What kind of laptop harddrive can I use?
March 2, 2007 9:47 AM   Subscribe

I need a new laptop harddrive. Can I use any that is physically the same size, or must I stick with HP?

Sorry, if this is a dumb question, but HP are telling me I need a new harddrive. My current one is 80GB, ATA-100 EIDE, 4,200 rpm, 2.5 in and 9.5mm high.
The part # they say I need costs around $200. I see similar ones on Ebay for much less. Do I need to stick to that, or can I get a cheapie?
posted by simonash to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Usually the interface for laptop hard-drives is standard, so you should be able to use any drive that corresponds to the form-factor and interface used by your machine.
posted by gadha at 9:55 AM on March 2, 2007

Yes, you can use any ATA (not SATA) 2.5" (not 3.5") hard drive.

Laptop hard drives are typically slightly more expensive than desktop ones, but not much. No reason to pay for any particular brand name or OEM part.

The ones on Ebay may be refurbished. Which should be fine, but know what you're getting.

If you can operate a small screwdriver and keep track of lots of tiny screws, you can replace your own hard drive - don't be afraid.
posted by jellicle at 9:56 AM on March 2, 2007

You can get a cheapie and be fine. Here are some options.
posted by mjger at 9:56 AM on March 2, 2007

Any 2.5" laptop drive will work. The RPMs will be more of a factor in the power usage, so get the same RPMs if battery power is important. Higher RPMs will indicate increased power usage and better performance. The old drive is usually in a bracket that slides out fo the laptop, so you just have to mount the new one to the bracket and slide it back in.
posted by hankbear at 9:58 AM on March 2, 2007

Whoops! Also, what jellicle said -- not SATA, since yours is (P)ATA ( also called EIDE).
posted by hankbear at 9:59 AM on March 2, 2007

I replaced the original drive in my PowerBook about a year back, with a non-Apple part. As long as you order one with the same specs, it shouldn't matter. (As long as HP isn't doing the installation for you.)

When my harddrive went out, I ordered one from TigerDirect.com (or maybe it was NewEgg.com) and installed it myself. It ran about $70. This was for a 40gb harddrive, because my laptop is basically a field tool that I don't plan to store a lot of stuff on.
posted by ArsncHeart at 10:01 AM on March 2, 2007

Here's an HP-specific caveat: I'm not sure which HP laptop you have, but I know some of the newer HP laptops with IDE interfaces use a strange drive caddy assembly with an adapter between the IDE connector on the drive and the laptop's drive connector. The IDE drive is screwed into the bracket/caddy by four screws into ports on the side, and then two more screws fasten the plastic adapter to the caddy and the drive. Make sure to remove the adapter from the old drive before you discard it.
posted by Alterscape at 11:36 AM on March 2, 2007

If you value your data, don't get a refurb from eBay. I just got back from BestBuy (yeah yeah, I know, it was close and I was itching for a 4gb usb thumb drive) and saw some 2.5 Seagate laptop hard-drives, ATA-100, 120gb, 5200rpm for $160.

Buy new Seagate drives whenever you can.
posted by nataaniinez at 3:01 PM on March 2, 2007

Seagate is not the only good drive manufacturer. I've had as many Seagates fail as Maxtor Diamonds or WD Caviars, the other brands I buy.

You can use any hard drive you like, as long as your data is backed up. All drives fail. Laptop drives fail constantly.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:43 AM on March 3, 2007

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