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Laptop hard drive problems and other questions

by kylebclark / November 10, 2005 7:37 AM PST

I have a Gateway laptop, 3.5 years old 1.8 GHz P4 M and 512 MB of RAM with a 40 GB hard drive.

OK, so my problem is the hard drive seems to have something physically wrong with it. It will randomly start clicking, like it got caught on something and can't keep spinning and then it crashes. Sometimes I can't even get it to start up because it doesn't appear to be able to load the proper files. The computer is also much slower, which seems to be a side effect of the bad harddrive as well.

I'm prepared to go ahead and replace it, but I wanted some suggestions on the RPM speed and cache because I don't know anything about that. Also, any brand recommendations? I saw CNETs article on upgrading your laptop, but I don't want transfer software. I'm just going to start fresh anyway. I have my data backed up and there's no guarantee this hard drive would make it through the transfer anyhow.

Lastly, if I was looking to extend the life of my laptop with this repair/upgrade, is it worth it to upgrade the RAM or is 512 really enough? Thanks!

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About RPM.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 10, 2005 8:29 AM PST

Pick out a nice size 5400 RPM and be happy. No, you don't have to have the same RPM as the old drive.

My p3-600 boot time dropped from over 4 minutes to under 2 and all I changed was the hard disk. I was amazed.


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No 7200?
by kylebclark / November 10, 2005 7:43 PM PST
In reply to: About RPM.

So, there's no need to spend the money on a 7200rpm HD?

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Why I don't
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 10, 2005 9:51 PM PST
In reply to: No 7200?

The 7200 RPMs are nice but in general run hotter and consume more power. This is not good for most laptops. The 5400 is a nice compromise.


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Some things to consider
by Dutchmants / November 11, 2005 3:45 AM PST
In reply to: Why I don't

First thing to consider is what percentage of teh time you use your laptop on batteries. If you are like many people today who own laptops and spend 90%+ of their time with the laptop plugged into the AC power than I would say by all means install a 7,200 RPM disk it will make a world of difference in the performance of the system. I have an older HP system taht I replaced the 4,800 RPM 40 GB disk with a 60 GB 7,200 RPM disk and it was like getting a whole new system. For my laptop use I would only consider a 5,400 RPM disk if I needed a size that isn't currently available in a 7,200 RPM disk. When I replaced my disk Hitachi (was IBM) were about the only 7,200 RPM laptop drives available.

If you use your laptop a lot on batteries then it may be worth considering the slower and less expensive 5,400 RPM drives. Don't even cosnide looking at a 4,800 RPM disk.

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