Replacing the original hard disk or adding a hard disk is one of the most common upgrades. It's easy to do and a very cost-effective way to extend the life of a PC. This chapter explains what you need to know to choose, install, and configure hard disks and interfaces.
The hard disk interface defines the physical and logical means by which the hard disk connects to the PC. A modern PC uses one or both of the following hard disk interfaces:
AT Attachment ( ATA), pronounced as individual letters, was by far the most common hard disk interface used in PCs from the early 1990s through 2003. ATA is sometimes called Parallel ATA or PATA, to differentiate it from the newer Serial ATA ( SATA) interface. ATA is still used in new systems, although it is being superseded by SATA. ATA is also often called IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics). Figure 7-1 shows two standard ATA interfaces, located at their usual position on the front edge of a motherboard. Note that each interface connector is keyed with a missing pin in the top row and a notch in the connector shroud at the bottom.
Figure 7-1. Standard ATA interfaces