Installing SSD Hard Drive on old laptop

  NJ4959 13:44 13 Apr 2015
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Answered

I own an Acer Aspire 5610 laptop, running Windows XP, which is nearly 10 years old. I only use it for disco & karaoke (with Virtual DJ)and it never goes on the internet. It only has an 80GB hard drive and I have to use an external hard drive with it. I have thought about increasing the hard drive for a while and was wondering if such an old laptop (and operating system) will work with an SSD hard drive. The ideal size would be 160GB but I have seen a 256GB on special offer. In case anyone is wondering why I keep using it, it's simple, it has a Soundblaster Pro sound card, which sounds brilliant.

  Batch 14:17 13 Apr 2015

The hard drive in your laptop is almost certainly an IDE (aka PATA) drive.

Mainstream SSD drives are only available as SATA drives and so are NOT compatible with your PC (different physical interface / connections). That's aside from a number of other issues that you could encounter.

If you are prepared to try a IDE SSD (which will likely be some sort of relatively obscure brand), just google for IDE SSD (you'll find some on ebay). In principle they should work, but being obscure brands I would be a bit wary.

If you just want a larger 2.5inch IDE traditional hard drive, that's fine (although they are probably becoming thin on the ground - ebay probably the best bet).

  NJ4959 19:32 13 Apr 2015

Thanks for your replies. I have checked, and it's a SATA HD. The model number is BL50. The SSD drives seem to be SATA 3, I imagine mine must be SATA 1. I realise I wouldn't get the full speed of 3 but would it work?

  MikeGrant 20:00 13 Apr 2015
Answer

NJ - SSDs are a can of worms when it comes to XP.

(1) All SSDs have TRIM support, but XP doesn't support it. So you need an SSD which will let you manually TRIM the drive via manufacturer's software.

(2) Partition alignment is crucial with SSDs and sadly XP can't do this. Probably the simplest solution is to borrow a Windows 7 install disk and format it with the Windows installer.

(3) Once you've installed XP, install the manufacturer's SSD toolbox. Then DISABLE system defragmentation - NEVER EVER defrag the drive and don't forget to manually TRIM it with the toolbox weekly!

Or alternatively - install Windows 7. It should run just fine on your Aspire and everything will be so much easier...

  NJ4959 21:06 13 Apr 2015

MikeGrant, thanks for your response. It's obviously not as straight forward as I hoped it would be. I think I will take your advice and use Windows 7 with the SSD. Any idea if my laptop will take the 256GB drive, and if 1GB RAM will be enough (there is a spare slot, and it will take up to 4GB if needed).

  wee eddie 21:46 13 Apr 2015

NJ: If it does all you need at the moment, why do you not just replace the current Hard Drive, which is almost certainly 5800rpm, with a larger and faster one of say 500GB, or even 1TB, Capacity that runs at 7200rpm.

No change of OS, nothing, and the cost will be minimal. About £45.00

  MikeGrant 09:14 14 Apr 2015

Hi NJ.

The drive should be fine - SATA III drives are backwards compatible with SATA I ports; it'll just run at the slower SATA I speeds.

As for RAM - 2GB would be better than 1GB :)

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