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I have a Toshiba Portégé R400 Tablet PC: http://www.toshiba.ca/web/product.grp?section=1&group=223&product=6870

I am looking to improve its performance in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Expand the RAM from 2G to 4G
  2. Install an SSD in the PC Card Type II slot
  3. Replace the internal 1.8" IDE hard-disk with an SSD.
  4. Attach an external SATA SSD using a USB 2.0 to SSD adapter

I have Windows Vista Business installed in one partition, and Ubuntu in another. I dual boot using GRUB.

My questions are the following:

  1. Do you know of an SSD that would go in the PC Card type II slot, how does the bus speed of this interface compare to the IDE Ultra-ATA6 (100MB/s), and can I boot from such an SSD?

  2. At 1.2GHz processor speed, would I gain any performance improvement by upgrading the RAM from 2G to 4G?

  3. I searched everywhere on the internet and the terminology about ZIF, 40-pin, 44-pin, 50-pin, PATA, etc. is all confusing. My internal hard-disk is a TOSHIBA DISK DRIVE MK8007GAH HDD1584 V ZL02 DC 3.3V 500mA. It has a female connector with 50 pins (I counted them).
    Which SSD interface does this correspond to?

  4. Would I gain better performance if I use a SATA SSD with a USB 2.0 to SATA adapter, versus an internal 1.8" IDE SSD?

  5. How can I get the original Toshiba Windows Vista recovery image installed on the SSD?

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1 Answer

  1. You can buy ExpressCard SSDs on Newegg, but I don't see any for PC Card. You can however buy an ExpressCard-to-PCMCIA adaptor, which may allow you to use an ExpressCard SSD in your laptop's PC Card slot. However, I would be surprised if it performs well. Although CardBus is potentially capable of up to 132MB/s, it's unlikely that an older laptop will be capable of that sort of throughput.

  2. That depends on how much RAM you're using, and has practically nothing to do with your CPU. How much RAM do you typically use during normal operation? Are you swapping a lot?

  3. You already answered this question in your own question. You need have an EIDE ATA-6 interface (aka PATA).

  4. Unlikely. USB is slow. USB 2.0 (which your laptop supports) is rated for up to 60MB/s, but rarely gets that--especially from a single device.

  5. Do you have any installation media, other than the hard drive? If not, you'll probably need to copy the data over using whatever method you can find--put both drives in another computer, do a network transfer, plug one into the laptop with a USB adaptor, etc.

Sadly, I don't see any 1.8" IDE SSD options available (maybe you can find them if you search harder than I do), so you may be stuck with the USB option. Although that will likely hurt performance significantly. If it were me, it would probably hurt performance--and convenience--enough that I wouldn't even consider an SSD for that laptop. I'd instead do the RAM upgrade, or replace the unit entirely.... but that's just my opinion. I can't really tell you what to do in your situation.

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