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Which SSD for booting my old-ish laptop off its PC Card Slot?
May 9, 2010 4:44 AM   Subscribe

I have an old-ish laptop that I love, and I want to give it a new lease of life. I have thought booting off an SSD in the PC Card slot would make it run snappier and go easier on the battery.

I have been reading about SSDs, but apparently nobody makes them with an IDE interface, only SATA, and my laptop is older than that. So it's PC Card disk or nothing.

Apparently my computer does have an ExpressCard adapter, but I don't know whether it runs in PCIe mode or USB mode, or which SSD to get. It's a Toshiba Portege M200 (love the XGA screen, 1400x1050 resolution baby!) and I run Ubuntu on it.

Also, for what it's worth, this particular Portege M200 cost me 250$ off eBay Australia a bit less than a year ago. I wouldn't mind spending another $200 or so on it, especially since I could reuse the disk should I want to move on.. which is not likely.
posted by kandinski to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Transcent and Super Talent have PATA SSDs, you can get a 64GB drive for around $200. I would recommend this over an ExpressCard solution.
posted by wongcorgi at 5:29 AM on May 9, 2010


I have an older laptop running off of an 8gb compact flash card in a CF to IDE adapter. Sort of a home-brew netbook.

It boots and runs nicely, probably as well as a good hard drive. But when there are a lot of writes going on, it gets really slow. I'm sure that's because the CF card is slow.

So my point is, make sure the SSD you choose is fast, or you won't see any gains.
posted by gjc at 6:47 AM on May 9, 2010


CF cards are usually pretty slow. Nowhere near HD speeds unless you're buying a top of the line one. However, there are some ExpressCard based SSDs available that may offer suitable performance.

An internal IDE SSD may be an option, but many of these are based on older JMicron chipsets that have various performance issues. Do a lot of research on any model you choose to purchase. Availability in your region may be low enough that it's financially not worthwhile, I really don't know.

If your laptop can boot from Firewire and you're willing to hang a box off of it (not likely, given the nature of the laptop), you may be able to get an external Firewire to SATA enclosure, and use a SATA SSD. Or a PCMCIA SATA card and a SATA/eSATA enclosure.

That being said, the performance gain from moving to an SSD on a system going on 6 years old may just not be there, at least from a price to performance standpoint. It may be more beneficial to investigate CPU or memory upgrades. There would be some performance improvements in random reads with an SSD, but storage may not be that large of a bottleneck in this system.
posted by Rendus at 7:15 AM on May 9, 2010


Up the memory, run CCleaner, maybe reinstal windows - I'm not convinced either by putting an SSD on.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:10 PM on May 9, 2010


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