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Tuesday
Jun082010

Adding a new SSD to your EeePC 901

I meant to document this months back, when I actually performed this operation on my "FrankenEee", but I guess I was just in a post funk.  No harm done, I shall make up for it tonight!

I decided that the one thing I wanted to change about my EeePC 901 was the tight storage, and happened to hear promises of significant speed boosts as well from ActiveMedia's "SaberTooth SS" mini SATA SSDs.  At the time, I hadn't heard much about them, as everyone was scrambling for information on the hot new Runcore SSDs.  I bit the bullet, and picked up a 32GB drive for I believe around $129.

Shipping was fast from Amazon.  Came all nice and double wrapped.


Standard anti-static bubble packaging keeping the drive healthy through it's trip.  Which is great, since these things are not exactly cheap.



Installation was really simple.  Two screws under the Eee hold the access cover in place.  Simply remove them, pop the panel off with a small screwdriver, and you have access to RAM, the WiFi card, and the SSD.  Two more smaller screws hold the SSD in place.  Remove them, and carefully pop it out.  Then simply replace it with your spiffy new one.  I also took the opportunity to swap out the RAM for a 2GB Kingston stick.

Ignore the crazy antenna wiring off my NIC, I had previously swapped it out for an 802.11n band card compatible with Backtrack4 for playing with wifi injection, and added an external RP-SMA connector.


Now replace all the screws, and close the panel back up.

Now was the part I hit a small snag.  Upon booting, the BIOS would not detect the Sabertooth drive.  I disabled the internal 4GB SSD, and rebooted.  Entering the BIOS again, I now couldn't see either SSD.  After a few minutes of head scratching, a helpful post on the EeeUser Forums suggested I try resetting the BIOS to factory defaults.  Once I did that, both SSDs were detected, with the Sabertooth as primary (as I was hoping for).

I installed Eeebuntu 3 Base, and checked out my new storage options.



After all was said and done, I now sport a tri-booting Eeebuntu/WinXP/Backtrack 4 laptop that weighs next to nothing and fits very comfortably at the bottom of my backpack.  The extra space is a wonderful change after getting used to fitting my whole system on the 4GB drive, and there is a noticeable speed increase for both reads and writes.  I couldn't pin down a standard benchmarking tool that everyone would agree was valid and would run under Linux, but I can definitely tell the difference.

In short, this is a simple and effortless upgrade to your netbook, and it's even easier to afford nowadays with SSD prices dropping.  Plus while you're in there you can bump the RAM up past the 1GB limit Microsoft is imposing on distributors, and maybe even upgrade your WiFi capabilities.

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