Saturday, 9 August 2008

Retro fitting a Sony T1XP with an SSD HD.

MY (lovely) Sony T1XP _has_ had it's problems over the years. Mostly the result of excessive use and travel! Although only a 1.1Ghz Pentium M it still sharp and snappy running Win2K Pro or XP Pro. My machines run "odd" software. I'm not a regular user being a bit of a hacker. The sort of things I like to run on it are Dev Studio, MingW or similar, Photoshop, Firefox + debugging extensions, Cool Edit Pro/Audition and various control panels for outboard gear.

In the past the 40 gig 1.8" PATA drive (not ZIF) died and so was "upgraded" to a 60 gig drive. Turns out that the 1.8" drives in these things were also used on the iPods.

That HD is OK but spins _very_ slowly too save power so latency and throughput aren't great.

What can I do to A - stop the HD dying again and B - speed things up a little?

The answer I've come up with and, should, be answering over the next couple of weeks is "Can I retro fit an SSD drive into this machine"?

The first problem we find is that nearly all SSDs on the market ATM are SATA based - no go, simply can't plug it in. So, where do we turn for cheap flash storage. Well, CF (Compact Flash) card are cheap and replacable.

To plug that in we're going to need some sort of adapter (CF to 1.8" IDE). This transform actually turns out to be very easy as the only difference between CF and 1.8" EIDE is a 5 volt to 3.3 volt interface difference (sometimes) and a slight difference in pinout. We go to ebay and search for "1.8 compact flash adapter". That gets us that far.

Next we need a compact flash card. A 32gig card could cost as little as 60 quid. How fast/reliable they are I don't know. Others around 85 offer 100x speed. After that we get anything up to 300x but these are 130ish quid. Pricey (the 60gig replacement cost a little under 100 quid).

32gig isn't masses, but, think about this a little more. Maybe we could have swappable boot storage to switch OS's... I've got a use for that.

So, I'm going to charge my Paypal account and get hold of some of these bits and pieces.

No comments: