Help: SATA or ATA hard drive?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by vicki2314, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. vicki2314 macrumors member

    Jun 1, 2006
    I'd like to build an external hard drive for my iMac and so far I've understood that I should be looking for ATA drives and not SATA, however now I'm not so sure. Does it make any difference what computer I have if I will be using the internal drive as an external one? Is there something different I would need in terms of external cases or cables?

    These are the two I am looking at from Newegg, both are Seagate Barracudas 7200.10 320 GB 16MB except one is SATA and the other ATA100

    Also, I understand that these drives are sold OEM. This means that they do not come with any cables or instructions right? What would I need to purchase to install them?

    As far as a case goes I would like an aluminum case that is both USB and Firewire. These are the ones I've picked out:

    Any thoughts are welcome, thanks.
  2. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    Right now most external cases are still on ATA, so that's where you should be looking. Nope, it doesn't make any difference what computer you have using an external drive, just format it appropriately under Disk Utility.

    OEM drives don't come with cables, but you don't need any as the enclosure usually comes with one inside.
  3. vicki2314 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 1, 2006
  4. jiggie2g macrumors 6502


    Apr 12, 2003
    Well I am also going the purchase that drive ($94.99) , great pick.

    If you purchase an SATA drive you need a case with an internal SATA port.
    SATA is faster then ATA with it's higher Transfer rates.

    These are my recommendations.
  5. 4JNA macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2006
    looking for trash files
    cases. you picked one 2.5" case and one 3.5" case. that refers to the size of the hard drive that the case will fit. both were IDE drive interfaces, so you need a IDE (ATA100, ATA133) type hard drive. the 2.5" drives are usually called laptop or notebook drives, and the 3.5" drives are usually called desktop drives.

    the two drives you picked, only the IDE drive would work, and only with the 3.5" external case.

    you can find external SATA cases that can be used with 2.5" and 3.5" SATA drives, but they seem to be more expensive. the usb/firewire speed will be a limiting factor, so the faster SATA speeds don't make much difference for an external drive. (unless you edit pro digital video, blah, blah, blah).

    so, if you need smaller portable drive, find a 2.5" IDE external case (like the one you already picked) and find a 2.5" IDE laptop drive to put inside. if not for portable use, get the 3.5" external IDE case, and get a big 3.5" IDE drive to stuff in.

    :eek: NOTE: :eek: watch out for external cases that don't specify the max drive supported size. the original spec for external interface was limited to 128gb. so you buy a nice 160gb drive (or bigger), and you only get to see/use 128gb no matter how you partition it. :mad: just FYI.

    if you don't feel like building your own, you might check out this store. decent prices on good drives.

    good luck!
  6. 9Charms macrumors regular


    May 19, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    At this point in time, I personally, wouldn't invest any more money in an IDE drive, with SATA2 being everywhere.

    Pickup an enclosure like this one:

    It's SATA/USB 2.0. USB is pretty well good enough for most uses, maybe only 10% slower than Firewire in real life. But this case will allow you to one day connect it via SATA cable (when you get a computer that supports it), which would then make it just as fast as your internal hard drive.

    Anothe benefit is if you have an iMac g5, you can put the bigger newer drive inside your iMac, and pull the older smaller drive out and put it in the enclosure.
  7. vicki2314 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 1, 2006
    Really? I have an iMac G5, the first one that came out... So you're saying that I can place a SATA drive inside my iMac?

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