Adding hard drive space to my computer

My computer is just over two years old. It is a Pentium-III, 733MHz system with 256Mb of RAM and a 20Gig hard drive.

While this is fairly slow compared to many of the new computers on the market, it generally does everything i need.

One problem i am starting to face, however, is a lack of storage space. When i first bought the computer, 20Gb seemed like a massive hard drive. But now, with a bunch of mp3s and some other stuff, it’s not looking so great.

What brought this all to a head was my purchase of a new digital camera - my awesome Minolta Dimage 7Hi. Once i have taken my pictures and loaded them onto my computer, i put many of them through Photoshop in order to fix them up a bit. Also, in order to make it easier to work on them later, i like to save them as Photoshop documents, or at least as TIFFs (rather than lossy jpegs). Anyone who has worked with PS documents and TIFFs knows how big these files can get, and storage is now becoming a problem.

Rather than burning every single document onto CDs, i would like more storage space, and was wondering if anyone could give me advice about external hard drives. I was just looking on the Best Buy website, and they have a bunch of external drives (Acomdata; Maxtor; Pine; Western Digital) ranging from 20 up to 200Gb. I would probably like something in the 60-100Gb range. I know it would probably be better just to buy a new computer, but i don’t think i can afford that right now. If anyone has any experience with external hard drives, their advantages and their pitfalls, i’d appreciate your input.

Side note: try .png for the pictures. Compresses, but doesn’t lose quality.

I don’t have any experience with external hard drives, but why external instead of internal?

No particular reason; i guess i thought it would just be easier to have something i could plug into the back of the computer without having to have someone install it.

I am about where you are except my processor is a tad faster than yours (my comp is only a year olb but I have a teenaged daughter who knows how to use KazaaLite) I am wavering over getting an internal as opposed to external.

They are basically the same except that the external one is preformated and more expensive. I suggest get a usb one unless you have firewire capability. If you are going to make a collection out of these 120G drives, I suggest a swappable RAID setup. heres a look at what I was thinking of getting. I am still looking around for a better price.

They’re not difficult to install. I did mine last week, adding a 40 GB drive to my computer which, like yours, only had a 20 GB drive.

You open the case, attach a ribbon cable, attach a power cable (they both just push on). That may be it. You might also have to secure it to the case, but that depends on the case. You might have to set a jumper, but that’s as simple as following the diagram on the drive.

A phillips screwdriver, twenty minutes. There are undoubtedly tutorials for a beginner somewhere on the web.

The advatages are that the drive will be safer and should be cheaper. My 40 GB drive was $90, and you can get them cheaper.

You can get an internal 80gb for about $90 now, even. Look for deals. I think the general concesus now is that Maxtor is better than Western Digital these days. Be sure to get a 7200rpm drive, too. Oh, and from what i’ve heard ATA 133 (which you’ll most likely need a $50 adapter to run…but any drive that says ATA 133 will run just fine at ATA 100) isn’t worth its money yet.

Do not fret about adding a new HDD. It’s totally easy as Wikkit says. The external is just not worth the price unless you see yourself needing to plug that new drive into another computer, and often.

As for getting a new system, your setup is exactly what I have (128mb less ram though) and believe me I am tough on this bugger. I do tons of imaging, music editing and run heavy MS programs and never have a problem. My rule of thumb is when your processor is barely up to par with your OS’s recommended speed, or you only meet the minimum requirement for most new games, then it’s time to get a new processor. 500mHz is the recommended minimum for XP and most games now, so you have nothing to worry about.

Just get the new internal drive and you will be very proud of yourself for doing it! :slight_smile:

Thanks for the advice, everyone. If the internal is as simple to install as you suggest, then it certainly seems to be the way to go. Now, to search for a good price!

Quite correct, except Wikket forgot to mention the master/slave jumper. If your new drive upsets the system, there’s a jumper on the drive that is probably wrong. The instructions in the drive will explain it. (The instructions will be confusing, but this jumper is the only thing that you can have plugged wrong, and it won’t hurt anything permanently to have it wrong.)

(ever with you’d never posted something?)

I was looking at the Maxtor online, and it says that i need an “Available 3.5-inch drive bay.” How do i know if i have one of these?

It’d be an empty space in your computer, probably with metal rails on either side with holes for mounting the drive. You’ll have to open the case to find out.

If you have a tower, and it only has one hard drive and one or two disk drives, you probably have the space.

““Available 3.5-inch drive bay.” How do i know if i have one of these?”

You open it up & look, Im sure you got one of those bays inside, its just under the floppy drive.

For a price: has the Maxtor 120GB 7200 2MB Hard Drive for $149.99 - $50 rebates = $99.99 shipped free. It should be in stock shortly

Also as an alternative, you can buy those external enclosures that allow you to buy regular internal hard drives and plug them into a external case that converts the IDE to USB 2.0 or Firewire.

I think I saw one in Toronto for $50-75.

It gives the best of both worlds…

Look right above or below your current hard drive and see if there’s another place it could fit, but that is empty. You almost certainly have at least one.

Oh also, installing an internal Hard drive is simple. It may take some time when it’s your first try, but just print out instructions and follow them carefully.

New hard drives and motherboards are so well labelled now that it will be hard plugging things in the wrong way.

Also the components are not as delicate as people think they are. You don’t have to treat them like eggshells. they are quite durable and can take a couple of bumps when putting into the case.

just make sure Pin1(red stripe) is on the power side.
and you have to FDISK a new hard drive then format. Make sure you read about FDISK and how it works. I didn’t know this and I thought I got a defective hard drive.

Once you get the first one installed, every other hard drive will be easy to install… well I had trouble with those large 120GB… I just couldn’t get Windows XP to recoginze that size… i think it only read up to 60 or something… frustrated me, but i had to get the computer up and running so I created 2 partitions… i haven’t really thought about it since…

Rookie do you have XP pro or home? XP Pro recognized my 80GB just fine. Than again, perhaps it only recognizes 80G.

To add to what Rookie said, Maxtor comes with some tols (including a video I believe) to help you with setup. Run the Maxtor CD BEFORE you install the hard drive so you can watch the video or the examples of how it’s done. Do this before you start ripping things apart.

That’s most likely a BIOS limitation. You may be able to get an update from your board’s manufacturer.