My laptop needs a new hard drive. Am I getting the best deal?
March 11, 2012 2:24 PM   Subscribe

My laptop needs a new hard drive. Am I getting the best deal?

So my Dell Studio 1535 encountered a light drop and is now extremely slow and buggy.

I need a new hard drive, but my resources are limited to Googling "Dell Studio 1535 hard drive"

I found this drive 500 GB 7200 RPM 16 MB that I like for $135.

Is there a way to search for a generic drive that will fit my computer, that might be any cheaper? Or am I getting a good deal?
posted by ptsampras14 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Best answer: According to your laptop has an SATA connector. It should accept pretty much any 2.5 inch form factor (laptop sized) hard disk drive with an SATA connector. Search for '500gb laptop hard drive' and you'll find that $135 is a bit steep.

That said, if you're getting random errors I'd recommend reseating the RAM modules before buying a new hard disk. Crucial also has some pretty decent guides on installing RAM modules.
posted by itheearl at 2:36 PM on March 11, 2012

Here's all the 500 GB hard drives from Newegg sorted by best rating. Sure, the first one is $150, but the other Western Digital (which is the brand I recommend) is less than $100.
posted by deezil at 2:49 PM on March 11, 2012

More expensive but seriously consider choosing an SSD.
posted by sammyo at 3:16 PM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

+1 on the SSD, if you feel like spending the money. It is seriously the best way to revive an aging system.

That said, make sure not only the form factor (2.5) and interface (data) are correct, but also the height (9mm?). A too-fat hard drive can ruin your day.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 3:46 PM on March 11, 2012

Best answer: "but also the height (9mm?)"

This. Those Dells ship with a 9.5mm thick drive - but if I'm correctly remembering the cage they use, a 7mm will also mount just fine. (An 11.5mm, which you still see around occasionally, will not ;-)

The other thing with them is the little cable that connects the drive to the motherboard is finicky, and breaks just about as often as HDDs do. Might be worth reseating the cable at both ends before you go replacing the HDD, and maybe even ordering a replacement cable with the HDD.
posted by Pinback at 4:28 PM on March 11, 2012

Hard drive prices have been up for the last few months because major flooding in Malaysia last year took out several major HD factories. I don't know if they're back in operation yet.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:21 PM on March 11, 2012 is a 15 years old price comparison site for smaller vendors which earns a few cents when you click through and buy. Newegg and Amazon used to participate, but they don't need to now. Sometimes you can find very good deals on new low quantity items and generic brand items.

The lowest 500gb SATA raw notebook drive there at this second is $80 free ship, but generic brand.

But also check the "Pocket" drives there, those are the external USB drives with 2.5" drives. There's one 500gb there at this second for $70 free ship. You could crack it open and use the internal drive. (They are all SATA inside now, and almost always 5400rpm)
posted by caclwmr4 at 6:38 PM on March 11, 2012

15 years? Gosh I feel old now...I remember using to spec out a 486 system back in the day.

Well, a nice "in between" for price vs. performance would be a SSD hybrid drive like Seagate's Momentus. They have some of the benefits of SSD, yet also come with decent storage at a comparable price to regular HDDs. I'd be somewhat cautious however as you are working with an aging system that is nearing its fifth year since manufacture (that also has been dropped and may have damage outside of just the HDD). If you find that replacing the HDD does not help, you could always opt for a new laptop and HDD enclosure if you want to keep the drive(s).

You can also find here the service manual for your system which can help with general maintenance tasks.
posted by samsara at 5:35 AM on March 12, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the help everyone. Since this laptop is getting to be over the hill, I opted not to upgrade RPM or size and went with an $86 320 GB drive from New Egg. It served me well for four years, and here's to another four.
posted by ptsampras14 at 5:58 AM on March 17, 2012

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