looking for a big fat pmp
November 30, 2006 4:31 AM   Subscribe

can anyone recommend (or even just point out) a portable mp3 player (or multimedia player) that features an upgradeable 2.5" hard drive?

i previously purchased an xclef hd-500, which was exactly what i wanted and needed. unfortunately, it eventually died, and the product is now off the market.
right now i have a 120 gb 2.5" hard drive full of music, and i'd like to buy a player and install this hard drive in it.
the best thing would be to buy the player sans hard drive. failing that, i guess i could buy one with a low-capacity hard drive and swap mine into it.
new or even used is ok.
i know archos sell 2.5" hard drive-based players, but i'm not sure whether they're upgradeable.
thanks in advance for any help.
posted by Silky Slim to Technology (7 answers total)
Archos players are upgradeable. There are some tricks and pitfalls and caveats, though, not to mention a lot of tiny screws and precision components, and I would strongly encourage closely following after someone who has already done this successfully.

If I recall correctly, the Neuros players, and some of the old Creative players, also use 2.5" hard drives.
posted by box at 6:13 AM on November 30, 2006

I upgraded my old 2002-era Archos V2 Recorder to 128 GB using a 2.5" drive. It could take a larger disk, but the ATA interface craps out (no 48-bit addressing). It's monochrome only though, so videos look a bit crap on it.

Older Archos multimedia devices are apparently easily expandable, but the newer, fancier ones have some kind of annoying firmware lock on them to prevent disk upgrades.

You'll get lots of info on upgrading mp3 players on the appropriate Rockbox forum.
posted by meehawl at 6:15 AM on November 30, 2006

And I'm sure you've already considered this, but would it be possible to repair your xclef, or to buy another one through the secondhand market?
posted by box at 6:15 AM on November 30, 2006

Archos AV500 series players (60 and 100gb, but NOT 30gb), as well as the Gmini500 series have 2.5" hard drives. They are great players, and if you have some balls, it's possible to swap drives. Now that the new series of players is out, these older models are getting dirt cheap on ebay.
posted by weaponsgradecarp at 6:41 AM on November 30, 2006

Now that the new series of players is out, these older models are getting dirt cheap on ebay.

I just took a look and I'm seeing prices in the $250-500 range, even for the 30 GB player. How much did these cost when they were new?

posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:19 AM on November 30, 2006

I have (had) a Neuros, but it didn't work that well. It seemed like the drive arm would get stuck if the power dipped below about 80%. I say "seemed like," because this diagnosis doesn't make much sense to me. Browsing the Neuros forums revealed that lots of users had problems with this device.

I took the drive out and put it in an enclosure for portable storage.

If you want the rest of the gizmo, I'll give it to you.

Somewhat off topic: I highly recommend the Cowon iAudio x5 60GB.
posted by univac at 10:40 AM on November 30, 2006

Be careful, the Archos AV500 is not upgradeable. It's been tried several times and I haven't seen anyone do it successfully. There's something wonky with the firmware that seems to marry the unit to a particular hard drive.
posted by SalsaShark at 9:41 PM on November 30, 2006

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