Upgrading with a 320GB hard drive

By pfishkattt
Nov 28, 2010
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  1. trying to upgrade old 80gb hard drive on my dell dimension e521. is there any limit to the size of the new hard drive i can use? in dell specs they mention going with two 320s. is a 320gb the largest drive i can go with? plan to use a western digital 320gb sata 7200rpm 16mb cache. any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    What operating system are you using?

    In theory you should be able to use a much larger hard disk, but you need to make sure you use the correct interface for them.

    There are two types used in Dell PCs:

    1. PATA, or IDE hard disks (which use a flat, wide ribbon cable to connect to the motherboard)
    2. SATA hard disks (which use a small flat cable to connect to the motherboard).

    At the time it was probably just sold with 2x 320GB hard disks as an option. You should be able to go much larger if you wish.
  3. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,320   +262

    Leeky, you probably could have answered some of your own questions if you looked up the computer specifications. :)

    There shouldn't be anything stopping you from putting in a larger drive, as if the service manual for that system is right, it has SATA connectors. The 320GB drive specified was more likely just what happened to be offered by Dell at the time. The system when offered by Dell had Windows Vista on it, so it likely still has that. Either way XP, Vista, and 7 all handle relatively large drives just fine (though above 2TB XP 32-bit is out of luck).
  4. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    Yes I could, but doesn't mean to say the OS would have been what was listed. I don't tend to search Dell without the TAG ID anyway.

    My original Dell came with Vista 32bit, and was never sold with W7. But it runs W7 64bit, so its always good to ask and not assume.

    If the OP is willing to change a hard disk, then it would make sense for the OP to learn the two types of hard disk, and be able to recognise them instead of just blinding following a members comments and not really knowing why they have chosen a particular type of hard disk.

    Sometimes some more knowledge learnt is a better idea. ;)
  5. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,320   +262

    In theory this is quite true, however most of the people I deal with outside this community would likely give up and just ask me what to do, only to get mad if I try to go beyond simple instructions. Unfortunately it is almost an automatic response for me to just answer questions and give instructions. :rolleyes:

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