I have a strange wall-terminal/tablet-like device that came with a 180GB hard disk drive. I'm concerned 180 GB won't be enough, but read 300 GB is the maximum that was ever made for 1.8". I also am concerned, though "new old stock", the hard drive might no longer function well having sat on a shelf for 10 years. According to marketing, one available option at sale was to upgrade to an SSD drive.

Since there seem to be no 1.8" hard disk drives manufactured anymore, are there brand new SSD drives or other types of drives that can be installed in place of that?

Note that this device will basically serve as a desktop computer, for coding and compiling. It looks like a tablet, but gets wall-mounted, with keyboard and mouse, so it won't be shaken around like a tablet, but will get lots of read/write activity.

How do I know which kind of drive is the right fit? When I search SSD drives, they don't list measurements like 1.8", so I'm confused what is a drop-in replacement.

Update: I have been able to find a copy of a manual for the device, it says "Supports mSATA SSD 32 GB ~ 128 GB " Can modern SSDs or HDDs be made to fit the mSATA-type connector? And should I really listen to taht 128 GB cap mentioned?

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    I found lots on eBay. You might need to search by connection type/laptop manufacturer as it looks like they're not all interchangeable. – Tetsujin May 9 at 17:47
  • I posted an answer, but what is the exact make and model of the device you are intending on upgrading here? – Giacomo1968 May 9 at 18:14
  • Direct replacements for 1.8 inch drives are are small in gb, expensive and really slow on read and writes, Giacomo1968 post is the best solution. – Moab May 9 at 19:16
  • @Giacomo1968 The device is a tablet, however, its usage is more like a laptop, would be running Linux and would have an attached keyboard, mainly used to coding. – Village May 10 at 2:00
  • So it would get many reads and writes. Updated my original question to clarify. – Village May 10 at 2:12

You could use a ZIF adapter/connector card (used mainly for iPod storage modernization upgrades) to connect a compact flash card, SDHC card or M.2 SATA device to your system.

Those 1.8" hard disk drives were the drives used in many of the iPod “classic” models; from the 3rd generation model to the 7th generation models. And there is a whole world of folks out there who use those “obsoleted” iPods as modern media players by upgrading the hard drive in them with a compact flash card or an SDHC card connected via a ZIF to whatever the new media is adapter.

This March 2020 AppleInsider article provides a nice overview of how folks upgrade their old iPods to modern storage and should provide you with some insight into the process as well.

Doing a Google search for “ZIF Connector iPod” shows tons of options, but this site run by Tarkan seems to be a fairly good source of parts and information for bridging adapters like this.

The ZIF connection is what is on the system and drive — small ribbon-like cable — that connects the drive to the system and adapters like this are effectively media adapters that allow non-ZIF connector devices to connect to ZIF systems with ZIF connectors.

This is the compact flash model I am more familiar with:

iFlash iPod CF Adapter

But they also sell quad SDHC card like this one:

enter image description here

And they even have adapters that can use M.2 SATA devices like this one:

iFlash-SATA v10 (M.2 SATA) Adapter

The overall caveat here is what will you be doing with your device. If it is strictly reading data all day — the way an iPod would — the the compact flash or SDHC models would work best. But if you are planning up upgrading a device you will use more as a real PC all day — something that will read and write all day — then the M.2 SATA is recommended. This is because compact flash or SDHC cards are really not great storage mediums for daily use; the chances of them burning out and failing like lightbulbs are fairly high.

Your choice and your investment, but options clearly do exist… But a 100% straight and direct 1.8" hard drive to 1.8" SSD replacement doesn’t really exist; using an adapter like this is really your only option.

  • I've updated my question to provide more details...had no idea these were only found in tablets...this is a weird hybrid tablet-laptop, it has the form-factor of a tablet, but many features of a laptop (like USB, PCMCIA). Usage would be same as any desktop computer used for coding and compiling. – Village May 10 at 2:14
  • Thanks for the update! Regarding this, “According to marketing, one available option at sale was to upgrade to an SSD drive.” Hate to say it, but you might have been lied to, “…so I'm confused what is a drop-in replacement.” What I posted — ZIF to some other media — bridging device. If you are looking for a literal SSD that will go straight into that device, I have never heard of such a thing. – Giacomo1968 May 10 at 3:00

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