Hardware Installation: What’s Changed
The bulk of the message-board posts I see regarding hardware relate to the following:
• Which type of internal device is the right choice?
• Which type of external device is the right choice?
You’ll find answers to these questions in the sections that follow.
Which Type of Internal Device Is the Right Choice?
When it comes to internal devices, the right type of device to use is typically the
device your computer is designed to work with. Most current computers use internal
devices with one of the following interfaces:
Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics (EIDE), also called Parallel ATA (PATA),
devices have been the standard in the home computer industry for many years.
Although EIDE is still in wide use at the time of this writing, you may find that
some newer computers don’t have EIDE input ports. To add support for EIDE
devices, you can install a PCI EIDE controller card.
Serial ATA (SATA) devices are becoming increasingly popular. As of the time
this book was written, most motherboard manufacturers include SATA input
ports on their boards. Because SATA cables are significantly smaller than EIDE
cables, this results in less clutter inside your computer and improved airflow for
better cooling. While some older computer system motherboards don’t have
SATA input ports, you can install a PCI SATA controller card to add support for
You can use Windows Vista with both EIDE and SATA hardware devices, and it
doesn’t really matter to the operating system which type of device you use. Your
computer, on the other hand, must be configured specifically to work with EIDE,
SATA, or both. If you don’t know whether your computer has EIDE or SATA ports
on the motherboard, you can look at the type of cables being used inside your com-
puter. As Figure 5-1 shows, EIDE cables and SATA cables are very different.
Figure 5-1. Comparing EIDE and SATA cables