What do I need to know if I want to replace a laptop hard drive?

clinton January 17, 2012
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What info is important when replacing a internal hard drive on a laptop

  1. FIDELIS
    January 18, 2012 at 3:28 am

    Hello, the most important thing you need to know is what kind of connector it uses.  If it is an older laptop, it probably uses IDE.  If it is a newer one, it uses SATA.  That info is really easy to get.  You can find it in device manager, or system information.  Easiest way of finding out is by taking the screws of plate holding harddrive in laptop and take the harddrive out.  Take that harddrive with you when you decide to get a new one.  You could also use something like speccy:

    http://www.piriform.com/speccy

    Of course, the drive has to be in 2.5" form factor.  Desktops use the 3.5 form factor, so a desktop harddrive can not be used on a laptop.

    Now, once you know the above, it is just a matter of rotational speed.  For example SATA drives come in different speeds.  Usually for a laptop, it runs SATA drives at 5400 rpm.  Drives with this speed are preferred for laptops because the slow rotational speed helps with keeping the laptop cool.  If you want to see an improvement in speed when accessing files, you could use mobile drives with 7200 rpms.  There are several rotational speeds: 5400, 5900, 7200, 10,000rpm.  Not all of them apply to laptops.

    When you have a laptop with SATA drives, it is also a matter of knowing the speed of SATA headers.  This is important but not necessary to know.   The new version is 6G and older version is 3G.  Most older laptops that run SATA drives use 3G headers.  Newer laptops/desktops use 6G SATA headers.  If your laptop uses 6G SATA headers, it still runs SATA drives with 3G speed.  If your laptop has 3G SATA headers, it still runs harddrives made for 6G headers, only thing is drive will not get to run at full 6G speeds.

    If your laptop uses SATA harddrives and you want to increase speed in your laptop, I would recommend a SSD drive.  It can really help with bootup, file transfer speed, etc.  Only thing is they are a little bit expensive.  

  2. FIDELIS
    January 18, 2012 at 3:27 am

    Hello, the most important thing you need to know is what kind of connector it uses.  If it is an older laptop, it probably uses IDE.  If it is a newer one, it uses SATA.  That info is really easy to get.  You can find it in device manager, or system information.  Easiest way of finding out is by taking the screws of plate holding harddrive in laptop and take the harddrive out.  Take that harddrive with you when you decide to get a new one.  You could also use something like speccy:

    http://www.piriform.com/speccy

    Of course, the drive has to be in 2.5" form factor.  Desktops use the 3.5 form factor, so a desktop harddrive can not be used on a laptop.

    Now, once you know the above, it is just a matter of rotational speed.  For example SATA drives come in different speeds.  Usually for a laptop, it runs SATA drives at 5400 rpm.  Drives with this speed are preferred for laptops because the slow rotational speed helps with keeping the laptop cool.  If you want to see an improvement in speed when accessing files, you could use mobile drives with 7200 rpms.  There are several rotational speeds: 5400, 5900, 7200, 10,000rpm.  Not all of them apply to laptops.

    When you have a laptop with SATA drives, it is also a matter of knowing the speed of SATA headers.  This is important but not necessary to know.   The new version is 6G and older version is 3G.  Most older laptops that run SATA drives use 3G headers.  Newer laptops/desktops use 6G SATA headers.  If your laptop uses 6G SATA headers, it still runs SATA drives with 3G speed.  If your laptop has 3G SATA headers, it still runs harddrives made for 6G headers, only thing is drive will not get to run at full 6G speeds.

    If your laptop uses SATA harddrives and you want to increase speed in your laptop, I would recommend a SSD drive.  It can really help with bootup, file transfer speed, etc.  Only thing is they are a little bit expensive.  

  3. Mike
    January 18, 2012 at 12:27 am

    You need to know
    - the connector type (IDE, SATA)
    - the maximum supported height [in mm]
    - the maximum supported capacity

    ... although the second point primarily exists for Macs and should not be an issue for other systems and vendors.

    It would be beneficial if you found some howto instruction (can sometimes spare you time trying to figure out which screws to remove) and you definitely have to remove the battery and unplug the power connector.

  4. Anonymous
    January 17, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    no special info i believe, you can choose similar hard drive with higher capacity or for a faster SSD hard drives (more expensive).
    Also The BIOS chipset on the laptop will only support drives up to a certain capacity, so you’ll want to make a note of just how many gigabytes (GB) your laptop will support.

    Notebook Hard Drive Buying Guide
    http://www.newegg.com/product/categoryintelligencearticle.aspx?articleid=222

    you wish to find out info regarding your hard drivedownload speccy
    http://www.piriform.com/speccy