August 21, 2009
There are many devices which can be used to store or write data in your computer system. The options include hard drives, USB/Firewire storage devices, CD writers and DVD writers.
Hard Drives are a very essential (and delicate) piece of equipment and are a standard featrue on most computers. CD writers are also very common.
USB/firewire storage devices and DVD writers are currently getting more popular with consumers. This article will give you some tips on selecting proper data storage devices for your PC.
First, lets cover hard drives. We'll look at some drive terms like ATA and SCSI, as well as cover the factors to consider when buying a new drive.
ATA and SCSI
Let's get some terminology out of the way before we go further. In the hard drive world, there are two data access standards, ATA and SCSI (pronounced 'Scar-Zee'). The ATA stadard is split further into paralel ATA (PATA) and Serial ATA (SATA). Most of normal hard drives we're used to rely on the PATA standard. Some newer hard drives use the SATA standard.
SATA allows transfer speeds of up to 150 MBs while PATA gives up to 133 MBs. However, to use SATA, you'll need a serial ATA controller, a SATA drive and a SATA power cable. The speed difference between PATA and SATA is also not significant unless you have a high-end SATA drive.
The SCSI standard is a very fast hard drive, standard used for professional computer systems which demand extremely fast data access. SCSI drives provide an access time of about 9.5ms - which i feel is realy not needed for average home use.
Disk Space vs. Price
An imprtant factor to consider is ther disk space versus price ratio. When you look at the 30 GB, 40 GB, and 80 GB PATA hard drives, you'll find they are very close in price. If you don't mind paying an extra $20 or so, i'd say go for the maximum disk space you can get!. If you do a lot of graphics or video editing, you may want to consider larger drives like Seagate 160 GB of disk space is plenty.
If data access speed is important to you, you can go faster SATA drives or SCSI drives. But remember that drives come at a price premium and may not be necessary for average home use. Another option is to use a RAID setup where multiple hard disk are used to gain drive performance and/or data integrity.
DVD writes are the newest rage in the consumer data storage market. They let you store up to 47GB on single disc several times the mount of on a CD-RW disc. So let's look at some factors to consider when purchasing a new DVD drive.
One factor to consider when buying DVD writers is drive speed. Most DVD-R drives write at 8x, with some older models supporting only 4x. Personally, i don't think there is significant speed difference between a 8x and 4x drive, so don't spend extra money unnecessarily if you don't have to.
There is a huge range of DVD media formats out there (DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+R DL), representated by various brands. You need to consider compatibility of your DVD writer with these DVD discs. DVD-R and DVD+R formats are both very compatible supports those.
Internal or External
You can choose between an internal or external DVD writer. Internal drives are cheaper but it also mean you need to deal with the installation hassle and non-portability, external DVD writers come with the firewire or USB 2.0 interfaces and may well be a better choice if you need to move your data around a lot.
To purchase a good storage device, be it a hard drive, CD Writer or DVD writer, you need to consider what price you're willing to pay for a given set of features. In my opinion, the DVD burner is fast becoming an essential item in the average home user's PC. If you 're building a new computer, you should definitely cnsider buying a DVD writer on top of your standard hard drive.