USB External Hard Drive
Deb asked me what's the cheapest way to upgrade her Dell "Inspiron 8100":http://www.gamers-depot.com/hardware/notebooks/dell/inspiron8100/001.htm and not have to buy a new laptop. A great question since laptops are not that upgradeable and they are expensive. She was thinking about buying a new 60GB hard drive and an additional 256MB of memory for a $300 upgrade.
Given the machine is 2-3 years old, things haven't gotten a lot faster. Also since the machine is out of warranty, you can use aftermarket parts and save a little as well. So here goes:
First the memory, this thing is a Tuatalin processor, so a Pentium III 1.2GHz-M or thereabouts. It also have firewire but not USB 2.0. It takes up to two PC133 SDRAM modules so you can get another one for about $50 and then spend the rest on more external disk. In terms of memory, that can help performance too, so getting another 256MB of SDRAM is not a bad idea. According to the "memory configurator":http://www.shop4memory.com/memory-list/dell/inspiron-8100.asp, you need 256MB of SODIMM SD-RAM PC133. That's a mouthful, but you can get this from Kingston for "Zipzoomfly":http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=80309-SO&affiliate=pricegrabber for $50 according to "Pricegrabber":http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=426058/blsrt=1
Here are some simple things to think about first is to get an external hard drive and you can decide to spend less than $250 if you want to ($300-$50 for the memory). You can put many more movies on it and it will last when you upgrade your computer. Models to think about that are external with Firewire interfaces:
* "LaCie d2 Extreme":http://www.macuser.co.uk/macuser/labs/62841/lacie-d2-extreme-160gb.html. These are very fast and quite popular. The 250GB is just $217 and should be all you ever need for a long time. "Techonweb":http://www.techonweb.com/products/productdetail.aspx?id=B35492&src=PG is a good reseller that has it for a good price. The more modest 160GB model is just "$160":http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=3973798 so not as good a value but definitely cheaper.
* "Seagate External":http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=6335762. Another good name. These drives are fast too. They have a 400GB model for $300. That's a lot of money, but what a big drive that even I would lust for.
So net, net, get the Kingston memory from Zipzoomfly and then decide if you need 160GB ($160) or 250GB ($217).