Are IDE/ATA Hard Drive Enclosures facing extinction?

The IDE Hard Disk was first introduced in the 1980’s and since then they have been the de facto hard drive used by PC manufacturers around the world.  The ubiquity of the IDE/ATA standard and its global adoption has resulted in hundreds of millions of units being manufactured. Anyone who has bought or owned a PC since the mid 1980’s, whether for home of business use will have purchased a PC with an IDE/SAT hard drive inside it.

In the last few years a new contender, the SATA (Serial-ATA) Hard Drive has entered the fray and because it provides a significant improvement in data transfer rates it has now replaced the slower IDE disks as the disk of choice.

As well as being faster SATA hard disks also have a completely different physical interface (the way in which they connect to the PC or connect inside an enclosure). IDE/ATA Hard Drives are instantly recognisable from the 2 rows of 20 Pins on the end of the Hard Drive whereas SATA Hard Drives have two “spade type” connectors.

As PC’s with IDE Hard Drives installed reach the end of their natural life or fail it makes sense to salvage the hard drive from the PC and recover the data from the disk and then use the Hard Disk in an enclosure. By doing this not only are you able to take off your confidential and personal data, but also you can clean and reformat the disk and then create a cost effective back up and storage solution.

If its an IDE/ATA Hard Drive recovered from a laptop PC then by using an enclosure you create a truly portable back up solution for very little cost. Enclosures are easy to use, they connect to your PC via USB (or Firewire) they protect the Hard Drive is a case (typically aluminium) and they are either self powered from the USB cable or the larger versions come with a power supply unit.

There is a problem on the horizon with all of this. Whilst there are still hundreds of millions of IDE/ATA Hard Disks in use or awaiting salvage the manufacturers of IDE/ATA enclosures are beginning to reduce their investment in the IDE/ATA enclosures. Many factories have already switched off their production of IDE/ATA Hard Drive enclosures and are now only manufacturing SATA Hard Drive enclosures.

So, if you think you might have a need for an IDE/Enclosure it might be worth buying one sooner rather than later.

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