The good news about choosing a hard disk is that it’s easy to choose a good one. Drive makers such as Maxtor and Seagate produce high-quality drives at similar price points for a given type and size drive. When you buy a hard disk in today’s competitive market, you get what you pay for. That said, we will admit that we avoid IBM and Western Digital hard drives because we have experienced severe reliability problems with both makes.
Manufacturers often have two or more lines of drives that vary in several respects, all of which affect performance and price. Within a given grade of drive, however, drives from different manufacturers are usually closely comparable in features, performance, and price, if not necessarily in reliability. Neither is compatibility an issue, as it occasionally was in the early days of ATA. Any recent ATA hard disk coexists peacefully with any other recent ATA/ATAPI device, regardless of manufacturer. The same is generally true of SCSI drives. All of that said, we use Seagate and Maxtor ATA drives and Seagate SCSI drives when we have a choice.
Use the following guidelines when you choose a hard disk:
The most important consideration in choosing a hard disk is whether to use PATA, SATA, or SCSI, based on the issues we described in the preceding chapter. Once you make that decision, choose a drive that supports the proper standards. For more about ATA versus SCSI, see the upcoming sidebar.