. My second attempt wasn't so lucky.
For my second attempt, I tried to convert the boot drive to SATA. That did not work. The computer detected the drive, but was unable to boot for some reason. After trying everything I could think of, I eventually gave up on trying to get the boot drive to work.
I have three hard drives in my computer. One boot drive and 2 secondary drives. All IDE. I was able to get the 2 secondary drives to work as SATA but not the boot drive. I haven't tried the DVD drive yet, to see if that works.
It looks like for my new computer, I'm going to need to buy at least an SATA drive for the boot drive (which I was planning on doing anyway). The new motherboards seem to have at least 1 IDE port on them (as opposed to the old ones that have 2), so I figure I can still use that IDE port for the DVD drives.
Here's what I'm considering for the upgrade:
1. Either an Intel Core 2 Duo
CPU or an Athlon X2 AM2
CPU. This depends on the new lower prices
that come out on July 24th.
2. 1-2GB of DDR2 800 memory.
3. A 320GB SATA2
4. A new Nvidia 570 motherboard from MSI
, Biostar, or Asus
. I'm avoiding the Gigabyte motherboards after the whole upgrade fiasco from before.
5. A new Nvidia GeForce PCIe video card. Probably in the 7300-7600 range... (the model number, not the price!)