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Help replacing HD on Dell Dimension 2400

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Help replacing HD on Dell Dimension 2400

  • Greetings to All!
    This is my first post and I need your expertise.
    Dell Dimension 2400 purchased new in 2004 with spec:

    P 4 @ 2.660GHz, original 128 MB SDRAM (have been upgraded to 1G memory), 40 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive. Recently the Hard drive is showing sign of wear (clicking noise), therefore, I would like to replace it and need your help to choose the correct type. I would like to stay under 160 GB (i.e. not to go over 4 times the original). This is the first time I will be opening the PC case. Also, some HD says cache: 2MB or 8MB; I do not know what the original cache is? The following I saw on newegg website:

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST380215A 80GB 7200 RPM IDE Ultra ATA100 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive/Cache: 2MB

    Also, while I am replacing a hard drive, I would like to install a wireless PCI card if there is a slot and easy to install it. If doable, would you please help me choose the right kind (any link would be appreciated).  I thank you all for your help.
  • Either of the two drives you mention in your post should work fine.  The cache helps speed data transfer, but only for what is actually contained in the cache.  Once that gets emptied, or you ask for something that the system didn't put in the cache, your data transfer will be at the speed that the drive will read from the platters.  I don't think you will notice a difference between the two drives.

    With regard to a wireless card, Newegg has those also.  Check here:

    Dell Forum member since 2005

  • You’ve got two 5.25” hard drive bays externally accessible and one 3.5” hard drive bay externally accessible (floppy?) and one one-inch high bay internally accessible for drives (  Suggest getting two 5.25” hard drives (one for backup).  These drives are normally one inch in height.  Your bus speed is 33 MHz and I don’t remember if that translates to Ultra ATA 100 disks or older ATA 66 disks, but at least both are IDE drives.  You can tell if your current drive is ATA 66 or 100 based upon the cable.  ATA 66 has 40 pin connector and 40 wire cable, and ATA 100 has 40 pin connector and 80 wire cable – the ATA 100 cable is much more dense and may even have a blue connector at the motherboard.  But, you’d have to have a look at both cables to determine which is which.  I’d tell you that this is easy, but it always is when you know what you see, and have done it before.

    FYI the 3.5” drives are normally found in laptops and have a different connector which would require that you “adapt” the IDE 40 pin cable to whatever the pins may be on the 3.5” drive (I don’t recall the number of pins on a 3.5” drive).

    Of note: If you put one drive at the end of one cable, it either is not jumpered or jumpered as master, depending upon the mfr of the drive.  If you get 2 drives as I suggest, then the one at the end of the cable is the master, and the one between the ends of the cable is “slave,” and must be jumpered accordingly.  Dell, however, is famous for providing, out of the box, a cable that does not support two drives, so you may have to buy a cable as well.  You’ve got two IDE channels which means you can support four drives (including DVD), but the most common configuration is one or two (master and slave) on the same channel.  Gonna guess that you’ve got a DVD drive and that’s probably on the secondary IDE channel or could be a slave on the primary IDE channel… jumpers and location on the IDE channels will tell you.

    You’ve got 3 PCI slots and if you have one unused, that’s where you’d install the wireless PCI card.  Newegg a great place to shop, have bought much from them, and they’ll have the wireless PCI network card as well.

    Summary: Don’t get the 3.5” drive, you’ll need the 5.25” w/40 pin connector.  Check whether ATA 66 or 100 (Dell manual may say), and any good mfr of PCI wireless network card will work.

    Good luck.

  • Thank you both for the response. I was under the impression that 2.5" hard drive are found in laptops. I just want to replace a original HD and not worry about a slave drive (I do have WD portable for backup).  I would like to make this installation easier (don't mind spending little more $). As you suggested  (Don’t get the 3.5” drive, you’ll need the 5.25” w/40 pin connector) where should I buy this? Also, as this HD will be replacing the original, want something which would easily recognise BIOS so that I can freshly install XP on it. Once again, thank you.  

  • The bay for the hard drive is 5.25”.  The hard drive itself is 4” wide and 5.75” long, 1” thick.  This is the common desktop hard drive.  There are 3.5” and 2.5” laptop hard drives and getting smaller.  Looking at the WD1600AAJB 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache IDE ATA100 3.5” internal drive’s power and IDE connector, it looks like this will work in your desktop.  The other post is correct, the 3.5” drive will work.  Now I’m wondering why it’s called 3.5” drive when it’s 4 x 5.75 x 1 inches.  Oh, maybe the size of the platters themselves?


  • Thanks again. They are called 3.5 inch due to the diameter of a hard drive --which is 3.5 inch.   Therefore, the bigger the circumference (i.e. diameter x pie [3.144444]) of a drive, the better performance. Also, RPM is a big factor too.  As far I know, laptops have 2.5 inch hard drive due to their compact nature of design.                                 Also, I am assuming that I don't need to buy any new cable as I can use existing old IDE connector  or do I need a new one?

  • Nope. You do not have to buy anything except the hard drive. Some hard drives come with a cable and CD if the drive is sold in a retail box. If the hard drive is described as OEM then it comes with nothing.

    my Dells:
    Optiplex 3020 - Windows 7 Pro 64-bit / Linux Mint
    Optiplex 3020 - Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

    Precision M6300 - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

    Latitude D620 - XP Pro SP3

  • Thank you everyone, I am going to go ahead and order Western Digital Caviar Blue WD1600AAJB 160GB 7200 RPM IDE Ultra ATA100 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive /Cache: 8MB;  Will get back to the forum if I encounter any problems installing HD.

  • How did your install turn out?

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    Forum Member since 2001
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