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Is an SSD compatible with this old laptop?


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#1 argonvegell

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Posted 11 June 2017 - 07:50 PM

Here's the current specs of my laptop:

 

Dell Inspiron E1505
Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7200 at 2.0 GHz per core.
1GB DDR2 667MHz RAM in dual channel mode
ATI X1400 256MB graphics card
WD 120GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
8X DVD +/- dual layer recorder
9-cell lithium-ion battery
Lubuntu 16.04 LTS
Dell Wireless 1500 (802.11n)

 

Bought this laptop in 2007, it originally it had Windows XP Media Center Edition on it, but I recently installed Lubuntu 16.04 on it and it runs great, however, the hard drive has bad sectors.
 

An IT friend of mine came over and we tried to install a WD 500GB HDD on it, but it wouldn't detect it, but it detected 160GB and 120GB HDDs just fine. According to my IT friend, it's the BIOS, the BIOS cannot handle larger drives, so the hard drive is limited only to 120GB to 160 GB.

 

Here's the BIOS info: A08 (Dell Inc.) 07/28/2006

 

According to my friend, he wouldn't recommend updating/flashing the BIOS, even he doesn't know how to do it, he heard many horror stories of people flashing their BIOS and bricking their computers, turning them into a thousand dollar paper weight.

With that, would a Solid State Drive be compatible with this machine? My friend isn't knowledgeable on SSDs.

 

I found this, a Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 2.5" 60GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SV300S37A/60G (https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA6232GM5752)

 

Seeing that this SSD is only 60GB, would it be compatible with my BIOS?



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 June 2017 - 09:00 PM

See this thread. It seems you can go larger than 160GB. This older computer possible has a 9.5mm thick drive. The newer drives are 7mm. It's possible when using the same drive cage the drive does not get inserted correctly into the motherboard. This is one thing to watch out for. Try the WD500 again but determine what the drive thickness is compared to the original drive. Some people have shimmed the drive with paper to take up the difference in space. The same holds true for a SSD. It's most likely 7mm. Some come with an adapter to take up the extra space. Crucial provides an adapter as you can see here. Also you have DDR2 ram so you will not get the full speed of the SSD though it will be faster. Latest BIOS on this computer is A17 but I would avoid upgrading if at all possible. 

 

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#3 Platypus

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Posted 11 June 2017 - 09:03 PM

Seeing 120GB and 160GB were the original drive sizes available for that model, and 128GB is the commonest hardware size limit, it does seem possible the BIOS only recognizes the official drive sizes for the model. I've known of that happening and it's a pain when manufacturers do that.

The BIOS update that is available is A17, it lists recognizing later CPUs, doesn't mention drive sizes, but BIOS update descriptions don't necessarily list all changes. It's a self executing update that can be run from either DOS or Windows, so should be easy to do. It is possible for a BIOS update to fail and brick a computer, but I've done quite a few and never had that happen.

It's quite likely that an SSD of 160GB or less will work nicely in the system, but there's a slight possibility that they may also be unrecognized. HP did that in the early days of SSDs, the BIOS would only recognize official HP models of SSD. I haven't heard of Dell doing that though.

I'd suggest 60GB would be a bit cramped, if possible try a 120GB, which will also typically be a little faster again than the equivalent 60GB drive. If you have to buy one to test it out, then I guess the smaller drive costs less, but a larger one might be more useful or saleable if the Dell still can't use it.

Edit: beaten to the punch by JohnC

Edited by Platypus, 11 June 2017 - 09:05 PM.

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#4 argonvegell

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Posted 11 June 2017 - 09:33 PM

See this thread. It seems you can go larger than 160GB. This older computer possible has a 9.5mm thick drive. The newer drives are 7mm. It's possible when using the same drive cage the drive does not get inserted correctly into the motherboard. This is one thing to watch out for. Try the WD500 again but determine what the drive thickness is compared to the original drive. Some people have shimmed the drive with paper to take up the difference in space. The same holds true for a SSD. It's most likely 7mm. Some come with an adapter to take up the extra space. Crucial provides an adapter as you can see here. Also you have DDR2 ram so you will not get the full speed of the SSD though it will be faster. Latest BIOS on this computer is A17 but I would avoid upgrading if at all possible. 

 

JTWCK.jpg

 

 

The original drive of this laptop is 2.5, not 9.5, here's the drive:  https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136072

 

We compared the size of the WD 2.5 500GB HDD to the original, it's the same size and thickness, that's why my IT friend came to the conclusion that the BIOS doesn't support larger drives.

 

Seeing 120GB and 160GB were the original drive sizes available for that model, and 128GB is the commonest hardware size limit, it does seem possible the BIOS only recognizes the official drive sizes for the model. I've known of that happening and it's a pain when manufacturers do that.

The BIOS update that is available is A17, it lists recognizing later CPUs, doesn't mention drive sizes, but BIOS update descriptions don't necessarily list all changes. It's a self executing update that can be run from either DOS or Windows, so should be easy to do. It is possible for a BIOS update to fail and brick a computer, but I've done quite a few and never had that happen.

It's quite likely that an SSD of 160GB or less will work nicely in the system, but there's a slight possibility that they may also be unrecognized. HP did that in the early days of SSDs, the BIOS would only recognize official HP models of SSD. I haven't heard of Dell doing that though.

I'd suggest 60GB would be a bit cramped, if possible try a 120GB, which will also typically be a little faster again than the equivalent 60GB drive. If you have to buy one to test it out, then I guess the smaller drive costs less, but a larger one might be more useful or saleable if the Dell still can't use it.

Edit: beaten to the punch by JohnC

 

 

Thanks for the suggestions. At the moment, I don't have enough money to afford a 120GB SSD.

 

Well, this laptop won't be used by a power-user, this laptop will be used by my dad who is a senior citizen, so he will only use it for Facebook, playing his Candy Crush Saga, and playing Youtube videos.

 

At the moment, the laptop is using 9.5GB out of 120GB.

 

Is Kingston a good brand for SSD by the way? I've never purchased a SSD before.


Edited by argonvegell, 11 June 2017 - 09:34 PM.


#5 JohnC_21

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 07:09 AM

2.5 is the diameter size in inches, not the thickness. In the Crucial link I provided you can see your original drive is 9.5mm thick because they offer an adapter for the 7mm thick SSD.

 

Edit: I don't see anything wrong with the Kensington. It has a 3 year warranty. What you should do is have your data backed up to another drive in case the SSD does fail. You could use the 120GB drive in an enclosure for the backup device.


Edited by JohnC_21, 12 June 2017 - 08:08 AM.


#6 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 08:59 AM

I was going to suggest trying

 

http://www.bay-wolf.com/flashbios.htm

 

.....Bay-Wolf.com, as they do BIOS upgrades for Dell's as a bootable ISO image; but I see they only cover the older Inspirons and Latitudes.

 

If you just want a basic SSD (I doubt your Dad's going to be gaming, or doing anything demanding with it), give KingSpec a look. I've been using a KingSpec IDE/PATA interface SSD in an elderly (2002) Inspiron for nearly two years now, and it's been running like clockwork.

 

I agree that the expensive, high-end SSDs probably are more reliable, although there's folks who will always want the latest & greatest.....the instant it hits the shelves. More power to 'em. In all honesty, NAND flash technology has advanced to the point where pretty much all SSDs, no matter what the price point, type of interface,etc., are going to be fairly reliable. The 'teething' problems with the technology have been sorted out for some little while now.

 

Much of KingSpec's gear sells through FleaBay.

 

 

Mike.  :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 12 June 2017 - 12:35 PM.

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Compaq Presario SR1916UK; Athlon64 X2 3800+, 3 GB RAM, WD 500GB Caviar 'Blue', 32GB Kingspec PATA SSD, 3 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics, Dell 15.1" pNp monitor (1024 x 768), TP-Link PCI-e USB 3.0 card, Logitech c920 HD Pro webcam, self-powered 7-port USB 2.0 hub

Dell Inspiron 1100; 2.6 GHz 400FSB P4, 1.5 GB RAM, 64GB KingSpec IDE SSD, Intel 'Extreme' graphics, 500GB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, M$ HD-3000 'Lifecam'.

 

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#7 GoofProg

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 12:23 PM

SSD is just a different technology but I know some old engineers that question it.  They try to make SSD technology as compatible as possible to its moving platter counter part.  I would maybe get a hybrid drive instead of a full SSD drive.  SSD gets expensive as the memory capacity increases.  It is like an exponential rate thing.  There are a lot of 64GB and 128GB cheap solid state drives but when it goes to the terabytes it gets quite expensive.






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