This might help some people keep their old hardware useful.
The 80-GB SATA-I (1.5 Gb/s) HDD in my twelve-year-old Dell Inspiron E1505 suddenly gave up the ghost. A salesperson at a store where they mostly know their stuff told me any current conventional drive probably wouldn’t work in that machine. I bought a SATA-III (6 Gb/s) Western Digital WD5000LPCX anyway.
Chucked it in and got “No HDD installed.” Took it out and found four unlabeled jumper pins. Found nothing about them in or on the box. Started doing research.
Buried on the WD Web site is information that jumpering pins 1 and 2 enables “spread spectrum clocking.” People ask about this here and there on the Internet, and the experts all say it’s for reducing electromagnetic interference (spread spectrum is a kind of radio technology, right?) and will only degrade drive performance.
To claim SATA compliance, a drive has to be backward-compatible with earlier versions of SATA. Spread spectrum means more than one frequency, and on wired devices that means more than one bit rate….
I jumpered the pins and threw the drive back in. “500GB HDD installed.”
I think WD would love for us to know we can do that — but certain other folks would not, and WD has to do their bidding….
On the Mac, Ctrl didn't exist; in Windows, Ctrl-A through Ctrl-Z did virtually nothing. From 1985 on, the choice was clear: you could get the full benefit of the most basic standard of computing, or you could use a GUI and a crippled keyboard and become this or that vendor's slave. I chose WordStar. LIVE FREE OR DIE.