General Question

erichw1504's avatar

Would upgrading my laptop's hard drive be worth it?

Asked by erichw1504 (26391points) April 15th, 2010

I have a Dell Inspiron B130, which is about 4 years old. The hard drive space is ony 60GB and I find myself constantly running out of room to store my data. I recently upgraded the RAM from 512MB to 2GB which greatly increase it’s computing speed. It’s been a great laptop to me and has had barely any software or hardware problems.

So, I’ve been contemplating installing a new hard drive for it. I’d like at least 500GB’s and any other decent specs with it. My price range is $50 to $100.

Would this be worth it, compared to buying a brand new laptop? What type of hard drive is compatible with my computer? Where should I shop around for one? What else could I do with it to keep it up to date and running smoothly?

Also, would Windows 7 run good on it?

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18 Answers

bob_'s avatar

If you can afford it, I’d recommend going for the brand new laptop. If your laptop is 4 years old, it’s gonna start giving problems any day now.

And stay off Windows 7. Sure, it’s not as bad as Vista (big accomplishment), but XP is oh so (relatively) nice and stable.

MrGV's avatar

It’ll increase your laptop’s response time if you get a hardrive with higher speeds, but I would rather save money for a new one.

noyesa's avatar

If you’re buying a new laptop, it would be for other reasons—faster CPU, new operating system, nicer screen, etc. If all you want is your laptop with more space, you can easily grab a 500GB SATA drive for under $100.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

For $100 you can buy an external 500 MB hard drive with no external power supply needed—runs right off the USB data cable. Then save your money for when you really want to replace the laptop… and you can keep the external drive.

erichw1504's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I actually do have a 320GB external and use it to backup/store all my photos and music. But, on my laptop I have no music and barely any photos and i STILL have practically no room for much else.

dpworkin's avatar

If money is a real issue, the two most meaningful things you can do to upgrade a laptop are a bigger hard drive and more RAM. Check out for the memory, and for the hard drive. For an extra $20 I bought a usb external drive converter with my new drive, and used a utility to automatically upsize all the partitions but stll keep my drive image, so it was a transparent turnover.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Buy an external drive – for the money you’re willing to spend, a 500GB 2.5” internal drive is a bit of a stretch.

Keeping your data on a drive that doesn’t get lugged about much is probably safer anyway.

robmandu's avatar

Yes – Hitachi 500GB Travelstar SATA 7200 RPM Laptop Internal Hard Drive (on Amazon with free SuperSaver shipping)—$89.99+tax

I just made this purchase myself.

davidgro's avatar

Note when searching for prices: That laptop’s hard drive looks like it is Not SATA but the older notebook IDE standard (also sometimes called ATA)

XOIIO's avatar

@bob_ What experience have you had with Windows 7? It hasn’t given me a problem, ever. Best OS I’ve used so far.

noyesa's avatar

@XOIIO Considering the laptop shipped with only 512MB of RAM I’m willing to bet the CPU isn’t all that speedy, probably a Pentium 4 era CPU, or at best a Pentium M given the age. Even if Windows 7 is faster/leaner than Vista, it’s still a lot more of a CPU load than Windows XP. The comment about XP being more solid than Windows Vista or 7 is a joke; the discovery of Windows XP vulnerabilities hasn’t slowed since release and they’re, as always, discovered at a much higher rate than they’re fixed. The newer kernel has its share of problems, but vulnerabilities actually appear to be tapering off and is a much more secure and solid system than the XP kernel.

Silence04's avatar

Be aware that a harddrive with higher rpm will hurt your battery life.

jerv's avatar

Here is some perspective.

Six years ago, my buddy (actually, his parents) spent >$2000 on a 3.4 GHz P4 with a top-notch graphics card and 2GB of RAM.
Two years ago, I bought it off of him for $50 with no drives.
A month ago, I spent $500 for a laptop with a CPU twice as powerful as that old P4, 3GB of RAM, decent but not stellar graphics that are comparable to that old tower, and a 320GB hard drive.

I’d say that it’s time to let the old dog go.

erichw1504's avatar

@Silence04 Ooo, good point. It’s only got about 2:30 hr life right now.

robmandu's avatar

@davidgro, good catch. The Inspiron B130 does indeed require an ATA drive.

And apparently, based on price vs. size, they’re quite expensive, too.

So, I take it back. Upgrading the internal drive doesn’t really seem like a great idea.

erichw1504's avatar

@robmandu At, they’re not too bad.

alexpinca's avatar

I would not upgrade a hard drive unless you’re going to do the work yourself and you shop very carefully online. The cost of parts and labor would probably be about half the cost of a new basic laptop. A lot depends on whether your current computer has a lot of features you want to retain and your very happy with the screen.

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