Unbelievable luck

I have spent enough time working with an 810Mb hard drive to satisfy both my curiosity and my need for self-deprecation. So I deviated from my day-to-day routine yesterday and after browsing for about 20 minutes in an electronics store, I picked up the box for a 40Gb 5400rpm laptop hard drive.

It’s similar to the one I bought almost a year ago, the same one that’s in this Celeron I’m using right now. Samsung-built but IO Data branded, it’s a solid performer and hasn’t given me any errors.

I was tempted to grab a little bigger drive, or perhaps even a monstrous 120Gb drive — with price differences of about US$20 for a drive three times as big, I’m almost a fool not to.

But if the drive is destined for a machine with BIOS limitations on hard drives that date back to 1996, I don’t want to overwhelm it too badly. I know the Samsung drive, I trust it in another machine, the size is more than I will ever use (particularly in a Pentium), so I was content to save US$20 and take the smaller drive. I know, it’s stupid on the surface, but I’m okay with stupid sometimes.

When I got home, I dropped it into the modular bay without looking too hard at it, except to notice that it was a Western Digital drive, and not a Samsung. I shrugged and went on, because to be honest, drive resellers like this don’t usually pin down one model and slap their label on it, from my experience.

But things got weirder. I booted the Crux 2.4 ISO and checked fdisk, and the drive was present. I started cfdisk to partition it (knowing I needed to leave a separate partition for /boot, so the BIOS doesn’t freak out), but the size of the drive is reported at a bizarre number far too big for a 40Gb dimension. I’ve done enough installs and reinstalls on 40Gb drives to know where those numbers ought to be.

So I exited cfdisk and used a few other tools to be sure I hadn’t made a mistake, then went ahead and partitioned it, leaving a ginormous partition at the end. But then mkfs.ext2 was showing giant block arrays that were also way out of the range for a 40Gb drive.

Well this must be wrong, I thought. So I halted the machine, pulled out the drive and checked the label again. And then I realized there is a God, and she loves me.

It’s not a Samsung MP0402H, a 40Gb 5400rpm laptop drive. It’s a Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD1200BEVE, a 5400rpm 120Gb EIDE drive.

What incredible luck!

To make the rest of the story short, I checked the box and the receipt and the label, and everything shows it as a 40Gb drive, but the one in the box, sealed from the company, was a 120Gb drive. So I scored on an astronomical scale, with the kind of luck I haven’t had since secondary school when I got a second floppy disk packaged in a C64 game (I’ve forgotten the title), and sold it to a friend for ~$5.

It’s possible it might not be happy in the Pentium (I mean, it has half as much cache as the system has memory!), but even so I can swap it out for another drive if it puts up a fuss. Take it back? I think not. I’ve worked counter retail and there’s no point being honest.

Nope, this one I’m going to chalk up as a point for me, take it as a blessing from above, and bask in a rare moment. :mrgreen:

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8 Responses to “Unbelievable luck”


  1. 1 Tony 2009/02/07 at 2:14 PM

    WOW – that is extremely good fortune! Good for you! Let’s hope others enjoy the same experience you are enjoying at this moment.

    Within the past two days I had a totally opposite experience. Another birthday rolled around and my wife offered to buy me a netbook because I had been showing some interest in them recently. I’ve gotten several computers and the way I figure it is “What’s ‘just’ one more computer?” (Cough – Cough)

    I live in the USA and in our area there are several Office Depot stores that sell everything you could imagine an office could use and of course computers. They sell to businesses and to the public. On display they had two exact Acer model number netbooks that were identical and on sale. The same size 160gig HDD, same Acer model number, same operating system, same RAM, same price, the color was the same, and the same Office Depot part number. I asked the salesman why he had the same computer model on display twice? He admitted that he mistakenly did it, but left it that way because he was to busy to go back and correct the mistake.

    For me it was a good thing he made that mistake. When I was “playing” with both of the netbooks on the shelf display I noticed one of the identical Acer netbooks only had a 120gig HDD, while its’ supposed twin had a 160gig HDD. I brought this to the salesman’s attention and he was at a loss for words. He said one of the Acer’s clearly had a 120gig HDD instead of the 160gig HDD and he did not know why?

    By the time our conversation ended there were several customers gathered around looking at this model because it was on a weekly sale. Not a single customer (including me) bought one.

    Just imagine, if a defect had occurred and the unit had to be returned to Acer for repair, Acer would’ve denied warranty coverage because the netbook had the 160gig HDD changed out by the customer for some reason and that would’ve voided the Acer warranty. Acer would never admit they substituted a smaller HDD in any computer they sold because it would involve a multi-million dollar recall as well as monetary penalties.

    I’ll stay with my former Vista laptop that now has Ubuntu 8.04 installed and runs like a sweet dream!

  2. 2 hdrev 2009/12/29 at 2:21 PM

    xD

    something similar happened to me, i was lucky but not that much lol

    i ordered a hitachi travelstar hdd of 160GB and a 200GB hdd arrived :D

    same price and everything, sometimes errors can be good

  3. 3 Yuhong Bao 2010/11/29 at 10:13 AM

    To be honest, I can’t think of any BIOS barriers that an 120 GB drive hit that a 40 GB drive would not hit anyway.


  1. 1 A fork in the road « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2009/02/10 at 6:25 AM
  2. 2 Howto: rsync a system between drives « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2009/12/29 at 1:14 PM
  3. 3 Nothing to scoff at: Arch Linux, 300Mhz Celeron « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/04/18 at 4:58 PM
  4. 4 Twenty-ten: The picks of the litter « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/12/13 at 8:40 AM
  5. 5 Oddly enough, ‘Five gets it right « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2011/03/27 at 9:20 PM

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