This page describes a small cache of unearthed IDE hard drives.

Most are remnants from the days of IDE/ATA interface in the 1990's and were kept as spare parts until... well, until there were practically no useful computers left that might've actually required these spares. Now they're just aluminium-cased, gold-contacted hazardous waste materials of no worth.

Shudder the thought of how much money I've spent on hard drives and/or how many I've really installed/used over the last twenty years or so. There are huge gaps in the narrative below. I wish I still had a few MFM drives with stepper motors left or the inclination to build some recyclable hacks like wind chimes or use the servos to build a drone. The magnets are always useful, though!

I photographed and scanned what remains should anyone need info, drivers, or documentation.

Conner CP3204F

This was the very first hard drive I ever bought "out the box".

My first own PC from 1991 included an 80MB hard drive (which was already twice the capacity of the ST-157A that a regular "off the shelf" computer commonly came with), so when I bought this monster a few short years later, boy! Was I the king of the block! 212MB! Two hundred megabytes! I bought it on 04-11-1992 from a company named Midex Computer Spares for the sum of R1863.40. It gave me a good few years of service and, on account of its physical dimensions, was surely the only hard drive in my main machine for some time and did exceptionally well when paired with a caching controller by Promise Technology after the first major upgrade.

Conner CP3204F

Large views: Side | Bottom | Inside: Angle 1 | Angle 2

Something I didn't appreciate at the time was that this was a "full-height" drive with four platters. Opening up this baby revealed a mechanical layout different to the ones I've stripped before.

In fact, I'm regretting having slaughted this one.

Western Digital WDAC2340

No sooner had I bought a 250MB Conner drive for my new BBS machine did one of my contacts mention a great deal on this 340MB Western Digital drive. So, on 30-06-1993 I laid down another R1294.99 for an extra drive for the BBS because Western Digital, you might recall, were considered the Mercedes Benz of hard drives. What I also remember is that this drive made a very distinct sound. It chugged along in the BBS for a number of years, then spent time in other random machines before being finally put to rest -- bad sectors and all.

Western Digital Caviar 2340

Installation Guide | Large views: Top | Bottom | Inside

Conner CFA540A

This 540MB drive was purchased sometime in the mid-90's and probably did time in the BBS machine. It got replaced a few years later when the first 1.2GB drives arrived and quite likely spent its final years of usefulness in what was then my primary machine.

In fact, running two concurrent machines gave most components two distinct life cycles: When core components like mainboards, CPUs or RAM got upgraded on the main machine, they were transplanted into the BBS machine which had lesser processing requirements while the larger hard drives that had become too small for the BBS machine found themselves in the main machine which, in turn, didn't require huge storage space. Somehow this particular one just stuck around for 20 years because I was rather fond of Conner drives. And now it's useless.

Conner CFA540A

Large views: Top | Bottom | Inside

Seagate ST38410A

This 8.4GB hard drive came as part of the first computer I bought for my future wife on 09-06-2000. It never saw action outside of that machine.

Seagate ST38410A

Large views: Top | Bottom | Inside: View 1 | View 2

The most remarkable thing about this drive was a black rubber sleeve around it which presumably acted as some kind of noise suppressor. Its innards were among the prettiest I had ever seen.

Maxtor 92041U4

I have no idea where this 20GB hard drive came from or what I ever used it for, if at all. It was discovered in the stash and now it's going to the trash. Double-digit Gigabyte drives have no place here. Maybe I should've put it up on eBay instead.

Maxtor 92041U4

Large views: Top | Bottom

Western Digital WD800

This is an 80GB hard drive. I bought it for 199€ on 21-05-2002. It became part of the internet-facing Dell Optiplex GX1 PC and was home to my increasing MP3 collection. This networked dual-PC arrangement served well for a number a years until that one fateful day in September of 2006.


Large views: Top | Bottom | Inside: Angle 1 | Angle 2
Installation Guide | Data Lifeguard Tools Version 2.8: Picture | Content

Ah, yes, the great hard drive crash of 2006. There was no shortage of rage, frustration and desperation. Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Tools could not help. None of the other tools and tricks in my arsenal worked. This drive was dead. Data was lost. Backups eased the pain a little.

5400 RPM

"Designed to protect your data"? My arse! | Rear view

Toshiba MK2428FC

This little 520MB critter (dated 1994) was salvaged from a donated AST Ascentia 900N laptop in December 2009 before I nuked it. Stiction was the probable cause of failure.

MK2428FC HDD2414 C ZE01

Large views: Top | Bottom

It is March 2015 and time to clear out some space in the basement. I've no use for undersized or dead hard drives that have less storage capacity than the fingernail-sized memory chip in my phone.

Goodbye, fellas!

This page last updated: 30-03-2016 | Related blog post