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IDE to USB converters suddenly 10x more useful

by Steve Kerrison on 20 June 2006, 17:03

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaf25

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Converters for IDE to USB aren't new, but in light of the latest and upcoming motherboards, they're turning into extremly useful techie tools.

The average geek has at least one spare hard drive (I have three or four, for example), often bunging it in a chassis as backup storage or for another OS, or some other random use. Most of the time it's a more mature drive - not elderly; we tend to upgrade drives regularly, us techies - which means the majority of the techie world's spare drives are IDE.

External drive enclosures are, of course, one way to use these drives as portable solutions, but sometimes all we want is to hook one particular PC up to the drive. The control circuitry that takes IDE signalling and converts it for sending over USB has been available "enclosureless" for some time now, and a number of such devices exist, but with AM2 here and Core 2 approaching, we might see a few more being snapped up.

IDE to USB

Indeed, one of the HEXUS.community admins recently moved over to AM2, only to discover that there are changes taking place in southbridge-attached components on new motherboards.


I've been upgrading my internals and am a proud owner of an AM2 board, which is great apart from a low number of IDE channels (i.e. 1)

Gone are the days of four channels of IDE goodness; good news for making space on motherboards, but bad news for the techies with a dozen spare IDE drives. Still, the intrepid forum admin fixed the problem by spending a whole ten pounds on an IDE-USB converter.

Easy IDE converter

An external power brick keeps the hard drive spinning, while the "Easy IDE"'s circuitry deals with the IDE-USB conversion. While USB2.0 isn't quite ATA133, it's still got enough bandwidth to sustain a good transfer rate, so unless you're after getting maximum performance, these things are a treat.

So, before you start worrying about new boards and their lack of IDE channels, remember that there's an easy solution! Thanks to 'Moby-Dick' for providing the pic of his Easy IDE in action.

HEXUS.links

SCAN :: Easy IDE converter.



HEXUS Forums :: 17 Comments

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there are also the great IDE to SATA converters too - make use of the extra SATA ports provided :)
Looks like a very cool product, i'd love to get one :)
http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=176415 [scan.co.uk]

this is also good. maplin charge a whopping £23 for it too! :shakes head:
Only the one IDE channel? I only bought my first SATA drive a few weeks ago!

Presumably this works equally well with optical drives? (Where the bandwidth limitation shouldn't really affect them.)
But how much does an IDE controller card cost these days? And that would be full ATA133 performance. Though modern boards couple their lack of IDE connectors with a lack of legacy PCI connectors, & I don't think anybody is gonna be making many PCI-X ATA controllers!

I picked up two internal ATA -> SATA converter cards that draw power from floppy connectors, they've come in handy a few times.