Pros:Nice price; easy to install; quiet; fast
Cons:Re-installing the operating system is tedious; no manual of any kind
The Bottom Line: So far, this is a nice laptop hard drive with a lot of storage space. It's an excellent way to upgrade a laptop that could use more storage.
My wife and I are avid digital photographers and take pictures at a phenomenal rate. My wife has this addiction worse than I, complicated even more by her high-end DSLR camera that she has set to take pictures in the RAW format. Each picture from her camera is around 15 MB or so, and she will easily take 100 pictures in an afternoon.
Recommend this product?
Small wonder that the 80 GB hard drive in her computer was always banging against its upper limit. She has a 400 GB external drive to which she moves things once she's done working on them, but for a variety of reasons, she wants more space on the computer's internal hard drive. Since she uses a laptop as her main computer, that means she needs a laptop hard drive and a new one must take the place of the existing hard drive. In a desktop computer, there is room and ports to install a second hard drive but this is not true of most laptops -- the only way to get more storage is to replace the existing internal hard drive.
We started looking around and found the Western Digital Scorpio WD2500 250 GB hard drive at a local store (Micro Center) for $173.
What it is
At 250 GB of storage, the Western Digital Scorpio WD2500 is about as big as you can currently get for a laptop-style hard drive. The unit uses a 2.5-inch rotating disk for storage, making it substantially smaller than 3.5-inch drives that are typical for desktop computers. The WD Scorpio WD2500 is 9.5mm thick and it sports a serial ATA connector (SATA) at one end. Its internal disk rotates at 5,400 RPM, which is typical of better-quality laptop hard drives and it has 8 MB of internal cache memory, which is at the higher end of cache memory for laptop drives.
The WD Scorpio WD2500 came in a substantial box that felt like it was empty. Only when I got home and opened the box was I sure there was something in it. This unit weighs only a few ounces, and it is amazingly small and lightweight considering its 250 GB of data capacity.
Speaking of its data capacity, the rating of 250 GB is slightly misleading. Theoretically, one gigabyte of memory is actually 1,024 MB. In other words, a "true" gigabyte is actually a little bigger than a "real world" gigabyte, which is 1,000 MB. The WD Scorpio WD2500 does have 250,000,000,000 bytes of storage space, so Western Digital can say it has 250 billion bytes of space. However, if you divide that by 1.024, it works out to about 244 true gigabytes of storage. It's still a LOT of storage space for a laptop computer.
Note that this drive has a serial ATA (SATA) connection. There are still many laptops in use that have IDE or enhanced IDE (EIDE) connections (also known as "parallel ATA" or PATA connections). These laptops are not compatible with SATA drives, so be sure you know what your computer needs before buying a drive.
No directions, instructions or owners manual came with the WD Scorpio WD2500 that I bought. The only things packed in the case were the drive itself and a note that warned me that laptop hard drives should be replaced only by people who know what they're doing. Ha... small chance of that!
The hard drive compartment on the underside of my wife's laptop was easily found and the original hard drive removed. The original hard drive had small rubber gaskets slipped over each end, so I took them off and slid them onto the WD Scorpio WD2500 drive. The new drive then went into the hard drive compartment and I pressed it into the laptop's SATA connector. The physical mounting of the unit took no more than five minutes and it was much faster than mounting a hard drive in a desktop computer.
The difficult part comes next: The old hard drive had the computer's operating system (Windows XP SP2) and it somehow had to be loaded onto the new hard drive. Probably the easiest way to do that is to use software like Norton Ghost and a USB attachment for the new drive, which would allow me to move everything on the old hard drive to the new hard drive. However, I didn't have Ghost and I didn't have a USB attachment, so I used the laptop's restore disks to reload the computer's initial setup onto the new drive. (The restore disks (two DVDs) came with the laptop when I bought it a little more than a year ago.)
Once the operating system was loaded onto the new hard drive, I deleted all the crap that I don't use and re-installed all the software and Windows updates that I do use. This took the better part of an evening, probably about three hours. Then we copied over all her photo files from the external backup drive and spent an hour reloading the couple of programs that she uses all the time, such as Photoshop and Word.
The computer is now back in good working condition with the new WD Scorpio WD2500 drive and running better than ever. However, if I did this for a living, I'd get Norton Ghost and an adapter that would let me move the old drive's data to the new drive.
There's not much to say about using the new WD Scorpio WD2500 hard drive. It is very quiet and it seems quick. The laptop -- a Toshiba Satellite A105 -- seems faster than ever and is running well. Opening "My Computer," clicking on the hard drive icon, doing a right-mouse click on the drive and selecting "Properties" shows that the new hard drive has a cavernous 185 GB or so of open space.
The computer boots up and shuts down quickly, and everything else seems otherwise normal. It's great to know that she now has so much space on this computer, as she often creates and stores complex Photoshop PSD files that are in the 250 MB range. A few of those and you quickly run out of room on an 80 GB hard drive.
The Western Digital Scorpio WD2500 seems like a very good buy for $173. It has a huge amount of storage for a laptop hard drive, it is quiet and fast, and it's a snap to install. Getting the OS right is the biggest problem and that wasn't too hard to do. The interesting news is that I can get a 2.5-inch hard drive enclosure and put the old 80 GB hard drive in it. That will give me a portable back-up drive that can store a decent amount of data.
I recommend the Western Digital WD Scorpio WD2500 250 GB SATA hard drive. It's a good buy for $173.
Read all comments (4)