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Are all ATA hard drives compatible? I've read about ATA and Ultra ATA, then there are speed differences within the category, i.e. Ultra ATA/33, Ultra ATA/66 Ultra ATA/100 and Ultra ATA/133.

Does the capacity of the hard drive affect compatibility, i.e. I currently have a 40Gb hard drive will I be able to replace it with a 160Gb hard drive?

Does the disc speed of the hard drive affect compatibility, i.e. I currently have a 4200 RPM hard drive, will I be able to replace it with a 5200 RPM hard drive?

I need to replace a hard drive on my ASUS L3800 and need to work out what's compatible with the current IBM Travelstar 40Gb ATA and can't find any compatibility references.

What factors do I need to consider when assessing hard drive compatibility?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Yes, PATA (IDE) cables are all compatible with PATA (IDE) drives. The different PATA cables listed just refer to speeds (133 being the top)... But they will all work.

In case you end up moving to a SATA machine later on, SATA cables are also compatible with all SATA drives.

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Typically, the answer is yes - but if you do it wrong (fast drive, slow cable/controller), it may just run a little slow.

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Although no slower than the drive you're replacing... the key is getting the right interface (in your case, IDE not SATA) – EmmEff Sep 29 '09 at 23:36

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