So I've spent more hours researching my laptop upgrade than any human being should, and every time I think I've got a fair handle on my options, somehow or another a wrench gets thrown into the works. So here I am, reduced to asking advice... please have pity.
(Summary of my project follows. Very skippable - my questions begin near the end, at bolded text.)
I have a Thinkpad a22m 2628-TTU, 30GB 4200prm Hitachi HDD, 256mb pc100 ram (upgradable to 512, which I will do), 4mb ATI Rage Mobility M, dual booting Win 2k Pro and Xubuntu. I have had this laptop for nearly a decade; it was my first computer, and has outlived three laptops in the interim (albeit two were well used handdowns).
I want to hobby-ify this thing. I'm going in understanding that I could buy a reasonable new laptop for what it would take to max out what I can do to this thing, but that's not the point - I have the money to spend.
My main goals are these: a.) to mod this thing as much as possible, b.) have every modification be fully internal - nothing sticking out, not even a cardbus wireless adapter, and c.) leave my options open. That is, while I'm ok with spending some dough, I do not want to start down one modification path that has to get abandoned later, leaving me with expensive but useless parts. This is important due to the very limited expansion capacity of this TP.
I have four realistic interfaces for data storage on this system (built in USB 1.1 port doesn't count):
- HDD bay.
- Ultrabay 2000
- 2 Cardbus slots
I want to keep an optical solution in this system (in fact I plan to throw a DVD burner in there), so the Ultrabay is out. I also want to keep both of my cardbus slots free, as some other modifications I'm planning rely on having both open (namely, I want to use one for this fella
, or maybe him
, and the other for an XJack ethernet adapter, as I'm planning on replacing the internal mini-pci ethernet card with a wireless - or possibly wireless + modem - part (will have to add antennas to the LCD).So the objective: best possible upgrade from the 30GB 4200rpm drive, with the above constraints in mind.
My original plan was just to pick up a WD3200BEVE and call it a day on this part of the upgrade. I started thinking otherwise for two reasons:
1.) I have a terabyte of storage on my desktop that I will not fill anytime soon - will I actually ever make use of that 320GB, or is it wasted money?
2.) This course actually does cripple me for future upgrades: If I ever decided to try to put Windows 7 on this thing, I would need something like the Delkin PCMCIA -> CF option to use as readyboost, and that Delkin part has officially VANISHED from the face of this earth (I spent the entire day today neck deep in bins at every thrift store and goodwill in my city, after exhausting all of the tech stores).
My next plan was to pick up a PATA SSD. Seems like a great idea. However, while I'm willing to put money into this, $300 for the 32GB SLC's gives me pause. Anything less, and I'm either a.) severely crippling my overall storage capacity, or b.) becoming reliant on something like the Delkin adapter option again.
The IDE -> Compact Flash option.
This appeals to me for a few reasons:
a.) The dual adapter from Adonics allows me to use something like a good SLC CF card for my OS, and a larger, cheaper MLC CF card as data storage, for considerably less $/GB than the SLC SSDs.
--------------------------So now my questions:
1.) With only 512mb of ram, I will absolutely need to keep swap/paging active, especially if I ever want to try and push the envelope and put Win 7 on here. Realistically, how badly is this going to effect the performance / lifespan of my boot disk?
a.) Does this officially remove MLC from the equation completely? b.) Will even an SLC card be adversely affected to the point where it is no longer a viable option?
2.) I was tentatively looking at the Transcend 8 or 16GB 300x SLC CF cards as the boot card, and the Transcend 16 or 32GB 400x MLC cards as the data card. I've read that the old Transcend parts were absolute trash, but the newer ones perform much better. In your other thread, the benchmarks for the 400x look very good, and likely an enormous improvement over my little 30GB. But towards the end of this thread, some folk are posting some very underwhelming benchmarks for the Transcend parts again.
So a.) What's the real deal with the Transcend parts here? Are they a viable option, and if not, what would be best?
b.) Would there be a significant performance hit going from the 400x MLC to the 300x SLC? A gain?
c.) Is even the best CF option going to be uncompetitive with a conventional SLC SSD?
3.) I had a #3, but I cannot now recall it. I will ask later if I remember!
Any guidance is very much appreciated.