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Crossing Platforms A Macintosh/Windows Phrasebook by David Pogue, Adam Engst

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Chapter 8. H

Hard Disks

In Windows: Hard Disks

Although hard disk technology is essentially the same on both Macs and PCs, there are a number of differences.

IDE versus SCSI. You can attach a SCSI hard disk to a PC, but SCSI drives are less common than in the Macintosh world, where SCSI was once the standard. To attach a SCSI-based hard disk to a PC, you need either a SCSI host adapter card or a built-in SCSI connector on the motherboard, which isn’t common. For more information, see SCSI.

Most PC hard disks, like all Macintosh internal hard disks today, are IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) drives, which merely means that the hard disk controller is integrated with the drive. The better term is ATA (AT Attachment), which is a specific type of IDE drive. ATA-IDE hard disks are popular because they’re fast and cheap. However, you can put only two ATA-IDE controllers, each with only two disks, in a PC, so the possibilities for expansion are more limited than with SCSI.

ATA-IDE drives are generally cheaper and slightly faster than the equivalent drive mechanism using SCSI, simply because the SCSI controller chip adds some overhead. However, because each SCSI drive has its own controller chip, multiple SCSI drives attached to the same computer can all work simultaneously. In contrast, the two ATA-IDE drives on a single controller cannot operate simultaneously, which means that copying files between two such disks can take longer.

Boot disks. You’re probably used to being able to start up ...

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