Can I replace my dead old Thinkpad HDD with a generic one?
July 31, 2008 6:18 AM   Subscribe

I have an ancient Thinkpad 570, and the hard drive finally died. Hardware not recognized. I've pulled out the old one (it rattles ominously) and am wondering if I can replace it with a new generic laptop drive, rather than having to go with overpriced proprietary stuff.

The laptop model number is 2644 3AA, and the HDD model is DBCA-206480 E182115 T, if that makes a difference. I've been building computers for years, but this is my first go with laptop repair.

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Best answer: a generic ide laptop drive will work fine. in the case of an older machine like this, you'd probably actually want one of the thicker drives -- most newer drives are pretty thin and might rattle around inside (unless your model has some sort of sled the drive bolts to; some thinkpads do, some don't)

some thinkpads had a little adapter cable between the drive and the machine; some don't. if yours does, obviously you just pop the cable off the old drive and place it on the new one.

this is an excellent resource.
posted by dorian at 6:33 AM on July 31, 2008

Also, be sure you consider what your operating system is capable of handling in terms of drive size. No sense buying a 320GB drive just to kick yourself over it later.
posted by notashroom at 6:54 AM on July 31, 2008

Pay attention to the comment about HD size.... I don't know if you have something like this in your town, but in Pittsburgh we have a Goodwill Computer Store where they sell old hardware components for really cheap. They would definitely have something like this. Otherwise try ebay/craigslist.
posted by Raichle at 8:27 AM on July 31, 2008

Best answer: I have a 570e that I upgraded with the 40 gig hard drive from my Inspiron 8600. I think it should work out for you.
posted by malaprohibita at 9:50 AM on July 31, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for that forum link, dorian. It pretty much told me what I needed to know. For future searchers, yes it's possible on the 570. With older bios revisions, it may need to see a less-than-8Gb boot partition, but having a separate boot partition is just good practices anyway. If your battery is toast, like mine, you can't (safely) update the bios, but either way, it should see up to the usual 137Gb with FAT32.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:17 PM on July 31, 2008

I'll ask for more informed opinion rather than giving my own, because I know enough to wonder whether this will be a problem but not enough to answer the question myself: does OP have to worry about heat if he upgrades to a faster drive? I was warned that there were a lot of 7200rpm drives that generated too much heat for my 570 to handle, and I've wondered whether it was true.
posted by d. z. wang at 11:24 PM on July 31, 2008

Response by poster: Dunno if that would be an issue, but my plan is to go with a $50 (at least here in Korea) 120Gb 5400rpm drive, I think, anyway. I'll report back once I've tried it out.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:55 PM on July 31, 2008

Best answer: forgot to mention before, thinkwiki is another superb resource, and is somewhat loosely coupled with the thinkpad forums. that page has a link to the service manual pdf for your machine, with more than you'd ever want to know.

this makes me want to dig out my 600X (red/pink screen tint at startup, backlight dying sad to say) and get it working again -- I really love the old battleship thinkpads.

I have been putting 7200rpm drives in my x31 and x61 and hell yes they add a ton of heat. something like a 570 will be fine with 5400, 4200, even 3600; 7200rpm did not speed up a 600X terribly much, just made it hot and angry.
posted by dorian at 8:53 AM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

also, re: heat & d. z. wang -- the 5x0 & 600 series were engineered amazingly well. solid is an understatement.

while I have read countless tales of some x2 and a disturbingly large number of x3 suffering heat death (components desoldering themselves from the logic board!) I have yet to see even one about the older series (and that includes people installing much faster processors, overclocking, 7200rpm drives, etc.)

I've used tpfancontrol on my 600X and x31 to keep temps down. on the 600 it is just to keep my legs comfortable; on the x31 it is to keep the silly bint from dying over time. I can live with the extra fan noise, but understand that not everyone always can.
posted by dorian at 9:17 AM on August 2, 2008

Do you still have the old drive? :) Mine died, and I should find another identical one for parts...
posted by omgd00d at 9:02 AM on April 29, 2009

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