A couple of years ago I encountered a hard drive catastrophe... I accidentally knocked a litre bottle of white spirit onto my Macbook - something which I've subsequently realised is NOT a good thing to do. Time seemed to stand still as I helplessly watched the bottle's contents splashing onto the keyboard and seeping into the laptop's inner workings. Surprisingly, when the computer had dried out it seemed to work as normal - and it continued to do so for a day or so. However, one week later it suddenly gave up the ghost, and in a Sherlock Holmes-esque manner I deduced that the hard drive had fried. I set out to find a suitable replacement.
To be completely honest, value for money was my main criteria when choosing a new internal hard drive; I wasn't too concerned with speed or a massive capacity - most importantly, the drive had to be compatible with non-PC laptops. I eventually settled for the Seagate Momentus 5400.3 ST9120822, which has a capacity of 120 GB. The drive currently sells for £44.99 on amazon.co.uk, but I bought my one from eBay for only £26.
I'm not going to go through all the technical details of the device (as it would result in an ultra-boring write-up), but I should point out three things - firstly, the drive comes with a three year manufacturer's warranty, secondly, the interface type is ATA-100, and thirdly, its speed is 5400rpm. There are hard drives with faster speeds out there, although the higher spin speeds can generate more heat and noise - plus they use more power so your battery won't last as long.
Fitting the hard drive was much easier than expected - the process will vary depending on the computer you are installing the device into, but you'll certainly need a Torx T8 screwdriver as there's at least four tiny screws to put in and take out. When working inside the computer it's a good idea to electrically ground yourself to remove any static before you touch any components - this can be done simply by touching a piece of metal, and this will hopefully prevent any damage to your machine.
From a reliability perspective, I've had no complaints whatsoever from the Seagate Momentus ST9120822A hard drive - although that said, it's rare to notice a hard drive's performance unless something has gone wrong. What I can say is that it accesses my files quickly, it feels robust and well made, and Seagate is a brand which I trust - highly recommended.
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Dimensions: 7 cm x 10 cm x 9.5 mm
Capacity: 120 GB
Interface Type: ATA-100
Buffer Size: 8 MB
Features: G-Force protection, QuietStep, Ramp Load
Drive Transfer Rate: 100 MBps (external)
Internal Data Rate: 44 MBps
Seek Time: 12.5 ms (average)
Spindle Speed: 5400 rpm
Interfaces: 1 x ATA-100 - 44 PIN IDC
Manufacturer Warranty: 3 years