Max HDD capacity on PIII laptop?

By Jay Jay · 8 replies
Jun 29, 2007
  1. Hi fellow TS'ers!

    The HDD on my HP Omnibook 6000 laptop (PIII 600mhz 256MB) has started displaying the ominous “SMART imminent drive failure” warning during each cold start session. I know the score when you see that message: the demise of your HD is nigh, so I've performed the obligatory backups and Ghost imaging.

    However I could do with some advice regarding replacing the drive. The failing unit is a Fujitsu MHR2020AT 20gb ATA-5. What's the maximum size I could fit in my laptop without any recognition problems? I did call HP but they gave me confusing details, first they claimed the machine only accepts up to 18gb till I pointed out that it was shipped with a 20gb drive. They then stated the maximum is 20Gb, but changed their mind and said the maximum is 40gb!

    I'm hoping to go up to an 80gb drive, will this be ok?


    (P.S: I know it's an "old" machine, but I enjoy using it...)
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    With the BIOS and Chipset from April 2003 installed, you should be able to see anything between 20 GB and 80 GB. HP doesn't support than unit any more, so they will not know.
    Do not get the Toshiba, as it does not have downloadble setup... but Seagate. Western Digital, Samsung, or Hitachi should work well. I prefer the Seagate because their downloadable software allows a low level setup before you place it in the Omnibook. You will want to change the hard drive cable if you can locate one.
    You will find better performance with the 5400 rpm drives than the 7200, however.
  3. Jay Jay

    Jay Jay TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 31

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks a lot for your reply and the info - much appreciated. Yes, the Omnibook has been flashed to the latest BIOS update (v1.83) so all I have to do now is choose a replacement and you've made that very easy for me :)

    There's no "cable" as such, from what I can see the laptop has a caddy with a special connector that screws onto the drive. I'll follow your advice and give seagate units 1st choice, does the replacement have to be an ATA-5 like the old one or can I use one of the ATA-100's?

    Thanks again,

  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    All ATA is completely forward and backward compatible (bar the various size barriers).
  5. Jay Jay

    Jay Jay TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 31

    Thanks Nod, once again my fellow Techspotters have helped me out, now I'll be able to go ahead and order a new drive :)

  6. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Some of those Omnibooks were limited by the 128/134 GB barrier. I believe that April 2003 BIOS took care of that, but of course there are few above that size anyway. Getting an 80 or 100 GB 5400 rpm drive would be nice... you now have the choice of 40, 60, 80, and 100 GB Seagate drives with five year warranties... some at 7200 rpm... but the 5400 rpm drive are more rugged. Western Digital, Samsung, Fujitsu, Toshiba, and Hitachi are three year warranty... but I would avoid the Hitachi Travelstar based on their failure history. Best prices have been at (free shipping),, and (which also has factory refurbished Seagate drives).
  7. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

  8. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,474   +126

    You could put in 160GB then partition it with XP into 2 80GB drives. Those older PIII or PII can handle 7200RPM drives that's what I do.
  9. Jay Jay

    Jay Jay TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 31


    Just an update to let you all know how I got on and show my gratitude. This morning my new Seagate Momentus 5400 80GB drive arrived, it showed up on my first POST screen after being installed and as you predicted, the BIOS recognised the new drive and saw the whole capacity :)

    Now I'm aware of my options my next move will be to do the same with my other Omnibook laptop, the 500 and upgrade the drive to 120 or 160.

    Thanks again for all your help, much appreciated

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