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Dilemma - Need advice for new hard drive for an hp a1630n

by secret amish tekkie / July 8, 2009 11:28 PM PDT

After dealing with 3 different hp techs via online chat, we finally confirmed via BIOS that the hard drive in our son's computer went bad. We were having problems with a comctl32.dll file, ran the hard drive test in PC Doctor and got the dreaded HD521-2W error code. Bought in 12/2006 at Best Buy. It's an hp a1630n with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. I believe the hard drive is/was a Samsung SP2504C (SP2504), 250 GB. The computer is no longer under warranty; and we didn't buy an extended warranty.

The last hp tech told me that I could buy the same hard drive from hp for about $120, and that I could buy the recovery disks with the same operating system program for another $15-20, so the computer could get back to the way it was pre-failure. But, if I bought a different hard drive (let's say I upgraded to 500GB), the recovery disks wouldn't work so I would have to buy the OS (Windows XP Media center Edition). Before making a decision, I have several questions that I started asking my self, and was hoping maybe you all could offer your expert advice?

1. Is the Samsung SP2504C a reputable hard drive? Is it worth buying the same thing?
2. If this hard drive sucks, why would I want another one and run into the same problem again?
3. My son mainly uses his computer for gaming (WoW, COD4, Command & Conquer, etc.). Is it worth getting the same thing, or should we switch to a better hard drive?
4. He is entering high school, so I assume he may be doing more "office" related work on his computer (reports, homework, etc.) in the upcoming year. Instead of buying another version of Windows XP Media Center, I already bought/have (from a while ago) Windows XP, SP1 which was bought for our old computer as an upgrade to Windows Me. Would this suffice?

Any advice you can offer would be most appreciated.

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By the numbers and a comment.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 9, 2009 12:22 AM PDT

1. Is the Samsung SP2504C a reputable hard drive? Is it worth buying the same thing?

I see nothing to be gained by sticking with that drive. In fact I'd just pick up any under 99 buck SATA desktop drive at newegg.com or geeks.com and drive through this one.

2. If this hard drive sucks, why would I want another one and run into the same problem again?

Sorry. Hard disks will always fail at some point. These are not life time devices but range in the year numbers they fail at. You can extend that time if you do the following every year (watch the video) -> http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-11319_7-6240575-1.html

3. My son mainly uses his computer for gaming (WoW, COD4, Command & Conquer, etc.). Is it worth getting the same thing, or should we switch to a better hard drive?

In my reply to itme 1, I'd just go shopping.

4. He is entering high school, so I assume he may be doing more "office" related work on his computer (reports, homework, etc.) in the upcoming year. Instead of buying another version of Windows XP Media Center, I already bought/have (from a while ago) Windows XP, SP1 which was bought for our old computer as an upgrade to Windows Me. Would this suffice?

NO. You were given a GIFT of restore CDs for 15 to 20. DO NOT PASS UP THIS GIFT.

"Any advice you can offer would be most appreciated."

In short, get a new drive. Do not over analyze this cheap part that will fail every so many years. Always do your yearly and you may avoid the usual issues.
Bob

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By the numbers and a comment
by secret amish tekkie / July 9, 2009 12:30 AM PDT

Hi Bob-
Thanks for the quick reply. Just one question relative to your "DO NOT PASS UP THIS GIFT." The hp tech said that the recovery disks would only work with this hard drive -- I'm not sure if he meant just this model (the SP2504C) in general, or the one hp would sell to me for $120 (which, BTW, I just found online for $52). Was he not telling me the truth? If I buy any SATA hard drive that is "better" than this one, would I still be able to load the OS onto it, or is hp going to do something to make it difficult/impossible for me to do so?
Thanks.

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They fibbed on the only this drive.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 9, 2009 2:00 AM PDT

It's a gift that I would never pass up.

Why I maintain there is no issue here is that the size (250GB) is over the usual 127GB limit you find on XP restore CDs.

So this drive? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148221

7200 RPM, 500 GB, free shipping?

As your ability to load the OS I can't answer. I've done this far too many times for others and never try to make the person who had trouble feel too bad.
Bob

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What I suspect....
by Willy / July 9, 2009 3:04 AM PDT

If you order the Media Center, I can't remember if it directly can handle above the 127GB HD limit if that OS is an issue. However, if that what came with your system, it should work. If optionable, get the true XP version, but you will need to get the drivers required as an extra step. Regardless any XP/Media Center OS must be SP1 or above ready to handle large HDs. You can get your hands on any HD you like, you don't need that Samsung to re-install. Instructions? Well HP provides that via their support website do get that, copy it or d/l it as a reference. If push comes to shove, you can "partition" the new larger drive, having what you feel is required.

tada -----Willy Happy

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