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Old 12-01-2003, 05:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need new hard drive advice

Okay... I'm still not sure how, but it appears that my hard drive crashed. (any easy way to confirm this? Error reads "Unmountable Boot Disk" before the operating system can load)

Now I'm looking at replacing it myself and need some help. I have a 3-year old Dell, which is about all I can tell you about my mobo. It's a 1.7GHz P4 with 384MB/133 SDRAM. XP Professional OS.

1) Is replacing the hard drive as easy as a CD burner or the like?
2) Can I get a good/decent hard drive in the $100 or less range? (I can live with 40-60GB)
3) How important is speed? (I think I'd like to have a 7200...)
4) Is 100MHz sufficient, or should I get 133?
5) What brands are good in this price range?
6) Any good sources/sellers you know of?

I know this is a lot, but I would appreciate any help.

As far as the bad hard drive is concerned, is it worth it to take it in somewhere and have it diagnosed? This might only confirm the bad hard drive and cost me the diagnostic fee. Or, it could be something else and save me the hassle of guessing.

Thanks...

--TigerB
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Old 12-01-2003, 06:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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i think your hard disk is working 100%. unmountable boot disk means something is wrong with the bootup configuration or .......no i think that is basically what it means. this would be a software problem and does not directly mean that your hard disk is dead.

if you have a restore CD use it to restore your operating system. otherwise you will have to have an operating system CD like win98, millenium, winXP, ect to install.

TigerB curious, you say it is 3 years old? that is impossible if the processor is an p4 1.7 Ghz. it would not have existed 3 years ago i beleive. my estimates is, at most, it would be a year old.

but than again i sometimes forget how old i am or what year it is.
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Old 12-01-2003, 06:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Okay... you caught my bad memory. (I am at work trying to remember what my home system is.)

I have a 1.5GHz P4 and it is just over 2 years old. (Sept 2001)

As far as the error message... I know, it just sounds like I need to reinstall the OS from the CD. However, after trying everything, I finally gave up and called Dell. They had me try about 5 more things, including diagnostics and others, and nothing worked.

When I ran diagnostics on the hard drive (IDE drive #0), it came back "Unrecoverable Error". I don't know if the support person just got tired of talking to me and told me my hard drive was toast, or if it really is. Although right now, it sounds like it is.

--TigerB
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Old 12-01-2003, 07:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Going back to your question on drives, TigerDirect is my place of choice for getting good drives. I prefer Seagate Drives and find that their 7200 80gig drives are incredible. Around $100 US and worth every penny. The SATA drives at 100GB are great too and just a little more.
just my 2cents...

On drive stuff, depending on the manufacturer, you can find diagnostic tools that will help you in finding ways to fix your drive (check vendor website). Also, a company called Ontrack offers (free I think) software to check your drive for problems....
Good luck
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Old 12-02-2003, 03:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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oh, Unrecoverable Error? yes now that sounds like a hard disk failure. let me try to answer you questions.


1) Is replacing the hard drive as easy as a CD burner or the like?
yes replacing a hard disk is as easy as a cd drive. you must set the jumpers correctly.

2) Can I get a good/decent hard drive in the $100 or less range? (I can live with 40-60GB)
yes you can. 100 gigabyte IDE drives are available around that range.

3) How important is speed? (I think I'd like to have a 7200...)
RPM is a poor way to determine speed. hard disk speed is more accurately determined by looking at the tranfer rate. ata133 is faster than ata100. ata133 means it can tranfer up to 133megabytes per minute, ata100 is is 100MB/ minute.

since these are maximum tranfer speeds you would have to know the sustain tranfer speed, i have no clue how to do this unless you actually test the drive out. another factor is cache size, 2MB and 8 megabyte is common, more is better.

4) Is 100MHz sufficient, or should I get 133?
my above answers explain this, you meant to say ata100 not Mhz which stands for megahertz.

5) What brands are good in this price range?
western digital, maxtor, and seagate. western digital do not make ata133 IDE drives i do not think. maxtor do but they do not seem as relaible as western.

6) Any good sources/sellers you know of?

yes 1! newegg.com , great prices, great shipping, & great customer service.
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Old 12-02-2003, 09:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow... thanks everyone for the great advice.

I am going to try a few of MicroBell's suggestions before I rip the thing out and replace it. (However, I did run a "chkdsk /r" which did not work.)

The hard drive advice sounds great. I checked out newegg.com, whom I've ordered from before, but they are out of the one I want right now. (Maxtor, 60GB, 7200, 133, 8MB) I think I will spend a few extra bucks ($82) to get the 80GB version, which they have.

ONE LAST QUESTION:
Do I need an additional PCI "Controller card"? OR, How do I know if I need a PCI controller card?

THANKS A BUNCH...

--TigerB
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Old 12-02-2003, 01:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You could also always try ebay. I got a great deal on a 80gb hdd for 50us on there.
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Old 12-02-2003, 06:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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most motherboards support IDE drives. if your hard disk is an IDE (or EIDE) than you do not need one. if your hard disk was SATA than you would need a converter or a SATA card. or if you wanted to have more than 4 IDE drives you would get a IDE controller card to add more drives.

basically what i am saying is no, you do not need an additional PCI Controller card.
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