Jan: Roughly how many drives are your statistics based on? Dozens or hundreds? Are the 250gb drives more mature and stable than the 300gb drives?
We've had disks in the number of dozens from these manufacturers.
We haven't tested 300 GB drives -- there's too little gain in size from the 250 GB drives -- but we've tried some 400 GB drives.
Jan: Got this from the storage review site. Is this the Seagate drive you were referring to? Can't beat that price.
I think that's one, yes.
I currently have two 80gb drives each on its own IDE. One has the OS and programs, and the other is for PS files and scratch disk space. There is a third IDE open for the new drive, which will be used for PS files and scratch disk. Seems like that's the way to go?
Keep in mind what Daniel wrote.
If the harddisk is the master drive, though, the optical drive will be the one that's forced to wait. This may be bad if you're e.g. burning a DVD from a drive on the same channel.
Typically, the configuration of IDE/ATA drives should be something like this:
IDE master: Work disk/scratch disk/swap disk, CD burner, DVD burner
IDE slave: Data/backup disk, CD reader, DVD reader
The new drive will probably have higher performance than the two existing drives (16mb cache). Should I copy everything from the old drives to the new drive? Is the process easy and safe?
If you by "everything" mean "all my data", yes, the process is easy and safe.
Copying the operating system and programs is another matter entirely, and depends on the operating system and programs installed. With Windows versions from the past 10 years, that is, Windows versions where programs have installation and configuration information in the Windows Registry, are somewhat tricky to copy to a new disk.
If you feel absolutely certain that you understand the following procedure, then do this:
- Temporarily disconnect your old drives
- Install the new drive as the master on the primary IDE channel
- Install Windows and your software to this new drive
- Reconnect your old drives on the secondary IDE channel
- Copy your data to the new drive
If you are uncertain about any point above, use the new drive as a secondary drive just for storing data on, or get someone who knows how to do this for you.
You may also be just as well off with an external firewire drive (not USB, external storage with reasonable or high performance was not a primary design goal for USB, as Daniel has hinted towards).