Give me my IDE port back now

I wish motherboard manufacturers wouldn't consign parallel ATA (PATA) hard drives and the IDE ports they require to the dustbin of history just yet.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor on

I wish motherboard manufacturers wouldn't consign parallel ATA (PATA) hard drives and the IDE ports they require to the dustbin of history just yet with their "one PATA slot per motherboard" mentality.


This 1950s computer is also without two PATA slots on the motherboard.
(City, personnel, IBM room image by The Library of Virginia, no known copyright restrictions)

In the past 24 hours I've become the gleefully happy owner of a new Core i7-based PC. This is a joyous occasion, but for one small hiccup. Straight up I will concede that my issues are definitely not your usual users' problems. Most people are happy to start from scratch with new hardware, but in this instance and in my stubbornness, I don't see why I should.

The issue is based on the fact that I have moved the five hard drives out of my old system (3x Serial ATA, 2x PATA) and moved them over to the new beast system. My hard drives are split between Vista and Gentoo Linux. Now the last time I checked, Vista was the current Microsoft stable and supported state-of-the-art operating system, so I see no reason why I should reinstall an OS that can handle drastic hardware changes.

Similarly for Gentoo; the worst hardware incompatibilities can be solved by a Live CD, a chrooted environment and walking away while the system recompiles. This recompile will, of course, be a doozie; switching from AMD to Intel architectures means it all gets recompiled (I concede that this may be essentially a "reinstall", but I maintain that there will be no formatting of drives).

There's no holding back of the fact that PATA is going away though. I did decide to ditch one of the PATA drives and figured I can carry the other one from system to system as long as optical media drives remain on ATA. Oh? Blu-ray and DVD drives are going SATA too? Looks like I've hit the end of the PATA road — on the motherboard at least, adapters and PATA cards may go on yet.

The rest is great
Now that my Luddite manifesto is out of the way, and I admit that my drive desires are stuck in the past — it's time for praising new modern hardware.

Presenting eight cores to the operating system via a Core i7 920 CPU is an absolute dream. I haven't yet decided what to do with all that surplus power. Half of me wants to run some virtualisation frenzy, while the other half sadistically wants to prioritise running viruses on those cores. It actually does concern me that a virus could solely use up two cores and I wouldn't notice or I would falsely think it was the OS being slow.

The case is a little beauty, a Cooler Master HAF that is at once massive, yet quiet.

I haven't had a chance yet to see how the latest Radeon drivers behave with Linux, but should any problems occur, I'll be sure to voice the problems here.

What's your favourite piece of hardware? Have you made an awesomely good or bad hardware purchase recently? Let us know in the comments below.

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