Photos of PATA and SATA data cables, Hard Disk Drives and Solid State Drives
Parallel ATA (PATA / IDE) Cable:
Note that the blue end connects to the motherboard, the black connect located at the opposite end connect to the drive that has Windows XP installed (The "Master" drive) and the 2nd black connector located a few inches in from the end of the cable is for a second hard drive (The "Slave" drive). There should be a jumper on each drive that allows you to configure the drive as a Master or Slave. Note that some computers may have the jumper set to what is called "Cable Select" which in effect means the connector the drive is attached to will determine if it is a "Master" or "Slave".
PATA / IDE Drive:
Notice the cable orientation notch. This notch assures that the cable is not inserted improperly as the raised guide on the cable connector must be aligned with the notch.
SATA cables are much smaller in width, slightly larger than 1/4 inch in width and have their own set of notches or guide to insure proper insertion and may also include a small metal spring loaded locking mechanism to insure the cable does not fall off.
SATA Hard Drive:
Are physically the same size as the older PATA drives but the SATA Data and Power connections are completely different. Some SATA drives may include a jumper, but in this case the jumper is typically used to force a SATA-II drive to run in SATA-I mode for compatibility with older motherboards that only support SATA-I mode data transfer rates.
Solid State Drive (SSD):
Bottom side view: As you can see the data and power connectors are completely different from the older PATA / IDE drives. If your PC has a SATA hard drive then it will also function with any Solid State Drive that supports all 3 SATA modes (SATA-I, SATA-II or SATA-III). If you have an early Windows XP based PC that does have a SATA Hard Drive then all you need to choose a SSD that supports all 3 SATA modes as most likely that old but still usable PC only supports SATA-I mode such as the Samsung 840, 840 Pro and EVO models.
The only down side that could prevent you from switching from a hard drive to a SSD is the fact that currently these drives are smaller in capacity (128GB, 250GB, 500GB and 750GB) and far more expensive that a hard drive. For example a 1 Terabyte (1TB) hard drive only cost about $90.00 dollars where as a small 128 Gigabyte (128GB) SSD cost about the same price. Sometimes you can find a special offer where a 500GB SSD on sale only cost about $260 dollars but again that still only half as much drive space when compared to a 1TB hard drive for about 2 and a half times more money.
However, if you current hard drive is 250GB or less and only shows about 70GB of used space then a 128 or 250GB SSD may be just the ticket to noticeably greater performance.
Top side view.
So as you can see you can spend as little or as much as you want to keep Windows XP running for years to come. Since there will no longer be anymore Microsoft Windows Updates the security of your system is a risk so invest in the best rated Anti-Virus software you can find. Then check that old hard drive for early signs of its end of life and replace if necessary. Invest in a good image Backup utilty and backup your system on a regular basis.
If you haven’t read Part 1or Part 2 of this series of articles do so now.