each IDE channel supports 2 devices MAX
most motherboards have 2 IDE channels, some newer ones have 1
you don't put CD/DVD drives with a hard drive on the same channel (it'll slow the hard drive down like no other (as it can only transfer data as fast as the slowest device, and CD/DVD drives are usually ATA/33 or ATA/66, while hard drives for IDE are ATA/100 or ATA/133)
if you gave up CD/DVD drives at best 4
5 you'd need to have a 2nd controller card
you can buy an IDE controller card that plugs into a PCI slot for only $14.99 at www.newegg.com
do know that putting an old drive that is slow and a newer drive that is fast, on the same IDE, will result in crap load times for anything on the newer drive (slower than what it should)
if you stick an ATA/133 IDE hard drive on a channel with an ATA/33 IDE hard drive, both will work
but the BEST data transfer they can achive is ATA/33
which would make the 133 pointless
if you have SATA plugs on the system you would need SATA Drives (or SATA to ATA adapters (Which go for the tune of $30))
SATA supports 1 drive per port, most motherboards with SATA have 2 SATA ports, BUT, newer motherboards have as many as 8
with multiple hard drives you can have RAID arrays
RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 5
RAID 0 - Data Striping, it combines disks into 1, so 2 300GB disks become 1 600GB disk, and the data is striped accross them (meaning if you pull one out, you will have mega errors with data)
RAID 1 - Data Mirroring, with 2 300GB disks you get 300GB of storage, and the 2nd disk mirrors the 1st, for full redundancy
RAID 5 - simmilar to RAID 0, you use 3 disks in this configuration, 2 disks are striped, and the thrid is used for parity
RAID 1 is "the ultimate in data protection"
RAID 0 is for large storage array s
RAID 5 is for a combination of both
I am currently running Win XP on pc with 2.5ghz cpu, 512mb ram and 2 hard drives.
Is it possible to add a third, fourth or fifth hard drive???
I did the install on my second hard drive and realize there are only 2 adapter plugs on the ide ribbon cable.
I know large hard drives are fairly cheap these days but I have many older hard drives on hand lying around from friends and families who have upgraded and bought new computers. and they are all free!!!