Well, as referenced in my first (previous) blog I had upgraded my hard drive in my Toshiba M30 laptop in preparation for a clean Vista Ultimate installation.
I purchased a Seagate Momentus 5400.3 160GB Ultra ATA/100 5400rpm drive (ST9160821A) to replace my Toshiba 80GB 4200rpm drive. I searched around to see if anyone had any feedback on these larger drives installed in laptops to see whether there was anything to be concerned about. Since I was certain this was something I wanted to do, I just wanted to make sure there weren’t any “gotchas” that would make my new drive an expensive paperweight.
I picked it up online at NCIX as they had the best price and shipping charges I could find at that time at a place that had stock – it was just a tad over $200, plus about $9 to ship.
I zipped up and copied off all the data I was expecting to use from the old 80GB drive then proceeded to remove it. I removed the cage from the old drive and installed in on the new drive. It was a matter of about 10 minutes and the new drive was installed.
I powered up the laptop and inserted the Vista DVD. The laptop booted up to the DVD without issue.
During the installation of Vista, at the point where you are to choose the partition, I was greeted with unpartitioned space of 128GB. Not exactly what I had hoped for, but acceptable given the circumstances. The laptop BIOS doesn’t support 48-bit LBA and therefore I was limited to between 128GB and 137GB depending on the hard drive controller. The next largest drive from Seagate for a laptop in 5400rpm or 7200rpm is only 100GB and I wanted more space – so the 32GB I am missing is still 28GB more than the next available size that is smaller. Besides, at some point there *should* be a BIOS upgrade – either vendor or third-party that should give me back my 32GB. If and when this happens, I’ll need to image it, update the BIOS and re-image it back to it’s former glory.
I sent Seagate’s Support people an email asking about their DiscWizard software which installs a Dynamic Drive Overlay onto the drive that should allow the BIOS to see the full size of the drive. Since I had read stories about Vista overwriting the DDO on drives, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t testing a theory only to fail at my expense. Their reply was that DDO wasn’t tested against Vista yet AND it wasn’t designed for notebook drives. Kind of makes me glad I never tried it now! So the answer to DDO on laptop drives is DON’T DO IT. As far as other drives with Vista as the OS – I still don’t know.
Regardless, I now have Vista Ultimate installed on a 128GB drive running Office 2007 – I have to admit, the performance boost just from the RPM difference alone is noticeable – the extra 1200rpm is certainly an improvement.
The really nice thing about this drive is that it’s quiet – so quiet, in fact, that I have a hard time knowing it’s spinning. When I first turned the laptop on after it was installed I couldn’t hear it at all. I originally thought it didn’t power up, but when Vista saw the unpartitioned space I had a big sigh of relief. Even under load from AV scanning or defragging it’s very tough to know it’s doing anything and if it wasn’t for the LED I would still be wondering. :o)
My advice to those Power Users that are looking to upgrade their drive – BUY THIS DRIVE !! You won’t regret it.