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EEE PC 701 SSD upgrade - what works?

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by Larry, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. Larry

    Larry Guest

    An old friend who is going blind (he's 86) handed me his Asus EEE PC 701
    Linux netbook, saying he wanted me to have it. I've got a larger RAM on
    order as there was only about 1.8KB of free memory with just the browser
    running (it has 512KB RAM) but keep reading horror stories about people
    trying to upgrade it's 4GB SSD so I can actually install some extra Linux
    programs on it and still have a tiny space to store data. Stock loaded, it
    only has 1.6GB of SSD open...and that will fill up fast.

    I read horror stories like:
    http://www.itechnews.net/2009/01/29/super-talent-ssd-upgrade-for-asus-eee-
    pc-s101/
    saying the SSD upgrade doesn't work on PC 701 boxes but Super Talent says
    it does on:
    http://www.supertalent.com/products/ssd_detail.php?type=PCI Express

    I'm looking for anyone who has successfully done this upgrade who can give
    me first-hand information on how well it went.

    I'm a skilled electronic technician and metrologist with way too many years
    on the workbench who was certified years ago with military-grade
    microelectronics soldering and multilayer pc board repair, so I'm no
    stranger to hard soldered replacements on multilayer boards.

    I'm leaning towards the 64GB SSD Supertalent has for $170.

    Any information greatly appreciated.....thanks.

    .....Sure wish my Samsung NC10 had these Asus up-front speakers!


    --
     
    Larry, Jun 5, 2009
    #1
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  2. Re: "I'm leaning towards the 64GB SSD Supertalent has for $170"

    For $30 more you can buy a better entire netbook, one of the Acer Aspire
    One's that CompUSA (TigerDirect) has been selling. They have a real
    120GB hard drive and run Windows XP. This is a personal opinion, but
    spending $170 on a larger SSD does not, to me, make economic sense.
     
    Barry Watzman, Jun 5, 2009
    #2
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  3. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    In Larry typed on Fri, 05 Jun 2009 04:49:19 +0000:
    Hi Larry! Well you might be in luck. Early 701s had a spare FLASH_CON
    slot (looks just like a PCIe slot). You can see it under the trap door
    on the bottom. Some early 701s didn't have a trap door on the bottom
    either.

    Even if you are proficient at microelectronics soldering and multilayer
    PC board repair (btw, so am I), it still would be a big job nonetheless.
    And one tiny mistake and the motherboard could be history. Either adding
    a connector or wiring it directly.

    I actually have two 702s which has no SSD on the motherboard, but uses
    those SSD cards. I also have one motherboard from an old 701 which
    already has the slot. And from what I hear tell, if you plug in a SSD
    card, the SSD on the motherboard gets switched out. I should try that
    sometime and see if this is true.

    Adding 64GB for Xandros Linux? I don't know about that idea. But if you
    do purchase a SSD, remember SLC SSD are far better than MLC SSD,
    especially for writing. Plus they last 10 times longer too. I find 4G to
    be okay and 8G to be the sweet pot. As 8G is large enough for the OS and
    applications and I use SD cards for a data drive.

    I have two 16G SD and some much smaller ones. Under Windows XP you can
    download a driver and with a little registry hacking, you can make those
    SD cards seen by Windows as fixed drives instead of removable drives. So
    that is an option too. Although I didn't care much for it since you
    can't really pull them out anymore. As now they are part of the OS. Plus
    the driver causes it to run a bit slower too.

    If you are going to stick with Xandros, SD cards works there too.
    Although I believe they will only operate as data drives and that is it.
    I do have a couple of live distros of Linux on SD cards too, which I can
    boot directly from.

    How much RAM are you planning on adding? As Xandros doesn't see anymore
    than 1G, without script hacking anyway. The machine itself can handle 2G
    of RAM. And 2G does work well with Windows XP.

    Yes I too love the speaker placement on the 700 series. I don't know any
    other netbooks that actually place them where they sound best at. And
    remember too, the 700 series are the original netbooks. The ones that
    started the whole netbook craze to begin with. <grin>

    I am sure you have more questions and this forum has tons of information
    and lots of people talking about the EeePCs.

    http://forum.eeeuser.com/
     
    BillW50, Jun 5, 2009
    #3
  4. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    In Barry Watzman typed on Fri, 05 Jun 2009 04:40:55 -0400:
    Ever buy something from TigerDirect Barry? They were fine in the
    beginning, but about eight years ago they changed for the worst.
    Nowadays if you receive something broken, you must deal with the
    manufacture. And TigerDirect often sells used computers as new. Which
    has limited warrantee or worse, none by the manufacture. Heck, Dell is
    suing TigerDirect just for this nonsense!

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/23/dell_sues_tigerdirect/

    And what good is a 120GB HDD? That is tiny! And besides, soon HDD will
    be obsolete anyway. And in a few years you won't even be able to find
    them anymore. Asus is selling (or will soon) a laptop with a 1TB SSD.
    Nobody has a laptop with that size HDD. And may never will since they
    will be old technology and go out of business. And 1TB SSD isn't the
    limit either. I am sure there will be 10TB, 100TB, and even 1000TB SSD
    in the near future. And they will be so cheap they will be giving them
    away for free with happy meals. <grin>
     
    BillW50, Jun 5, 2009
    #4
  5. Re: "Ever buy something from TigerDirect Barry?"

    Yes; the Acer Aspire One. [And many other things].

    FWIW, I agree that they are not a 1st class retailer. But I don't think
    that they are as bad as you suggest, either.

    Re: "And what good is a 120GB HDD? That is tiny!"

    Now that is so hypocritical that it's funny. You guys are discussing
    spending $170 ... almost the cost of the entire computer with a real
    hard drive ... on just a 64GB SSD, and yet when I make a comment about a
    120GB hard drive, you respond with "And what good is a 120GB HDD? That
    is tiny!". Get real: 120GB is twice the size of the SSD that you are
    thinking of spending $170 on.

    Re: "And besides, soon HDD will be obsolete anyway"

    1. So what, if it works
    2. But, point 1. above not withstanding, bullshit. As Mark Twain once
    said, so says the mechanical hard drive: "Reports of my death are highly
    exaggerated".

    Your post is riddled with emotional illogic. I come back to the matter
    of economic feasibility: The OP is thinking of spending $170 for JUST a
    64GB SSD, when for $199 he could buy an entire [BETTER] netbook with a
    120GB hard drive. Technical feasibility aside, the SSD upgrade does not
    make rational economic sense.
     
    Barry Watzman, Jun 5, 2009
    #5
  6. Larry

    Larry Guest

    You're right, of course. I have a Samsung NC10 I added the touchscreen to.
    Too bad I can't add these up-front speakers to the NC10.

    NC10 speakers are HORRIBLE.

    --
     
    Larry, Jun 5, 2009
    #6
  7. Larry

    Larry Guest

    Unless some real strides in SSD memory come true, I agree with Barry. A
    modern laptop drive can take just as much shock, running, as the PC
    board holding the chips together on an SSD. It's a long way from the
    first IBM monstrous memory drum (128K? something like that) the size of
    a Volkswagen they let us look at through a window because any time
    someONE walked on the floor it crashed the heads.

    It's amazing what a laptop drive can take. Someone brought me a Western
    Digital 400GB Mybook, one of those little black plastic boxes with the
    mini USB connector and a light showing through the plastic and asked me
    if it were toast. They were on the SECOND floor balcony of the local
    court house and this tiny little drive fell out of his pocket, bounced
    off the handrailing and fell straight down onto the hard tile floor
    about 25' down! He didn't try to see if it worked....just brought it to
    me.

    What could I say...let's see if it works. There was a little nick out
    of the sharp edge of the plastic box, but no cracks or other signs. I
    stuck it into my USB port, the light came on, WinXP reported a new hard
    drive and wanted to know what I wanted it to do about it in the usual
    manner.

    We looked through all kinds of files he had on it and not a single one
    of them in any section of the drive was damaged! The head autopark on
    these drives and I think they also have some kind of G sensor in them
    that emergency parks the head if they are running. I bet the only way
    to crash it is if it's crushed or is writing a file WHEN IT HITS THE
    FLOOR, if there's no G sensor to stop it.

    He's still using the drive. Even after that fall, you can hardly tell
    it's running it's so well made and perfectly balanced. It barely hums
    if you put it to your ear....a credit to the Chinese who made it.

    The SSD's I was looking at drew 1/2A just sitting there idle and 1A to
    read/write. There's a LOT of transistors. Parked and shut down, I
    don't think the little USB laptop self-powered drives use anywhere near
    1/2A at 5V to just sit the light the light. Maybe with the motor
    running. USB ports aren't exactly rated like Hoover Dam for output....
    (c;]



    --
     
    Larry, Jun 5, 2009
    #7
  8. Larry

    Larry Guest

    Lucky Larry! I see it. No soldering necessary.

    After more reading the fine print, I see this extra SSD probably won't
    do me any good over, say, a 32GB SDHC card I already have. I was hoping
    to have a 64GB PRIMARY BOOT drive loaded up with Linux software it
    installed. If I have to install software to the secondary drive, I
    might as well just install it to the 32GB SDHC that's in it now.....

    Well, I did clean off some unnecessary stuff from it last night. It's a
    toy so I'm not going to need it for presentations and spreadsheeting
    Exxon Corporation, so I took Open Office off it and just put Abiword
    back on so I can type letters in restaurants. That opened up some
    memory. Some of the games I can't dump, but I took off the ones that I
    could. There was some other fluff like the dictionary that took quite a
    slice.

    It's sorta like going back to DOS 3.3 on dual floppies trying to make
    sure there's enough space on the system disk to store Word Perfect's
    config file...hee hee....(c;]

    The 160GB Samsung NC10 suffers less....and runs longer. I'll just plug
    in the 400GB little WD laptop USB drive for media storage and
    playback....

    Thanks, guys for the help. It's a cute Linux box but there's lots of
    niggling little things that drive me crazy. I went to http://presstv.ir
    today to see the news from Iran and tried to play the live stream.
    Firefox croaked and had no idea what to do with mms, so it wouldn't
    play. I don't see how to add mms support on the lacking menus that show
    me what progs run what 3-letter extensions but there's no way to add
    one.

    One more question before I go.......

    Is there ANY way to get ALL the volume controls to default to WIDE OPEN
    instead of BARELY HEARABLE? This thing is LOUD when it wants to be, but
    open up some media stream in the browser, with all the controls you're
    allowed to touch wide open.....and you can't hear it unless your ear is
    to the speakers! Some Linux genius needs to give us a little applet for
    this box and my Maemo Linux tablets that OVERRIDES everything software
    can do to the volume controls and puts them at FULL volume when I want.

    9 and 0 are supposed to be the volume controls for mplayer on it.
    Pressing them with the movie playing full screen does
    nothing.....ignored. + and - don't work, or does the arrow keys where
    the damned player volume control SHOULD be hooked to.

    If you close mplayer at zero...it opens inside the players like Music
    Player at zero... Drives you crazy trying to find a SINGLE CONTROL that
    will TURN UP THE VOLUME.

    Thanks

    --
     
    Larry, Jun 5, 2009
    #8
  9. Re: "NC10 speakers are HORRIBLE."

    There is an interesting issue with the Acer Aspire One.

    If you play music REALLY LOUD (well, it's a netbook, On an absolute
    basis it can't do "really" loud, so let's make that "relatively loud"),
    the location of one of the speakers is right next to the hard drive, and
    it's actually possible to corrupt and possibly even damage the hard drive.

    The culprit is apparently acoustic although some have speculated that it
    might be magnetic. There is a particular song that can be used to
    "demonstrate" this "feature" (no thank you; I will accept on faith that
    yes, this can happen).

    Now I will sign off so that BillW50 can point out that a SSD would never
    suffer from such a characteristic.
     
    Barry Watzman, Jun 6, 2009
    #9
  10. Larry

    Larry Guest

    Oh, that's encouraging....

    The speakers in the NC10 are tiny little earphone diaphrams in a plastic
    tube. This wouldn't be so bad but the speakers are in the bottom of the
    tube that is SEALED TIGHT against what is the plastic hand surface on
    either side of the touchpad. The speakers point down into holes in the
    case under the two corners closest to the operator.

    I'm very tempted to open up the back of that tube by drilling a single
    1/4" hole in the bottom of the tube, which would let sound come out the
    hole on top of the keyboard, which is what Samsung should have done, with
    maybe a little silvery screen with a bumper on it for when the top closes
    to touch....which I may also add....after the warranty period expires, of
    course. The tube would give the tiny speakers a ducted port baffle that's
    GOT to be better than all sealed up like it is.

    Samsung has a vast army of audio engineers. WHERE WERE THEY when this
    thing was being designed??

    --
     
    Larry, Jun 6, 2009
    #10
  11. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    In Larry typed on Fri, 05 Jun 2009 22:06:49 +0000:
    Hi Larry! That is lucky! And those are highly prized as well.
    Nope, you still should be able to get it to work. Adjusting the BIOS
    might work. If not, then a multiple boot menu would for sure.
    Careful! Xandros doesn't actually remove anything. As the system area is
    marked as read only and nothing will be deleted. And thus you will not
    gain any space. You have to hack Xandros if you want remove to really
    remove.
    I get almost 6 hours of run time on my 10440ma battery. Although I have
    five stock batteries too. So I don't worry about running out of battery
    power. I also have many USB hard drives and use them when I need them.
    I too have had trouble with Linux and streaming. Try on a large external
    monitor and Linux falls apart completely. Although Windows has no
    problems on the same machines.
    I don't know a solution. But I will look into it. <grin>
     
    BillW50, Jun 6, 2009
    #11
  12. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    In AJL typed on Sat, 06 Jun 2009 12:11:52 -0700:
    Carryovers from years gone past. lol
     
    BillW50, Jun 6, 2009
    #12
  13. Larry

    Larry Guest

    Thanks, Bill. I was not aware it was permanently loaded. That sucks.

    I far prefer the Samsung NC10 to any of the other netbooks I've come in
    contact with. It beats them hands down with the speedup gadgets that
    Samsung has added to WinXP and the BIOS.



    --
     
    Larry, Jun 7, 2009
    #13
  14. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    In Larry typed on Sun, 07 Jun 2009 03:39:36 +0000:
    Hi Larry! Remember this feature can be hacked out. I never tried it, so
    I don't know how hard it is. Then there are other Linux distros too.

    The reason for this read only system partition is so nothing per se can
    harm the system. So either a virus or the silly user who doesn't know
    what they are doing, can't damage it. Although you can change outside of
    this area and totally screw up the system so it will no longer even
    boot. And the easy cure is to hit the F9 during boot and it will wipe
    this area out. Thus you are back to the default stock setup once again.
    I don't follow? As these Asus EeePC runs Windows XP really well. All of
    the drivers are solid and everything within Windows runs like a rock.
    There is really nothing I would want to change. In fact, the majority of
    the time I have an EeePC connected to an external monitor, wireless
    keyboard and mouse. And I use them as desktops. Why not, they operate
    like one when connected in this matter. <grin>
     
    BillW50, Jun 7, 2009
    #14
  15. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    In Barry Watzman typed on Fri, 05 Jun 2009 20:32:47 -0400:
    Well you should have no worries about magnetic energy from the speakers
    or anything else within a computer ever damaging or erasing anything on
    the hard drive (unless you have one on top of some CRT monitor designs).

    As I remember 10 or more years ago that the "National Bureau of
    Standards" tackled the question of magnetic media. And what became very
    clear is magnetism either effects media media instantly or nothing at
    all. And there is no such thing as a cumulative effect.

    I personally questioned this at first (being an electronic engineer).
    And I exposed a test floppy to high magnetic fields for a decade. Not
    enough to erase it instantly, but I wanted to test to make sure the
    cumulative effect wasn't a problem at all. And nope, very high magnetic
    fields slightly below changing it instantly had no effect in 10 years.
    So I gave up the experiment. And the "National Bureau of Standards" were
    right on the mark.

    So no, it would be impossible for a netbook to create enough magnetic
    fields to damage a hard drive. What is most likely happening is
    crosstalk. Which shouldn't damage anything, just plain annoying.

    The only computer equipment which I never personally experienced, but
    sounds believable is by placing a floppy on top of a CRT monitor and
    turn it on. When you turn them on, a coil (aka degaussing coil) creates
    a strong enough magnetic field to de-magnetise the screen. Which appears
    to can also instantly erase a floppy with some CRT monitor designs.
     
    BillW50, Jun 7, 2009
    #15
  16. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    In Barry Watzman typed on Fri, 05 Jun 2009 13:01:26 -0400:
    Well I am not suing TigerDirect, like Dell is either. But I have been
    buying from them for over 10 years. And I can safely say that some of
    the stuff they sell is really great and some of what they sell is pure
    junk. And even if you are an expert, it is hard to tell until you get
    your hands on it.
    Larry was talking about 64GB and you are talking about 120GB. I
    personally think the OS and applications doesn't need anything near
    either amount. Although the data drive is a *big* variable and depends
    on the user needs. And that drive doesn't need to be the same as the OS
    and applications. In fact, it doesn't need to be connected until you
    need it. And it could be on anything, hard drive, flash, DVD, or
    whatever. Take your pick!
    They said the same about the horses. Although it is virtually impossible
    to find a hitching post or a watering trough today. Besides, Mark Twain
    also said: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and
    statistics."
    That so called better deal netbook won't go very far. Ask anybody who
    bought the bottom of the line to anything electronic. The newness and
    the thrill only lasts briefly and then it is over. That doesn't seem
    like a good buy to me.

    And no, I never would spend $170 on a 64GB SSD either. Especially for a
    MLC SSD. But hey, Larry has lots of these nifty gadgets already. So it
    would make sense for him. Otherwise he would just spend his extra money
    on women is my guess. The better choice is the former IMHO if you are
    going to spend it anyway. As women are far more expensive anyway. <wink>
     
    BillW50, Jun 8, 2009
    #16
  17. RE: "what is most likely happening is crosstalk."

    No, what is most likely happening is that acoustic vibration from the
    speaker are causing head crashes inside the hard drive.

    Regarding magnetics, it is virtually impossible for anything outside the
    drive to magnetically erase the media. Magnetic strength varies by
    inverse square law. The head is within microns of the platter. By the
    time you are one-inch away, there is no common source of magnetic field
    that is strong enough to alter the data. Bulk tape erasers that draw
    hundreds of watts and that are designed to do just that can SOMETIMES
    manage to do it at just about an inch (the ones designed for 2-inch
    video tape (long obsolete) that drew over 1,000 watts could barely do
    it). An MRI machine could possibly do it, but as I said, "there is no
    COMMON source ....."
     
    Barry Watzman, Jun 8, 2009
    #17
  18. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    In Barry Watzman typed on Mon, 08 Jun 2009 00:07:50 -0400:
    Oh okay. That makes sense. I misunderstood what the test was actually
    trying to do.
    Yes it is true. I have heard stories from time to time during the old
    floppies and CRT era, that people have lost the data if they left a
    floppy on top of a monitor and then turn it on. I tried this with my
    monitors, but I could never wipe out any floppies with any of my
    monitors.
     
    BillW50, Jun 8, 2009
    #18
  19. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    Oh Larry! I should mention this now before I forget to remind you about
    this. Every Celeron computer I've ever known in the last 10 years,
    doesn't completely shutdown the CPU totally. The side effect of course
    that there is a slow drain on the battery. So you should check yours.

    People have reported drained batteries between 7 to 14 days if you leave
    them in the laptops/netbooks. I have seen this on my Celeron Toshibas,
    Gateways, and Asus. This doesn't bother me as batteries are easy to
    remove anyway. And you should do that anyway even if this problem isn't
    present to keep the heat away from the batteries.

    I heard one report that not all Celeron CPUs does this. Although I don't
    know anything more about this one case. I also have other devices that
    also drains the batteries when off. My FM transmitter is very bad about
    this. My Dodge van also has a 70ma drain. So if I don't plan to use it
    in a week or more (which is often), I remove the battery cable.
     
    BillW50, Jun 8, 2009
    #19
  20. Larry

    BillW50 Guest

    AJL wrote on Mon, 08 Jun 2009 07:52:37 -0700:
    Have you tested yours? I believe all of mine are worse than that.
     
    BillW50, Jun 8, 2009
    #20
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