1. The motherboard will have IDE slots as well as SATA so you current disks will be OK.
2. SATA uses different data cables to connect to your motherboard, they're much smaller and neater, in genereal the SATA cables are about £5, cheaper if you look about and if the motherboard has SATA at least one SATA cable is usually provided in the box, but dont quote me on that!.
3. If you do buy a SATA drive you will require a power cable converter as PSU's generally come with drive IDE size power connectors, unless your PSU or SATA hard disk comes with one. I dont understand why they actually changed the power cable size,, anyone willing to shed some light on that one???
4. If you can afford it go for SATA hard drives, they'll possibly give a small performance increase over IDE..
5. You can buy converters for about 20 quid that let you plug IDE drives into the motherboards SATA slots, but I doubt this will have any benefits...
i read in custom pc magazine that you dont get any difference in perfomance , its only the connector thats different , the rest of the hdd is exactly the same as an identical hdd with an ide connector.
Present SATA techno will show a slight improvement over IDE drives(they are developing revisions already,which show even more speed)once they finally get a stable,WHQL driver sorted out.I have 2x SATA hdd's,my XP install disc rarely gets put away lately,as it "forgets" data and rebooting gets an assortment of error messages,from missing files to corrupted hdd's.I am getting approx 18 hours worth of puter usage before having to repair/reinstall XP.