Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Easy Laptop Upgrades

I installed a new Western Digital Scorpio Black 320GB hard drive in my laptop yesterday. This is a SATA 2.5 inch 7200 RPM hard drive that originally sold for $250 when it was introduced last year. It goes for around $70 now. This hard drive replaces the original Seagate 80GB 5200 RPM hard drive that came with this Dell E1405 laptop.

Installing a hard drive in this laptop is really easy. Remove two screws from the back, slide the old hard drive out, remove the hard drive caddy from the old hard drive by removing 4 screws (if your new hard drive didn't come with a caddy), install the new hard drive in the caddy, plug it into the laptop and tighten the 2 screws. You have to reinstall your operating system, programs and any files you want from your old hard drive of course.

I decided not to reinstall Windows and dual boot with Ubuntu which I had been doing. I'm using Ubuntu 9.04 and the ext4 file system.

I upgraded to 2GB of DDR2-667 RAM a few weeks ago. This is a little trickier since the laptop has two locations for the RAM chips. One under the laptop which is easy to access and one under the keyboard which is a little more difficult. Dell's manuals are online and if you follow the instructions it's no problem. I bought the RAM for $10 from a computer hobbyist who happened to have some spare memory. It replaces the original 1GB of DDR2-533 RAM.

For 80 bucks I quadrupled my hard drive space and doubled my RAM, my laptop runs faster and I can keep using it for awhile.

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