First, and most importantly, your laptop brand does not have a specific hard drive that is *supposed* to go in it(unless you have a toshiba laptop, but that still doesnt matter).
What you need to find out is what kind of interface your laptop has. The two main ones nowadays are SATA and PATA/IDE/EIDE/ATA-blah(all of these mean the same thing). Check your laptop documentation to find this, or just look at the old HD you're replacing - it should say it.
If your laptop takes SATA you cannot attach any ATA-100/PATA/etc. to it and the reverse is true for PATA.
Once again, just because you have a Dell laptop, do not search for Dell when trying to find a compatible hard drive. All hard drives of recent will work on any laptop as long as the interface is correct. Laptop manufacturer has nothing to do with hard drive type.
Now that's out of the way, you will probably left with very few options on ebay, as most of them are out to sucker you into buying something for an outrageous price because it has your laptop manufacturer name on it. So, I recommend searching these places in this order: newegg.com, froogle, and then ebay. You will likely find the best deal at newegg, but use froogle and ebay as references.
The Specs you will want in a good hard drive as of July 2006:
RPM: Nothing less than 5400, if you can afford 7200 get it.
Cache/Buffer: if you use this hard drive for anything other than PURE STORAGE(you most likely will), 8MB Cache or greater
Size: 2.5"; 3.5" is a desktop drive. don't be fooled.
New/Used: ALWAYS NEW. Buying a used hard drive is like buying a half eaten popsicle - most of the good part is likely gone and you did not get to taste any of it. Most hard drives will die within 3-5 years. So keep that in mind if you ever consider used hard drives.
Warranty: The longer the better.3 years is good though
Brand: As of now, Hitachi and Toshiba are my favorites. I think most will agree
Storage capacity: Depends on what you're using it for. File sizes keep getting bigger and bigger. I would say at a minimum go for 40 GB (business,light work,etc.); 80-100GB for extremists who need to carry around large amounts of data.
Price: I think anywhere in the $60-110 is *somewhat* reasonable for 60-100GB laptop hard drives
Some other things to consider:
If a seller doesn't list a model number it's for 1 of 2 reasons: He's either not versed in what he's selling, or
he does not want you to know what you're buying. In my opinion, either situation is bad business. Get the model number if possible.
Go to the hard drive manufacturers website and read what they have to say about the product you're considering. Never hurts to hear what they think is best about their stuff.
Search around for reviews of the specific model you are looking for. See what others have experienced.
(Specific model is important because there is more than one Hitachi 60GB 5400 rpm out there, for example)
Desktop hard drives of similar specs and size will vary drastically in price from laptop counterparts. Hopefully this will change, but who knows...
Why I wrote this:
1) I like helping people. Hopefully this will help you to a better product than you may have bought if not seeing this.
2)I'm currently looking for a hard drive and this serves to remind me of what I should look for.
3) I'm truly upset about the outrageous prices on ebay. There are some true scammers here. There are 40GB hard drives for over $100 - nothing special about them, just someone trying to take advantage of innocent people. I remember a time when ebay had actual DEALS on it. You know, stuff you thought "WOW, I can get something that good for that little money?!" Just isn't happening so much anymore. Still good stuff scattered about, but a whole lot of "get-rich-quickers" in between.
Remember - Knowledge is power
Happy hard drive hunting
Laptop hard drives
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July 23, 2006
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