can I mix IDE and SATA drives?

I’ve got a Dell Dimension Pentium 4, don’t recall how old it is. It has two internal IDE (PATA) drives and I have two empty SATA connectors.

My system disk is small (80gb) but that’s fine for holding the operating system and my programs. I don’t need to expand it although if I could get a 160GB IDE for $20 I’d probably jump.

I’d like to increase the size of the other internal drive. I already have two external drives but I find that the internal ones run cooler and last longer and the drive slot would be wasted if I didn’t use it. The new drive would be SATA because they are cheaper and IDE drives are obsolete.

I’ve heard that systems don’t like to have mixed architecture drives and it could cause many odd problems. What say the SMDB?

If I got one big SATA I could probably transfer the two current IDEs to one drive and move one of the external backup drives (also SATA, currently on USB) inside. If I restore a backup copy of the system disk to a new drive will I transparently have a new system drive with little to no effort? I have a vague recollection from previous operations that it’s not that easy.

Money is extremely tight. I want to do this as cheaply as possible. However, the need to buy SATA cables won’t kill me.

I’ve done it. It was much easier to set up the IDE drive as the boot drive when it was mixed, but that was just my experience.

Absolutely. Can be mixed if the mobo supports it. As to heating on the external drives, I have recently switched to a docking station. Check them out. THis is the one I bought and am using.

Thanks, that sounds encouraging. I’m going to bite the bullet and go for a 1TB to replace the IDE 80GB and 320GB. The 1TB can be had for the same or less than a smaller drive.

Yes, I have one of those docking stations that I am using to swap out my backup drives. It doesn’t seem economical ($25+drive) as a standalone drive vs a normal external drive but it does run much cooler than these stupid Western Digital MyBooks that I’ve been using.

Having the docking station makes it much easier to search for a new drive because I don’t have to worry whether it’s internal or external or whether it will be primary or backup.

One of the MyBooks keeps going offline when idle and I suspect that it’s going bad. That’s why I’d like to sort out my drive situation soon. None of the drives are setup to hibernate or spin down when idle. This one stays visible but none of the files are accessible until I unplug it and plug it back in. It sometimes has trouble spinning up but isn’t generating errors.

That bad external drive is actually why I want to replace the internals. They seem to be doing fine but if I have to buy a drive then I should go larger and that means thinking about what data goes where. I tend to compartmentalize my stuff so that I can still work if a drive goes bad. It also allows some protection from viruses and curious service technicians.

Check your power supply unit, especially before going to a big HD, elCheapo PSUs are a pain, and can provoque aberrant system function, possibly even more than theoretical heat problems.
The other consideration is backup, depending on your OS, XP for example gets slightly lost if you use a personal (non M$) way of file structure, sometimes seeding config files in curious places, or losing them. The end effect is losing a whole To disc (though you can grab most of it back by hand).
I run a dual core PII with 2 To SATA (4 HD) and 2 Tb external, running 24/7 (MY system is more stable that way) but many tweaks were needed over the years, AV protection and backup demand reflexion and compromise, and M$ core stucture does not appreciate your not using “my places (their places)” to stock your files, so M$ based programs can be infuriating when you wish to use your new space, or keep up with backups revisions, etc.
Last, if you do use a big disk, you better think beforehand about those backups, and the programs the support them. If you are a much more organised person than I am, a simple good backup program on a seperate (physical) disk may be enough. I have more problems with backing up the program version with which the file was created, etc, etc. Retreiving an email that I carefully saved, only to realise that the file format no longer exists or neccessitates painful research into my trunks may take hours. Reinstallation may be OK with 80Go, running years back with several Tos of backup is terrible.
The last consideration is that when your shiny To HD goes, so probably does your system, so for the very least, all of the internal links between your files will be lost. The cost of that depends on your usage, music or text files are easily “found”, CAD files with loads of external references may be nearly impossible to rebuild, cookies and passwords will be lost, so careful stategies must be created immediatly.
Penultimate reflexion, a bit of luck is good too. I’ve bought just about all major brands of HDs over the 30ish years I have been computerised, all you need is a good series, none have been consistent, when they work it’s a nice day, when they don’t… My current system runs with two 500Gb maxtors (6 yrs) and two 500Gb Seagates(4 yrs) during the same period I have had 4 smaller Maxtors that didn’t last six months. Once again my set is up on 24/7, shutdown only for maintenance (big debate, for me it works, for others not).
Whatever, anything mecanical will fail at one point, I don’t know the Teras so well, but a 500Go drive is as stable as a 80Go one. SATA is great, careful with the connectors on the MB.

I just installed a Seagate 1TB internal drive for additional storage the other day. One of the options in the installation software was to clone the boot drive and it had instructions (to which I didn’t really pay attention) to use the software to replace the boot drive without reinstalling the OS.

I don’t know if it would work going from IDE to SATA, and I also don’t know if it would work with different size drives, but it might be something to research further.

It’s fine, what else are you going to use IDE connectors for ? ( other than ancient CD-ROM drives… ).

I’m using my older computer now, se;f-built, having had to revert from a better one: since this Abit MB only has one SATA connection, I’ve got an elder near disposable 250 GB IDE as primary disk and a 1.5 TB SATA as storage, simply because it will be easier to move the storage disk to other computers as a secondary drive.

To be honest, the SATA disk has had a lot more file system errors, even as a storage disk, than the IDE which is rock solid. And I prefer SATA.

I have a 300GB WD Velociraptor SATA and a 500GB IDE storage drive on the same system with no problems.