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IDE, ATA, Serial ATA, SCSI, SCSI II, Wide SCSI II, Ultra SCSI II, Ultra Wide SCSI II, Ultra2 SCSI, Ultra160 SCSI, Fibre Channel, IEEE 1394, FireWire, iLink, USB, RAID, 5400rpm, 7200rpm, 10,000rpm, 15,000rpm…

Confused yet?

There is such a wide variety of hard drive technology and interfaces available, it is hard to be anything but confused. With this in mind, we have written this guide to inform you about what major hard drive technology is out there and what we see as the advantages and disadvantages of each technology. We hope that, with the information we provide, you will be able to make an educated buying decision when looking at hard drives.

This is not meant as a guide for advanced users who already know all the details about hard drive technology. Instead, this is a broad and not-too-technical look at the general technologies available. If you're building a new machine and thinking about SCSI but don't know much about it, or if you've heard about IEEE 1394 but don't know what it is, this guide is for you.

The first thing you need to decide when buying a drive is what type of interface you want the drive to use. Will it be an IDE drive? How about SCSI, IEEE 1394, or USB? The interfaces vary on speed, cost, cable length, flexibility and many other factors. What follows is a description of each major form of hard drive interface.

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