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The computer industry is always coming up with new technologies that offer "better" performance. And it's easy to get lost in a sea of acronyms and marketing dribble. In the hard drive arena IDE, EIDE, Ultra DMA 66/100, and all the flavors of SCSI are enough to complicate matters. Toss in the various drive specifications such as RPMs, access time, cache size...etc., and all of a sudden your decision becomes a bit more difficult. If you are a bit on the nerdy side, and here in the Silicon Valley that's a complement, then you probably tend to tweak your machine and read trade magazines to stay up on the trends in technology. If you are less of a nerd, a compliment most other places, no problem, there a few basic rules you can follow when upgrading your computer system or building one from scratch.

Just like your audio gear your computer system is only as good as it's weakest link. Buying the biggest, fastest hard drive you can offer won't do you much good in an outdated system. Good components and name brand gear make a difference. And I'm referring to quality components, not a pretty case from Dell or Gateway. Forget about the label on the computer box. What are important are the names on the components inside your computer. A top quality motherboard, memory and hard drive will make your digital audio life much more enjoyable. Your system will crash less and provide better performance. I've had good success with ASUS and Intel motherboards and Micron memory which sells under the Crucial brand. You can build a real powerhouse with an Athlon processor and an ASUS K7V motherboard for not a lot of money. If you simply just buy a new hard drive and surround it with older and slower components, chances are you won't get the performance you desire.