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SATA to IDE adapter for laptop?

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December 13, 2012 3:22:19 PM

I have an old but serviceable Dell Inspiron 600m with a failing hard drive. The hard drive controller is IDE. I would have a lot more options (larger hard drives, SSD) with SATA. I see SATA to IDE adapters available, but I wonder whether they would actually fit in a laptop. As is typical for laptops, the hard drive is not cabled. The hard drive enclosure is built to a specific size, so that a 44-pin 2.5 inch drive plugs in exactly to the receptor. I expect that sticking any adapter between the hard drive pins and the female port will make the drive/enclose not fit. Does anyone have any experience making something like this work?

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a b D Laptop
a b G Storage
December 13, 2012 4:37:15 PM

I doubt you will be able to fit SATA drive, plus SATA->IDE convertor, into cramped compartment for 2.5 drive.

SATA->IDE convertors I have seen are designed for "external" connection where they get power from Molex (HDD or FDD) connector, and pass it to SATA side. If you can sacrify "mobility", you can still fit the adapter inside the drive cage, and use short cables to hang the SATA drive outside.

One think yoy may do is to look for adapter where you can put your hard drive into CD/DVD tray (I have seen some instructables about how to do it).

But - probably it's time for the old boy to retire. I have an eleven-years old Dell Latitude still working, and I haven't pulled it out of its leather case for years...
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December 13, 2012 5:36:37 PM

Alabalcho said:
One think yoy may do is to look for adapter where you can put your hard drive into CD/DVD tray (I have seen some instructables about how to do it).


Wow that's a great idea! I googled "notebook hard drive cd tray" and immediately found a SATA HDD to IDE drive bay adapter: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1PU....

This is probably the way to go, but if anyone else has ideas let me know before I mark the thread SOLVED.
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December 14, 2012 5:32:38 AM

Best answer selected by leehach.
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11 minutes ago

I have actually made this work many times. About 10 times altogether now. What I've done is not very hard, just took some balls to try for the first time. All I do is this and it works perfect everytime so far and makes these older laptops work amazing!

1st thing I do is order one cheap very familiar 2.5" solid state drive. I always use one of three models as you will learn further as you read why. The first model is a cheap $28 refurbished Corsair 60GB SATA II CSSD-F60GB2-A/RF2 from Newegg and the second model I've used that has worked perfectly is a $54 NEW Sandisk Ultra Plus 128GB SATA III SDSSDHP-128G-G25. The third is a cheap but new $48 2.5" SSD Transcend SSD340 TS64GSSD340 2.5" 64GB SATA III notebook hard drive. Now all three drives are cheap but the Sandisk comes new, has the most HDD space of 128GB and out of the 24 I've purchased and put in clients computers not one has came back bad. 7 of those drives went into laptops that originally had a 2.5" 44 pin PATA or IDE hard drive. Normally they were extremely slow 4200rpm or 5400rpm very old model drives. Plus with laptops running older IDE drives they normally max out at 1GB or 2GB of ram so even with a 7200rpm IDE 2.5" hard drive ($60-$80 for a new 7200rpm 2.5" IDE 60GB) your still not going to be able to gain speed by adding to the ram so the drive is basically the only place you can add speed. If you have a SSD already something else to know is that it doesn't matter if the drive is SATA I II or III because the HDD plug on the laptop with the 44 pin plug won't be able to run anything faster than a SATA I so its pointless to spend money on a III which is why I sometimes use the refurbished Corsair that's a SATA II and is also refurbished.

As long as your not scared to take a small 000 sized or whatever size you need Philips screwdriver and take the 4 screws holding the SSD case together apart. Unlike mechanical drives that are completely full of parts on the inside a smaller 60GB or 120-128GB SSD only fills about half of the inside of the case or maybe even less, maybe like a 1/4 of the actual space is used and filled with flash ram and then connected to the SATA connector on the drive.. The larger 240, 512, and 1TB SSD's are probably fuller with more flash ram I imagine. But this I don't know because I've never opened a SSD that is larger than a 128GB one.

Anyways, if your 60GB or 128GB 2.5" SSD only uses a 1/4 or half the space inside the actual metal casing this gives you a bunch of casing that can be trimmed away. I very carefully wearing an anti static bracelet took the drive apart and separated the memory and SATA plug which are all one piece away from the metal casing. Then using a metal ruler and a very sharp scribe marked lines around it to have something good to follow with the cutting wheel on my Dremel rotary tool. Now you have to think about how your going to do this very carefully. Remember, depending on the hard drive caddy for that model laptop you still need to be able to use a couple screws to connect the finished drive to the caddy. Also, depending on how you cut away the extra, remember your going to have to have screw holes to re-attach the finished casing to the memory and SATA plugs. If you just start hacking away without spending some time thinking about this stuff you could end up with a mess. Once you cut the casing apart there's no turning back. After working on many laptops I've realized that most older IDE 44 pin 2.5" laptop drives have hard drive caddy's and usually slide into the side of the laptop case so again this is why I stress the point of making sure you know what your doing.

The method I used was cutting away extra casing and then drilling new screw holes. I then threaded the holes so the hard drive caddy screws would hold it tight and if needed trim the hard drive caddy to. Before all the case cutting you can peel back casing emblem stickers if its possible or what I did here to make the casing look nice was after using a jeweler's file to clean up the edges and make everything smooth was hop on my computer. Find a picture of the same SSHD, using photo paper print off a pretty good sized emblem, let it dry for a few minutes, then sort of laminate the emblem with some extra strong extra clear shipping tape. I put double sided carpet tape on the other side of the emblem and then trimmed the emblem out, trimming both the clear tape on the one side and the carpet tape on the other side both at the same time. Now you have a nice emblem sticker for the case.

I then took some cheap vinyl twill that was gloss black (you know the stuff you can get off eBay to cover a laptop, comes in tons of different kinds) and then wrapped the solid state drive making it look nice. Then put the sticker on the case you just trimmed and poof all you have to do is put the case together with the memory and SATA plug unit and then connect the 44 pin IDE adapter sold all over eBay for $2.00. Just make sure you order the one with a very small PCB board. If you were to add the adapter without cutting down the case there is now way you could get it to fit where the hard drive goes.

That's what happened to me the first time I thought I could order an adapter and put it on the end of a SATA hard drive and just plug it in until I tried it and seen there wasn't enough room. I then got the idea to cut down the casing of the SSD after opening one up one day just to see how big the parts were inside. Yes I was nervous but as long as you can be smart about it, plan your steps ahead of time, and handle the SSD guts very gently when taking things apart you should be able to do this easily to. Like I said, I've done this about ten times at least and its always worked. But I refurbish laptops all the time so the vinyl twill, all the tools I used etc I already had. But I tell you what, nothing, not even the 3X the price of a normal SSD IDE hard drives they make that they call PATA SSD's compare to the performance I got using the newer Sandisk SSD's. If anyone else tries this and needs help please just message me with any questions!!
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