Adding a larger hard disk

  Pier1 20:19 26 Jan 2003

Hi, I'm thinking of getting a large hard drive (maybe an 80GB one) to complement or replace my existing 4GB. However, I don't know how to check if I can connect a second hard disk to my PC, whether as a slave or master. I can't see a spare ribbon cable, power cable or bay in the PC. Does this mean I can only have one connected?

I'm new to hard disk adding/replacing, so any help would be great.

I have an HP Brio BA desktop PC by the way.

  Lú-tzé 20:36 26 Jan 2003

There are usually two ribbons - a primary and a secondary - and these have two connectors - a master and a slave.

As for a power cable, if you don't have a spare, you can pick up a Y-splitter cable for a pound in a computer fair or £3 in PC World (saves waiting till Saturday).

If all else fails, you can purchase a PCI card which will give you an extra EIDE channel.

What do you have at the moment? HDD and CD-ROM I suppose.

  Pier1 20:52 26 Jan 2003

Drives in my computer:

3.5" Floppy

Ribbons (3 of them):

To HDD - one connector
To CD-ROM and CD-RW - 2 connectors
To Floppy - one connector

So it looks like they're all taken up.

Are EIDE channel PCI's expensive? Also, can I fit the extra hard disk in the PC even tho there are no spare bays? eg bolted to the case or something?

What do people normally do in this case?

  Lú-tzé 20:56 26 Jan 2003

I think that you should do a complete backup to CD-r and then -replace- your hard disk rather than add a second.

You could replace the ribbon to the hdd with a ribon which has two connectors.

If you have no spare bay, then you will have a problem anyway.

On the whole, I would replace the hdd - partition it into different sections and it will be good.

  Elrond 20:56 26 Jan 2003

YOu shud be able to fit a second HDD to the smae cable as the origianl HDD. IF there isn't a seceond connector you can quite easily purchas a new IDE cable that will have 2 connectors on and more importantly be of the 80 wire type that will be better for the new drive. The BIOS of the Motherboard may need upgrading to support the larger HDD also. You need to research your motherboard thoroughly before undertaking a HDD installation

  woodchip 20:56 26 Jan 2003

The first thing how old your computer

  Pier1 21:00 26 Jan 2003

About 2/3 years old, Celeron 400MHz

  Switcher 21:04 26 Jan 2003

You have a capability to use FOUR devices from your TWO IDE Channels.

You have only Three in use i.e. One HDD and TWO CD devices. The floppy does not count it has a separate channel.

You will find many suggestions as to the best setup. Here for what it is worth is mine.

Primary Channel Master = HDD Slave = CD Device

Secondary Channel Master = HDD Slave = CD Device

This is achieved by connecting the devices as suggested and setting their jumpers to match.


  jazzypop 21:05 26 Jan 2003

click here for the 'conventional' method of installing a second drive.

Your real problem is the lack of a drive bay. There are two main ways round this...

1. Install the new 80GB drive as the main drive (remove the 4GB drive first). One Windows is installed, replace the existing IDE ribbon cable for a standard one that has two connectors on it. Temporarily connect your 4GB drive as a slave, and copy the data from the 4GB to the 80GB. (You can borrow the power connector from the DVD drive while you do this - in fact, you could disconnect the IDE ribbon cable from the CD and DVD, and use that to connect both HDDs at the same time.)

2. Mount the new 80GB drive in an external casing, connected via USB2 or Firewire. Many companies sell such cases. The advantage is that you do not need to mess about inside the PC case. However, I presume that you will also have to add a PCI expansion card that will provide a pair of USB2 or Firewire connectors, so that advantage is reduced. You will also still be booting from your slower 4GB drive.

Here's another guide, with pictures - click here

Finally, if this all seems a bit daunting, find a friendly local PC repair shop. It should take them less than an hour to carry out either of the above options, so should not be expensive. Considering the many posts on this topic, I do not recommend going to PCWorld's repair clinic.

  Elrond 21:05 26 Jan 2003

Can you identify the Motherboard, take off the side panel of the PC and note the name of the it or you couls use AIDA32, this will identify it for you. PLus its a useful program to have.

  lloydsj 21:13 26 Jan 2003

This is how I understand it... but im no expert.

Basically there are normally 3 ribbon cables in your PC, 1 will be your primary, 1 your secondary (both these should be the same width ribbon cables, and you will have 1 more narrower ribbon cable with your floppy on it (but ignore this one, its nothing to do with your problem).

Now your other 2 ribbon cables will normally have, 2 connection on each of them (1 at the end of the cable, and the other about mid way along it). Connected to these you will need your CD drives and your harddisks. Mine are connected like this...

Primary cable... Both my harddisks plugged into it
Secondary Cable... a CD Drive and a CDRW plugged into it.

If your 2 cables dont have 2 connections on each... then i think you can just buy a new one (like Lú-tzé was saying) to replace yours, and use that.

Also remember that when you are connecting multiple things to the same cable you will need to set 1 to Master and 1 to Slave, on the Dip Switch (or whatever its called) on the back on the HD, or CD Drive. And i think that you MUST have your primary HD connected as the MASTER on your PRIMARY ribbon.

Hope that explains it...


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