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Re: advice on upgrading hard drive and cpu of laptop

[Charset iso-8859-1 unsupported, filtering to ASCII...]
> On Friday 05 January 2001 08:50, Dan Christensen wrote:
> > First, the hard drive:  the main reason I want to upgrade is to get
> > something faster.  My HD is a 6G Hitachi that came with my Vivante
> > when I bought it almost two years ago.  I find it to be very slow.
> > Can anyone recommend a faster drive, which is also relatively energy
> > efficient?  8 to 9G would be perfect.  Can anyone guess how many rpm
> > my drive would be?  I can't find this in any of the docs.  Will any
> > 2.5" IDE drive work?
> All the 2.5" IDE drives are supposed to be compatible (which doesn't mean 
> that they will be).
Every time I encountered a machine that looked like its 2.5" drive wasn't,
it's turned out to have a tiny adaptor that converted the Weird Proprietary
Pinout Inside The Laptop to a standard 2.5" IDE.  It may be difficult to 
remove, the way many power adaptors on desktop hard drives act like they've
bonded for life... but usually once you see the dividing line, all it takes
is the right gentle nudge or tweak.

> If you buy from a large store you should be able to buy on the basis that it 
> will work in your machine and the store will take the risk that it doesn't 
> work.
> Laptop drives are slow.  They are slow because they are engineered for small 
> size and resistance to shock rather than performance.  They are also slow 
> because laptops have slow IO buses and can't handle full performance on 
> modern drives.

Also, getting a faster, more capable drive will not speed up your motherboard's
basic bus speed, which is usually one of the first sacrifices in the name of
efficiency for making a motherboard fit a laptop form factor. If that's your
problem there's nothing you can do... for the disk.

Now, if you max out the memory you provide, you could easily make the difference
serve you as disk cache and as a ramdisk, to lots of speed improvement :)
> A drive with a higher spin rate will have greater force on it's bearings when 
> you tilt it.  This isn't a big deal for desktop machines which don't move 
> much.  It is a serious issue for laptops which get used on trains!

Generally if a company bothers to make the drives in 2.5" form factor, this
is usu. something they account for ... but, the larger capacity drives are 
fairly new, so we also have little evidence for whether they are weaker this 
way, or even burn out faster.  I'm not sure you can find any of the same size
that won't be the same vintage and therefore the same putzy speed.

I use a PCMCIA-IDE bay to attach extra drives, but what I put inside the laptop
is always rated for real laptop use.  The PCMCIA/IDE cable on the blinkylight
bay is bulkier than the widget I used to carry, so I rarely use it except at
a desk or coffeeshop anyway.
> If your hard drive is slow then install more RAM for better caching.

> > My CPU is a Celeron 300.  I chose this because it was inexpensive and
> > doesn't consume much power, but now I'd like a bit more speed, maybe
> > 50 to 100% more.  Would something like a Celeron 500 be a good option?
> > Or a Pentium?  Or something from AMD?  Will any mobile chip fit into
> > my motherboard?  How will the energy use of a modern 500MHz cpu
> > compare with that of a two year old Celeron 300?
> Replacing a CPU requires totally disassembling the machine.  If something 
> goes wrong you can't get replacement parts (laptops are known for breaking 
> when you disassemble them).  You may end up with a dead machine if you take 
> it apart.
> A Celeron 300 is a good enough machine that it's not something you want to 
> risk losing, I recommend not trying to upgrade it.  Try upgrading it in 2-3 
> years time when it's just a toy and you don't care if it dies!

I mentioned elsewhere, my day to day laptop is a 233 MMX.  It works fine.  Of
course, I have 96 Mb RAM and use it!  I also have the advantage that my depot
is still available to help me, and I don't even bother loading up X unless
I need it.  Worth considering if your apps are too disk hungry and could stand
a tune up themselves.

If you still have service available for the laptop, you could purchase a 
new drive rated for laptop use, then pay them merely for the labor to install
it.  Likewise memory... though it's a lot harder to get the right memory for
a laptop, blind.

A big risk of trying too much of a faster processor is that the motherboard
may have er, sacrificed, something in its layout and not be able to handle
a faster chip.  In a worst case, it could fry the CPU socket, and then it's
a doorstop :(  The CPU is the *last* thing I'd bother upgrading unless it has
an easy-access slot.  If it does have such a slot, then your CPU is in a
type of "package" and you should be able to purchase a faster package of
the same type, up to however fast that package got... if you can find an
OEM or repair depot that still sells that package.  There's a chance you
have the fastest package of the type though, I couldn't say.

* Heather Stern * star@ many places...

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