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I am getting a second hard drive for my hp pavilion a1630n. The hard drive that came with it is: 250 GB SATA, 7200 rpm (WD WD Caviar SE, 8mb cache). What do I need to know to find a good second drive for this notebook? Should I look at RAID? SATA?... I am not sure the difference between the two.

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SuperUser doesn't do shopping recommendations, but I edited your question to cover the general-knowledge portions. – Joel Coehoorn Dec 17 '10 at 21:20
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Any Drive should really work for your desktop situation if you are just using it for basic file storage.

I would suggest a Western Digital. You can get a terabyte HDD for about $100 bucks now

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Is there any worry to put such a large (1TB) hard drive onto an older computer like this? I know it's just storage, but I'm sure it takes more memory and juice to sift through a hard drive that big. Is that right? – picxelplay Dec 17 '10 at 22:01
    
It's not a problem. A larger drive doesn't take more power or memory. The power used by a hard drive is not proportional to its capacity. The storage on drives is getting denser so they are not physically larger/heavier and don't require more power to operate. – shf301 Dec 18 '10 at 14:53

You don't buy a RAID hard drive. You use a SATA, SAS, or SSD hard drive with a RAID controller to create a RAID volume (logical drive). I didn't find specs right away for your computer, but most off-the-shelf desktop models don't support RAID. Even if they did, you typically need matched disks to make it work as expected. As a novice user, I would avoid RAID.

What I would look for (if you can afford it) is a good SSD drive or a Momentus XT (hybrid) if you can't (with an adapter so it will fit in your desktop). Remember that a bad SSD is much worse than a traditional SATA drive, so don't be fooled by the cheapies out there as you're looking. The hybrid option gives near-SSD performance with traditional drive capacities and pricing.

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Here are the specs from hp.com, ow.ly/3r4Tv except that I have a Nvidia Geforce 8800 GTS video card, and 4gb of ram. I don't need anything fancy, just a good solid hard drive. Is that Momentus XT a good fit? Any other suggestions? – picxelplay Dec 17 '10 at 21:36
    
Also, It's not a notebook. It's a desktop. – picxelplay Dec 17 '10 at 21:37

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