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Swapping Out the Asus Eee PC 1000HE Hard Drive

How-To: Upgrade Your Netbook, Easily
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As with the Dell Mini 9 maneuver, this is a very easy mechanical task. The 1000HE supports SATA II drives, so you need only remove a single anchor screw for the drive caddy from the case, then pop out the old drive, replace the old drive in the caddy with a new one (up to four more screws), insert the drive caddy back into its receptacle, and replace the anchor screw, and you’re done.

But first, of course, that drive must be imaged just like the Mini 9’s SSD. In this case, however, you can use an external drive caddy like the ThermalTake BlackX to make this job very easy. We just popped out the original 160 GB hard disk from the 1000HE case, dropped it into the caddy, plugged it into another PC, and then used Acronis TrueImage to write an image of that drive onto another drive. Next, we popped the old drive out of the BlackX, popped in the new one, used TrueImage to restore the drive, and were back up and running in less than half an hour from our start time. No need to burn a boot disk or build a bootable UFD, and no need to restore using the target machine itself. SATA drive tools make this task much easier for the Asus Eee PC 1000HE than it was for the Mini 9.

Here are some snapshots of the drive swap, with step-by-step instructions:

  1. Look for the screws that hold the drive cage in place around the drive bay, then remove that screw. The photo shows the drive in the bay with the cage removed so you can see the screw aperture clearly at the lower right beneath the stock Seagate 160 GB drive.

Back out the screw at the lower right that anchors the drive cage, then use the Mylar ribbon to gently lift the drive. Grasp the back end (away from the SATA connector) and pull it gently out to the right.Back out the screw at the lower right that anchors the drive cage, then use the Mylar ribbon to gently lift the drive. Grasp the back end (away from the SATA connector) and pull it gently out to the right.

Our two replacement drives: the 128 GB Super Talent SSD on the left, and the Seagate 7,200 RPM 250 GB Momentus hard disk on the right.Our two replacement drives: the 128 GB Super Talent SSD on the left, and the Seagate 7,200 RPM 250 GB Momentus hard disk on the right.

  1. Unscrew the old drive from the drive cage, then insert the new drive and replace all four screws.
  2. Lower the drive cage into the drive bay so that the internal SATA connector mates up to the SATA connector on the drive. Gently push the drive to the left until it’s firmly seated on the SATA connector. Replace the anchor screw for the drive cage at the lower right, tighten until snug.

And again: you’re done. Whereas we saw read speeds ranging from 68 to 40 MB/s with the original 160 GB drive, we saw 100 to 60 GB/s with the 250 GB drive (thanks in part to its faster rotation, but also thanks to its larger 16 MB drive cache), and a straight 110 MB/s across the board for the 128 GB SSD. Given that the SSD costs more than five times as much as the 250 GB HD, we think it’s only workable for those with big budgets, which defeats the purpose of having a netbook in the first place. We’re using the 250 GB drive in our unit ourselves.

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