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About Drives

Laptop / Notebook Drives

Your laptop hard drive interface may be an IDE (PATA) hard drive or a SATA hard drive. If you remove the hard drive from your laptop, you can identify the hard drive interface by the hard drive connector. The pictures below show what the different connectors look like and the difference between IDE hard drive (also called ATA / PATA) and SATA hard drives.

Some laptop hard drives, especially IDE PATA hard drives, may have a unique adapter added to the 44 pin drive connector. This adapter is proprietary to each manufacturer (ie; Dell, HP, Toshiba) and it changes the interface connection to work properly with your laptop. In this case, your laptop hard drive interface will look different than the standard IDE or SATA pictures below. You can remove that connector adapter bar to see the real hard drive connector and identify what type of hard drive your laptop needs.

IDE (PATA) 44-pin Connector SATA Connector

If your hard drive connector does not look like the above connectors, it may have a unique adapter added to the hard drive. In this case, you need to remove the connector adapter and you will see the 44-pin connector or SATA connector like above pictures. Below are a few pictures with examples:

ATA Drive with Dell connector ATA Drive with H.P. connector SATA Drive with Dell connector
ATA Drive without Dell connector ATA Drive without H.P. connector SATA Drive without Dell connector

Laptop hard drive heights: Laptop hard drives have been made with different heights. They can be 8.5mm, 9.5mm, 12mm, 17mm, or 19mm. The majority of laptop hard drives manufactured now are 9.5mm, which is the industry standard. An older laptop may have a drive that is 12-19mm in height, but can be replaced with a 9.5mm drive. (See below for pictures.)

We refer to the different screw hole patterns as "OLD" screw holes or "NEW" screw holes.

Most drives are mounted in the notebook with a caddy, tray, or rails. In 1997 the Manufacturers changed the screw hole patterns on drives 2.1gb and larger. If your computer was manufactured before 1997, or has a drive smaller than a 2.1gb, it most likely has a drive with the old screw hole pattern. You can verify this information by removing it from the computer and comparing it to the pictures below. If the screw holes are towards the middle of the drive, it would be an "OLD" screw hole pattern. If they are towards the outside of the drive, it would be a "NEW" screw hole pattern.




"OLD" screw hole patterns:

If your computer has a drive with an "OLD" screw hole pattern, this must be considered when purchasing a drive. Your options are: purchase a drive with the same screw hole pattern, replace your hard drive caddy with one that supports the "NEW" screw holes, or drill new holes in your existing caddy.

"NEW" screw hole patterns:

All 8.5mm, 9.5mm and some 12mm drives have the "NEW" screw hole pattern. All drives manufactured after 1997 have the "NEW" screw hole pattern. If your computer takes a 12mm "NEW" screw hole pattern drive, you may use a 12mm or 9.5mm. If your computer currently has a 9.5mm, it will only work with a 9.5mm drive. Only a few 8.5mm drives were produced by Toshiba, these drives are currently in some super thin machines. If you currently have an 8.5mm drive, you must replace it with an 8.5mm drive.

Notebook / Laptop Drives are not proprietary to the machines. Any drive will work in any machine if it will mount correctly.

See below for pictures of the different heights and screw hole patterns.

8.5mm, "NEW" screw hole pattern 9.5mm "NEW" screw hole pattern
12mm "NEW" screw hole pattern 12mm "OLD" screw hole pattern
19mm "OLD" screw hole pattern  

If you have laptop with an old screw hole pattern drive, we generally recommend you replace the laptop. Since these drives are not manufactured any more, they are hard to find and are more expensive.

Another important issue when upgrading your computer is whether your current BIOS will support a larger capacity drive.

Please read the BIOS Limitations document.

Whether you're upgrading or simply replacing a hard drive, finding the correct part for your Computer can be complicated and frustrating. With our EZ Upgrade Center, you just let us know what Computer Model you have and we'll show you the parts available for that computer. We'll also give you some options to simplify the process of installing your drive and transferring your data. It's fast and easy!

Give it a try!

If you are unsure of what drive to purchase and would like assistance, please feel free to contact our sales specialists. Email: Phone: 877-738-6900 Toll Free Outside California or 818-718-6900 Inside California.

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