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Welcome To The Hard Disk Drive Reference Section
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Hard Disk Drive Comparison

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This document is intended to give you a brief comparison between the Pentium and the 486 computer in terms of the number and size of hard drives that can be supported on both motherboards. Firstly, the Pentium motherboard typically has two IDE connectors labeled IDE 0 and IDE 1 accordingly. These connectors are soldered directly on the motherboard and can be configured through the BIOS. Both IDE controllers on a Pentium motherboard should be able to house at least two EIDE devices each wether they be hard drives, CD-Rom drives, or tape drives.

The 486, by comparison, can typically only handle three drives and requires the use of a separate controller card inserted into an expansion card in the motherboard. The three drives a 486 can handle are typically in the form of two hard drives and a CD-Rom drive. Depending on the casing, both the Pentium and the 486 may not be able to handle more than a few devices in the system, as there may be no available drive bay able to handle the drive(s), not enough power connectors, or depending on the controller card installed within the machine, may simply not have a free cable connector to attach the data cable from the controller card to the hard drive.

Master / Slave Designation

Additionally, with Pentium systems and 486 systems, the master/slave drive designations remains roughly the same. On a Pentium system, devices are listed by connection. The connection can be one of the following:

Primary Master
Secondary Master
Primary Slave
Secondary Slave.

On a 486 the connections are either labeled Hard Drive A or Hard Drive B, so there does exist a difference in the way a PC identifies the installed hard drives and related devices. All changes to the storage mediums in a PC must be made through the BIOS. One final point to compare is the limit of 2GB capacity on drives which are running under DOS. Windows 98, however, gets around this by using the FAT32 file format. By comparison, 486 computers tend make heavy use of DOS because the 486 is generally too slow to run the Windows 98 operating system adequately. Pentium systems are more powerful then 486 computers, and are therefore, more likely to run the Windows 98 operating system and take advantage of the FAT32 filing system.

 
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