Dell Inspiron 6400 hard drive upgrade

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Does anyone know of any restrictions on hard drive upgrades in laptops?
There is no point asking Dell because they will simply say that they can
only offer support on Dell products and cannot advise me on non-dell

I have an Inspiron 6400 with a 100GB (I think its Sata) drive at present.
Dell website lists an 80 or 120 drive, but I want much more. There are 320
and 500GB laptop drives available, but will they be recognised in my laptop?
I don't think there is a newer BIOS than the one I am using.

Anyone upgraded their 6400 drive to a non-dell branded drive?


Re: Dell Inspiron 6400 hard drive upgrade

On Fri, 3 Jul 2009 11:14:08 +0100, "GT"

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It is an SATA HDD.  It should support the largest drives
available now and in the future.  While some laptops are
undersized and so poor at cooling that there is a little
concern about the design power, heat produced by the hard
drive, in this case it is a full 15.4" laptop and that
shouldn't be a significant concern.

Occasionally there may be bios bugs that require updating
the bios for the HDD capacity support it should have had
when leaving the factory, but this is an exception rather
than the rule, you should buy the capacity you want and if
this problem surfaces then update the bios.

Personally I would choose a 7200 rpm HDD to increase
performance, desktop HDDs have gotten so fast (nevermind
SSDs) that laptop drives seem all the more sluggish even
though they too have gotten faster.  Then again, it could
also be that Windows keeps getting more and more bloated
over successive versions so no matter the HDD performance
you're asking more from it.

Re: Dell Inspiron 6400 hard drive upgrade

Somewhere on teh intarwebs kony wrote:
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I don't know about Dell laptops but I recently upgraded my T60 ThinkPad
[2007-7KU] from a 5.4K rpm drive to a Seagate Momentus 7200.4 320GB SATA
unit. Unfortunately the laptop's limited to SATA 1.5Gb signalling speeds but
still, the results are impressive to say the least. Everything is so much
more responsive.

HD Tach screen from the new drive:

It wasn't that long ago, maybe two years, when that sort of performance
would have been amazing from a desktop HDD. It's certainly helped to unleash
some of the performance of the T7400 C2D CPU which was throttled
considerably by I/O restraints with the previous HDD.

"Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he'll
be warm for the rest of his life." Terry Pratchet, 'Jingo'.

Re: Dell Inspiron 6400 hard drive upgrade

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Depends on whether the bios supports LBA, or LBA48.

With LBA (28 bits for the sector number), the bios will not see more
that 128 Gigabytes (137 gigabytes using the marketing definition of
a gigabyte being 1,000,000,000 bytes instead of 1,073,741,824 bytes).

Checking on google, the Dell Inspiron 6400 appears to be using LBA48,
but apparently there are issues with Dell using a custom mbr.


Regards, Dave Hodgins

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Re: Dell Inspiron 6400 hard drive upgrade

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Thank you all for the re-assurance. This is pretty much what I expected, but
have never upgraded a laptop before.

Oh and by the way the original Dell MBR has long gone. Reformatted and
re-partitioned the hard drive a few weeks after it arrived. All the system
on Drive C:, all the files on Drive D:. MediaDirect is a button on the Dell
that lets you quickly power on into a minute operating system that has media
player support. I never used it, so don't care about it!

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