Picking out a hard drive
January 7, 2008 12:15 PM   Subscribe

I have a very old laptop whose 3 GB (!) hard drive died. Can I put a fresh new 100 GB hard drive in there or should I replace with the exact model I took out? Details inside.

The laptop is a 1999-vintage Fujitsu LifeBook E335 that I've been using for menial, specialized tasks. The original factory hard drive, a Fujitsu MHD2032AT 3GB hard drive, finally kicked the bucket over the weekend.

Should I be safe and buy another MHD2032AT from a reseller, or is there a reasonable chance that there's a 50-100 GB hard drive somewhere that will work in this laptop? I'm concerned about BIOS incompatibility issues, a thing that I saw last year when trying to put a 50 GB WD drive in a 2000-model Compaq workstation that balked at anything over 20 GB. Furthermore I don't even know what kind of connector I'm shopping for... will anything listed as "ATA-33" work?
posted by crapmatic to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
This page offers a 30 or 40GB hard drive for that model.
posted by mmascolino at 12:35 PM on January 7, 2008

They're known as 2.5 IDE drives, and you should be able to reuse the standard connector attached to your existing dead one (if there is one...otherwise just slide it in). I share your concern with the vintage laptop and would like to encourage for you to not invest too much money on the HD, whatever size you get, 20-40gb should be safe. Really with a system that old and so far out of warranty, I'd consider getting a cheap new low end laptop to replace it instead....much less headache potential especially if something else is already wrong with it (IDE controller could be shot..etc).
posted by samsara at 1:08 PM on January 7, 2008

With that vintage of a laptop, the only BIOS issue you might run into is not being able to address anything over 128GB.
posted by phrayzee at 1:12 PM on January 7, 2008

I would personally update the BIOS if you're not running 1.09, then check to see if your chipset(Find out the model number in the control panel and google "MODEL# spec sheet" ) supports at least ATA-1 (137GB ceiling). Going by the exsisting drive, if you choose something less than 12.5mm high, 2.5" format and draws less than 2.4w max, you should be fine.
posted by Orb2069 at 1:41 PM on January 7, 2008

If you were getting by just fine with 3g, you might consider buying 4g compact flash card and using a compact flash to ide adapter. It's relatively cheap and should help with the battery life. The card should appear just like a regular hard drive.
posted by roue at 6:46 PM on January 7, 2008

...Not so sure on using Compact Flash in place of a platter drive in this situation: putting swap onto a flash drive is a not-so-good thing, in terms of the life of the drive(particularly if he's using an OS or access method that might not implement the wear-levelling algorithms).
posted by Orb2069 at 11:11 AM on January 12, 2008

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