For Christmas, I got a new hard drive for my laptop. As all accessories for laptops, it is rather expensive. But still less expensive and extravagant than buying a new computer when you don’t really need a big CPU power. My goal was not having a huge capacity, but rather speed and reliability.
Talking about speed, anyone who has a 5200 rpm or inferior disk will see what I mean. It is truly unstandable every time you boot, start an program or, the worst, swap.
Mine was a terrible 4200 rpm Hitachi disk (Travelstar 4K120). Just terrible. My old desktop was often faster just thanks to its 7200 rpm disks.
Morever, I was not trustful anymore in its reliability. It produces an infamous click noise every time the head moves. Infamous, because there are many posts about that on many forums, concerning any laptop brand. It is not the kind of click when a disk dies, as it always did it. I have no evidence of that, but I am pretty sure it is the same model in all cases. It must be a common disk on cheap laptops. Anyway, for me no trick worked to kill this noise : on forums, laptop-mode tool was sometimes accused, and other times the ACPI setting of hdparm.
I looked for a Hitachi Travelstar 7K100 – 100 (~ 130 €). Why this brand ? I am used to it, I have been always buying this brand since they took over IBM and was never disapointed by their speed, their silence and their reliability.
Its main features are the 7200 rpm, a cache of 8 Mb, 10 ms access time and a maximum power consumption of 5,5 W (2 W for reading/writing and 0.5 W idle).
After having used it several days now, I have to say that I am extrimely satisfied.
It is not noisy at all despite its 7200 rpm. It is actually more silent than the 4200 and, very important, the click noise definitely dispeared !!!
About speed, the difference is big too. I don’t want to do a full benchmark here, but every program launches faster and all the system runs smoothly.
As an exemple, my Ubuntu starts in less than 30 s where it took 50 s before (from the BIOS to a fully operational Gnome).
One point I was worried about was its power consumption and its impact on the autonomy of the laptop. Normaly, a 7200 rpm needs more power than a 4200 one. I have been totally relieved now since I don’t see any change.
I was not expecting the last point : temperature. The 4K120 was rather hot : 42°C on normal charge, 50°C on full charge. The 7K100 impresses me : 33°C on normal charge, 39°C on full charge ! As good as the desktop models ! It is not only safer for the data, but it benefits to the whole laptop.
Finally, I recycled the old disk in a USB box. This one, Advance BX-2520, is very cheap (~ 12 €), small and does what it is done for very well.
To transfer the data, I first set up the new disk in the Advance usb box.
I copied the first partition (sda1 is mounted as /) :
$ sudo dd if=/dev/hda1 of=/dev/sda1
Then I resized sda1 to fit my new needs, made up the swap partition and the /home one with Gparted.
I just transfered my /home with a simple cp.
The issue I had was concerning the new way that Ubuntu Edgy addresses partitions (UUID instead of /dev/hdx) :
$ sudo vol_id -u /dev/hda2
ls -la /dev/disk/by-uuid/
The output looks like it :
It gives you, for instance, the UUID of the swap partition.
I updated my fstab :
UUID=087b3a57-6703-42eb-99d3-278d01618336 none swap sw 0 0
Repeat this for all the partitions.
Concerning the swap, to keep the hibernation working, you have to edit /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/resume.
The line it contains must be :
Finally, to generate a new initramfs image, do :
$ sudo update-initramfs -u -k $(uname -r)