Disk space, ugh. The desktop is full, the laptop is full, the desk is covered in a pile of old hard-disks of various sizes in various states of repair.

  • Two 200G 3.5” IDE drives in fafnir in a RAID mirror
  • A 1T 3.5” SATA drive in the DViCO media box
  • A 100G 2½” SATA drive in the laptop1
  • 40G 1.8” drive in the iPod
  • 20G 2½” IDE drive in the X-Drive II card reader
  • 20G 2½” IDE drive in the old X-Box
  • 8G USB stick

Then piled up on my desk, a collection of 3.5” drives; 400G SATA, 2.5G PATA, 200G PATA, 80G PATA, 40G PATA. All up, I think that’s not quite a terabyte, none of it really usable, and all of it a PITA2.

The DViCO media box has the most storage; but it isn’t on the network. Must get around to it….

The laptop was about the last of the systems using IDE drives rather than SATA, annoyingly, the drives are far more expensive and much harder to find — $140 for 250G IDE vs $70 for 500G SATA! Except that it isn’t! See [1] below. Last time I believe what the vendor tells me or what diagnostic software says, next time I’ll simply unscrew the cover in the first place and check it myself.

The desktop PC is a small form-factor Shuttle X51, there’s only room inside for a single 3.5” drive so I squeezed in a second one in behind the floppy drive blanking plate to let me have a RAID1 mirror. Sadly this system is definitely parallel IDE, so there’ll be no easy upgrade to a pair of 1TB SATA drives.

So what is it to be? Do I buy an external drive and hang it off the desktop, or do I go for a smallish domestic NAS? Do I bite the bullet and buy a new PC with room for SATA drives? Build or buy? Too many options, and never enough money….


1 Aargh! For a month or more I’d laboured under the misapprehension that it was a PATA drive, even to the point of ordering in a new — and expensive — 250G replacement. Only when I got around to unscrewing the cover and taking the old drive out did I discover that it really was a SATA drive!

2 Pain in the Ass: An American term, something to do with causing discomfit to donkeys.