I know this is doable and I have found larger drives that seem to have the same specs as my current one. One question I can’t seem to get answered is “must I get a hard-drive with the same RPM specs as the old”. My current drive is 100GB SATA 5400 rpm (Fujitsu). I’ve seen faster speeds available but have no idea if I can just upgrade.
Anyone know this stuff or can point me to a site with that type of info?
Generally speaking you can just swap it out - as long as you use a drive that fits (meaning any 2.5" SATA) your laptop will recognize it. 5400rpm vs 7200rpm shouldn’t have any compatibility issues, although I have read that the faster drives run hotter so cooling and battery life could be impacted. Not sure if there’s enough extra performance to justify it.
My laptop (Dell Inspiron 5100, which is almost 6 years old) originally shipped with a 4500 RPM, 40 gig drive, which I swapped for a 5400 RPM 80 gig, which I swapped for a 5400 RPM 100 gig, which I swapped for a 7200 RPM 100 gig.
They were all 2.5” standard IDE (now often called PATA) and had no problems.
Correct. SATA is physically incompatible with the old PATA standard, which includes what you call “Ultra ATA”. You can get PATA->SATA converters, but in a laptop there’s always the problem of physical space, and it’s very unlikely you’re going to get room to mount an adapter in the limited space available.
As Valgard noted, generally speaking you can just swap out a faster (in terms of RPM) drive for a slower one, but there are potential issues around cooling, and also possibly around the amount of power the hard drive consumes. If you look at the power consumption of the new drive compared to the old one, that should give you a pretty good indication of whether you’re going to have problems. You might actually be surprised to find that the newer faster drive sips less power than the older one - improvements in technology are a wonderful thing.
On the speed issue, I’ve run into a form of this problem a couple a times after upgrading to a bigger/faster drive. It shows up during booting, the drive isn’t fully spun up in time when the BIOS starts trying to retrieve data off of it. A soft-reboot then takes care of it.