Internal hard drive replacement recommendations, please

Lefty on the Mound

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Mar 20, 2004
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The hard drive in my wife's Dell 660 Inspiron desktop shit the bed. It's (was?) a 2000GB Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM with 64MB cache and a 6.0GB/s transfer rate.

I hooked it up to a universal drive adapter and plugged it into the USB port on my laptop which failed to recognize it. I expect that her files will be unrecoverable. I'll bring it into work and ask one of my more tech-savvy buddies to doublecheck this conclusion.

I've ordered a recovery flash drive from Dell. Rather than just buy a new hard drive from Dell, I wanted to plumb the depths of the collective SoSH knowledge and get recommendations from you all about what drive to put into the machine which has 8GB RAM.

My thoughts at this point are to hook her up with a Microsoft 365 license for her own 1TB cloud drive and get her into the habit of storing all her files up there, so that when the new hard drive ultimately shits the bed, her files will still be accessible.

So I have two questions:

  1. How reasonable does this approach seem?
  2. If I go this route, please recommend me a 3.5 inch SATA hard drive that won't suck. I'm thinking that 500GB should be plenty.
 

Nick Kaufman

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Aug 2, 2003
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Buy a relatively SSD for an OS drive -let's say 128GB- and a larger drive for data. It could also be an ssd or it could be a mechanical drive. You could use a cloud service, personally I don't like storing my data on someone else's hard drive.

But again, no matter what you do, if the hard drive is going to store an OS, it should be an SSD.
 

Couperin47

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The sweet spot in terms of price per gig of storage today is 2 Tb, on sale every few weeks at Newegg the Toshiba 2 Gb 7200rpm boxed retail drive runs $80-85, has a 3 year warranty (one more than the equivalent WD Blue drive) and beats it in performance. I don't buy Seagate/Samsung stuff these days at all.

Your boot drive, these days, should definitely be an SSD. 120/128 Gb is big enough for most, but decent sales on 240 Gb drives make them irresistable for most: Stick to Crucial, Samsung, Intel, Plextor or OCZ, which ever is on sale.
 

wutang112878

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Nov 5, 2007
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I'd highly recommend a SSD, I think you will be shocked at the difference in performance from a regular hard drive and the prices are pretty reasonable. Just make sure you get a good brand
 

AMcGhie

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Apr 11, 2006
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I'm not going to recommend an SSD, I'm going to flat out say you should get one. I have a 250GB SSD that I put windows/games on, and then a 3TB disk drive that I write all my music/media/documents to. Read/write time matters for games/OS startup, not much for playing music or videos.

But the difference is astounding. My machine starts up and hits the login screen in ~5 seconds. My SSD is 2 generations old(samsung 830 pro), and so is my processor (I7-4770k). They're probably faster now.
 

Boggs26

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Jul 12, 2005
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Bumping since I'm upgrading my mid-range laptop and thinking about replacing the hd with a SSD. I'd like to spend about $200 or less but don't really know where to start.

I've got an HP envy m6-k125dx sleekbook with a 2.5" x 7mm drive in it. Is it worth spending the money on an SSD for a $550 laptop that's almost 2 yrs old? I'm currently using about 250gb of my 750gb HD so I'd like to get something at least 500gb. What's a good balance of quality and price?

Note: I store anything of importance on an external networked 2tb hard drive, so there's nothing super critical on the laptop.

Thanks
 

wutang112878

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Nov 5, 2007
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Are you using this laptop for work or home? And are you paying or your company??

The issue with the SSD is that you need to keep all your software on it, so if you just add a SSD to what you have now and use it to store your files, you arent going to see much improvement at all. So either you need to duplicate your current hard-drive to the SSD (via something like ghost), then make the SSD your boot device. You could then keep your old HDD as a secondary drive (assuming the laptop is capable of having a secondary drive). If that seems like too much for you or you arent comfortable doing that, then you want to get a new laptop with the SSD already setup as the boot drive.

If you or your company dont mind spending some coin, I'd look at the HP Zbooks which are in their own class of performance. I got one and things are basically just instantaneous on it, its really unreal, I've never had a machine like it. And if you go that route, I'm pretty sure that all of the Zbooks can handle 2 drives, so you could take your old 750GB drive and use it to store all your files and keep all your software on the SSD as long as its like 250+GB. Also, if you go this route I'd highly recommend going up to 16GB ram, that makes a huge difference too.
 

Boggs26

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Jul 12, 2005
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Ashburnham, MA
My laptop only has space for one drive and I plan to replace it with an SSD. I'm comfortable with both the cloning and physical replacement aspect of the switch. I'm more looking for insight into whether that work is worthwhile as well as recommendations on SSDs that are a decent quality/value. Despite my original $200 note, I've actually been looking at a SanDisk Ultra II 1TB drive that's $260 on amazon.

It is a personal laptop and I'm paying for it, but if the performance improves along with the useful life of the laptop, I'm willing to put a little money in.
 

wutang112878

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How long has the SanDisk Ultra been on the market? The reason I ask is that I think Samsung had come out with a SSD model and pretty quickly after the release there were some issues with it, so if that is new you might want to let other folks be the guinea pigs for it. I believe Crucial and Samsung also have some 1TB models so you do have some other options too.
 

Couperin47

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Update to my recommendations above:

Crucial replaced their BX100 which was one of the fastest, with the BX200 which uses a much cheaper form of memory and has now been tested and found to be a slug by everyone...avoid. San Disk stuff is cheap and slow (WD is in the process of acquiring them). The Samsung EVO 850 line is reliably as fast as anything else out there for the money.