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Western Digital Caviar WD800BB 80 GB

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      27.03.2004 18:50
      Very helpful



      I knew we needed a new hard disk ages ago, as we were forever deleting things to make room for new things. You just never have enough space these days with the huge amount of MP3 files, photographs, and never ending amount of "useful" program installations. We put it off until the last minute, well until the old 10Gb hard disk started to fail. We chose the Western Digital Caviar 80Gb model for several reasons. Firstly the price, it happened to be on special offer from Dustins, which is a cheapish computer supplier here in Sweden. The equivalent UK price would be around 60 pounds, which included postage. It arrived within 2 days of ordering, which was great. No cables or instructions were supplied, just the basic hard drive unit, which looks pretty similar to most other hard disk units. It has the usual IDE connection, standard power socket, and a place to set the jumpers. Physical installation is straight forward enough, open up your computer (you may need a screwdriver for this), oh, and it's a good idea to turn it off first, slide your new shiny drive into a free 3.5" drive bay, do some more screws up, connect up the power and IE cable. That's the easy bit. By default the unit is shipped with the jumper set to MASTER. If you wish to use it as a second hard disk, simply move the jumper to the SLAVE setting, a diagram is on the drive itself. As we were to use this as a master, I left it at that. The first problem we had was that the BIOS in the computer did not recognise the hard disk at all. So, to the Western Digital website, where it suggested either a BIOS upgrade or the purchase of a replacement IDE interface. Looking on the internet for a bios upgrade for a particular motherboard
      is not a fun pastime, and in the end decided that a replacement IDE interface would have to be the way forward. Next day we travelled to the "local" computer store, an hour or so away, and purchased an Ultra ATA IDE card made by Digitus. This cost the equivalent of 25 pounds or so, but it was necessary. Installation of this was easy, and it came with it's own IDE cable. The drive was now detected, but not if it was set to master. We had to set it to slave... Strange. Next reinstalled Windows 2000 Professional, which formatted the hard disk automaticall and all seemed well until we rebooted, and it said it couldn't find the boot drive... After a bit of trial and error I discovered that the Hard Disk unit needed to be set to CS (which means Cable Select). We then needed to re-install Windows 2000 once more, and thankfully all seemed to work. Upon checking, we found just 74.4Gb space on which to save files, but this is normal after formatting. The bigger the hard disk, the more space you lose during formatting. Still, 74Gb is perfectly adequate, and a definate improvement on 10Gb. Now the task of re-installing programs and copying data, which takes some time. Some people prefer to use a Ghosting program to do this for you, but I feel it's best to do a fresh re-install. So what else can we say about the drive itself? Well firstly, it's so quiet, you don't even know it's there. Secondly it's very fast in operation. It's big enough for most people, and installation should be fairly straight forward in a modern PC, but not so simple in an aging one like ours. The trouble is you don't really know if it'll work without trying it first. Still if you are a real novice, it's best to let someone
      else do it for you. It comes with a one year warranty, which I feel is a little bit mean, hard disks should be something you can rely on to last considerably longer, but I'm sure it will anyway. Touch wood. It is cheap though, so we can't really complain on that one. Recommended.


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