Highlighted
jmsigler2
1 Nickel

Information on Updating Hard Drive for DELL Latitude E6420

My laptop configuration has the following system information:

OS Name Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Version 10.0.14393 Build 14393 --> upgraded to Version 10.0.15063 Build 15063

OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation

System Manufacturer Dell Inc.

System Model Latitude E6420

System Type x64-based PC

Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2640M CPU @ 2.80GHz, 2801 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)

BIOS Version/Date Dell Inc. A24, 5/12/2017

Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 8.00 GB --> upgraded to Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 16.0 GB

Display Name Intel(R) HD Graphics 3000

Display Adapter Type Intel(R) HD Graphics Family, Intel Corporation compatible

Display Adapter Type NVS 4200M, NVIDIA compatible

Display Adapter Description NVIDIA NVS 4200M

Display Adapter RAM 512.00 MB (536,870,912 bytes)

Last year, in 2016, my hard drive failed for this computer.  The drive in the unit was an OEM drive, a Seagate Momentus (HDD), 500GB, 7200RPM, Model: ST9500423AS, DOM: 02/2012.  I believe this drive came with the laptop as I do not recall buying the drive.  I bought this computer from my client's employer in late 2012 as the company I was consulting to switch computer vendors.  In the fall of 2012, I was offered the chance to purchase this Dell laptop, and I seized that opportunity.

Seagate Momentus Internal Notebook Hard Drive, 7200RPM 500GB SATA 2.0 3Gb/s NCQ 16MB Cache 9.5 MM 2.5 Inch, Model ST9500423AS

In 2016, my wife the drive failed when my wife was borrowing the laptop from me.  She purchased a replacement drive, a Toshiba (HDD), 1TB, 5400RPM, Model: MQ01ABD100.  This drive still works fine, a low power consumption drive but also lower performance than typical 7200RPM drives.  One the other hand, the capacity of the drive was twice as large at 1TB versus 500GB. But, as a software engineer, I could not handle the slower performance; so I went shopping.

I purchased a new Seagate Firecuda (HHD), 2TB, 5400RPM with 8GB of Nand Flash SSD cache storage.  I will tell you how that turned out.

Seagate FireCuda Gaming HHD (HDD/SSHD) 5400RPM 2TB SATA 3.0 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 7MM 2.5-Inch Notebooks / Laptops Internal Hard Drive (Model: ST2000LX001)

I cloned the Toshiba 5400RPM HDD to this Seagate Firecuda with Acronis, a fully licensed retail version, not the free Seagate version of Acronis, booting from Acronis on a USB boot drive.  I tried cloning with the Toshiba 1TB drive remaining as installed internally in the laptop to the Firecude 2TB drive held externally on the USB bus.  This failed.  I tried cloning again with the drives reversed, the Firecuda 2TB drive installed as an internal drive and the Toshiba 1TB drive held externally on the USB bus.  This also failed.  Note: If this last past succeeds, you must be careful to remove the old drive from the USB bus before rebooting as the Master Boot Record, (MBR) will get destroyed on the original drive and no longer boot from that drive.  Of course, you may want to reformat the older drive anyway and use it as a backup drive or a drive for some other computer or purpose.

I contacted Acronis about their cloning software.  I told the Acronis technical support representative what I am facing with the Firecuda drive.  With the Firecuda drive installed internally, I faced errors saying that the Master Boot Record files are missing or corrupt.  As well, the DELL BIOS would not recognize the drive in the BIOS setup.  And, I would also get a Boot error on startup like the Boot drive was not found.  Acronis said that they do not support hybrid hard drives (HHD), hard drives having Nand flash memory to increase performance.  Acronis only supports standard hard disk drives (HHDs) and pure solid state drives (SSDs).

It turns out that the Firecuda drive has a height form factor of 7mm and not 9.5mm.  The drive seemed like it installed okay internally, but it actually did not.  The 7mm drive on the E6420 does not mesh with the hardware contacts inside the drive bay; this information comes from another user posting on the DELL Community Forum.  I contacted DELL Support.  A DELL Technical Support Representive said that these 7mm drives are not supported in the DELL Latitude E6420.  I was also told that DELL supports up to a 250GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, assuming both drives have a form factor height of 9.5mm.  One user claimed he could get the drive to work by using some material to act as a height spacer adapter to make the drive reach the hardware electronic contracts in the drive bay.  I bought a notebook drive height spacer adapter to see if that would work.  The one I like is a solid plastic 7mm to 9.5mm height spacer adapter.  Some others on the market have hollow rectangular space in the middle of the adapter.

My DELL Latitude E6420 having the drive with the 7.5mm to 9.5mm height spacer adapter will not fit into the drive bay securely.  Should it have worked?  Not sure.  But, I was not going to force the issue. Maybe the height of the 7mm to 9.5mm adapter I bought was just a little too thick, the form factor of the Seagate Firecuda drive is somehow different, or in my view the form factor of the 7mm to 9mm heighter adapter extends over the end of the drive where the circuits are so the drive will not plug in.  This may be by-design or it could be a design flaw in the length of the 7mm to 9mm height spacer adapter.

Note: I never did try seeing if I could shift the plastic off the edge at the other end.  I will look into that and reply back later.  As well, one might be able to sand down the edge of the plastic adapter to see if that works too.  Nevertheless, I moved to replace the following drive:

Toshiba 1TB 2.5" Internal Hard Drive - 5400RPM SATA 3.0 6Gb/s 8MB Cache 9.5MM 2.5 Inch - Model: MQ01ABD100

with the following drive

WD Black 1TB Performance Mobile Hard Disk Drive - 7200RPM SATA 3.0 6Gb/s 32MB Cache 9.5MM 2.5 Inch - Model: WD10JPLX.

Note: Both of these functional drives are 9.5mm in height and 1TB in capacity, the maximum HDD supported by DELL for the DELL Latitude E6420.  And, the Western Digital Drive, Model WD10JPLX, at 7200RPM, is working just fine.

I hope this helps those looking to upgrade their hard drive in the DELL Latitude E6420.

8 Replies
jmsigler2
1 Nickel

RE: Information on Updating Hard Drive for DELL Latitude E6420

Seagate Momentus 7200RPM 500GB SATA 3Gb/s NCQ 16MB Cache 9.5MM 2.5 Inch Internal Notebook Hard Drive, Model ST9500423AS

jmsigler2
1 Nickel

RE: Information on Updating Hard Drive for DELL Latitude E6420

Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSHD 2TB SATA 6.0Gb/s 64MB Cache 7MM 2.5-Inch Notebooks / Laptops Internal Hard Drive (Model: ST2000LX001)

Currently, I have no success in getting this drive to function in the DELL Latitude E6420.  -- James

See related post: http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/p/19616369/21000250#21000250

jmsigler2
1 Nickel

RE: Information on Updating Hard Drive for DELL Latitude E6420

Seagate FireCuda Gaming HHD/SSHD 5400RPM 2TB SATA 3.0 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 7MM 2.5-Inch Notebooks / Laptops Internal Hard Drive (Model: ST2000LX001) with 7mm to 9mm Spacer Adapter

 



Friday, July 21st, 2017

I have a slight update.  Originally, when I tried to insert this drive, with the 7mm to 9.5mm spacer adapter, including the plastic facing adapter from DELL mounted on the end of the drive, the drive would not fit into the socket, some part of the drive's form factor being blocked at the internal end of the drive.  Well, I went to upgrade the memory from 8GB to 16GB which was successful making me very happy there.  I had to remove eleven DELL Latitude E6420 screws to remove the plastic face plate on the bottom of the unit; this includes the four screws to the hard drive.  This allowed me more access to see what was going on when inserting this drive with the spacer adapter.  I was able to maneuver the drive a little bit to get the drive to insert.  The drive then reports "No boot device found."  I am not sure if that is a hardware only message or not.  I have not cloned my WDC drive to this drive yet to see if it will work.  If it is just that no Boot OS is detected, that is one thing; in that case, maybe I have a chance here to use this drive.  If it is still a hardware issue, then even after cloning the drive, I will likely not see a positive result.  DELL support told me that solid state drives are supported to 250GB only.  I have read that some have found success with Samsung SSDs at 500GB.  DELL support also said that HDDs are supported to only 1TB which I know works as I have tried two HDDs from Toshiba (5400RPM) and Western Digital (7200RPM) and both were good-to-go.  In this case, this drive is a hybrid drive, a 2TB drive with 8GB of SSD cache storage.  This drive has been referred to as a hybrid hard drive (HHD) and as a solid state hard drive (SSHD).  And, Acronis does not support hybrid drives with their cloning software.  Anyway, I still have some testing to do to prove my result one way or the other.  The BIOS, as best I can tell, is not smart enough to tell me it can detect this drive; however, the Boot message "Boot device not found." may be an indicator that the BIOS cannot find the drive from a hardware perspective, or the BIOS has been programmed to reject a drive of this type, assuming the hardware contacts between the drive and the Sandy Bridge motherboard and making contact correctly.  I would love to see this 2TB hybrid drive work in the DELL Latitude E6420, but I am not holding my breath.  It does not seem promising to me at this point.  I will report back on further testing at a later time.  In the meantime, I would stick to 9.5mm form factor drives for the DELL Latitude E6420.  If anyone succeeds generally in getting any SATA drive greater than 1TB to function, or a solid state drive (SSD), hybrid drive (HHD/SSHD), or just a standard hard drive (HHD), I would love to know about it.

 

Alternate Solution To Use of This Drive Not As A Boot Drive

What I may do is buy a hard drive caddy to substitute for my DVD-ROM drive which runs on a USB bus.  I know that this 2GB drive is recognized and functions when plugged into a USB port.  The Caddy runs on a USB bus, I believe.  Then, I could carry the DVD-ROM drive and use it only when necessary, either re-insert it or get a USB external case for the DVD-ROM drive.  I have seem some USB hard drive caddies sold for the DELL Latitude E6420 with a leather or vinyl carrying case which could store the DVD-ROM drive.  On the other hand, I could also buy an external case just for this hard drive, but this seems like such a waste of a good drive, even if I were to use it primary for backup purposes.  And, I cannot even remember the last time I used my DVD-ROM drive.  Movies are mostly streamed now.  Data backups far exceed a DVD-ROM disk capacities now unless you are going to use many DVD-ROM disks to get a good backup.  A full computer system backup is just too large to make sense anymore.  A data only backup does make some possible sense, even partial data if you are using a DVD for some specific purpose such as legal documents.

 

James Sigler

Dallas, TX

 

jmsigler2
1 Nickel

RE: Information on Updating Hard Drive for DELL Latitude E6420

Toshiba 1TB 2.5" Internal Hard Drive - 5400RPM SATA 3.0 6Gb/s 8MB Cache 9.5MM 2.5 Inch - Model: MQ01ABD100

and

WD Black 1TB Performance Mobile Hard Disk Drive - 7200RPM SATA 6 Gb/s 32MB Cache 9.5MM 2.5 Inch - Model: WD10JPLX


Both of these 1TB HDDs work in the DELL Latitude E6420.  -- James

r.mcgill
1 Copper

RE: Information on Updating Hard Drive for DELL Latitude E6420

Lots of excellent info here, James.  Trying to find a decent SSD drive for my own E6420 but finding it problematic.  

0 Kudos
jmsigler2
1 Nickel

RE: Information on Updating Hard Drive for DELL Latitude E6420

I agree with you on it being problematic.  DELL supports only up to 250GB solid state drives (SSDs).  But, I have read that some had success with Samsung 500GB hard drives which does double what DELL Technical Support says is supported for the DELL Latitude E6420.  Also, there are two grades of SSD flash storage memory on the Samsung drives.  I think the PRO line is the higher grade.  I have seen some sales which might come close to the standard retail price for the lower EVO line drive.  I hear that the higher grade PRO SSD flash storage memory will last many times or years longer than the EVO SSD flash storage memory.  I have neither seen nor heard of any SSD greater than 500GB working in the DELL Latitude E6420.  That said, you could try using an SSD larger than 500GB as a secondary drive, replacing the DVD-ROM caddy.  Your interval drive data transfers will be fast.  But, any data going out over the USB bus may be slower.  The E6420 may run on USB 2.0 bus, not a USB 3.0 bus.  So, your external bus transfer rate could be only 480Mbps, not 5000Mbps (or 5Gbps).  I do not believe the DVD-ROM runs on a PCI-Express bus; that would be a lot faster.

This computer has a PCI-Express (PCI-e) port; I am not using it right now.  On some other laptops of mine, I have purchased a USB 3.0 PCI-e expansion card which really helps out especially with backup.  If you can still find them, there was a market for 256GB PCI-Express Card (SSDs) which would run very fast in that PCI-e port.  From what I remember, they were very pricey.  I think I saw some recently still being sold from South or Central America.  But, the price seems cost prohibitive.  I would just get the USB 3.0 PCI-e card and just use and external SSD with that as a performance work around.  This is money well spent.  You will then get 5Gbps on the USB 3.0 expansion ports.

My suggestion is to setup an external SSD drive.  You can use an standard sized notebook drive which can house SSD flash storage.  You can reduce the size of the drive by using mSATA or possibly the newer m2-SATA flash storage memory.

You might want to check out this My Digital Discount for SSD drives.

0 Kudos
DoctorScottPA
1 Copper

RE: Information on Updating Hard Drive for DELL Latitude E6420

You are not alone.  I have experienced the same problem with a Dell Latitude E6430. A 2TB 2.5" Seagate FireCuda is not recognized by the BIOS.  I can use the drive without a problem hooked to an external USB 3.0 port via hard drive dock.  I cloned my 1 TB HGST 7200 RPM drive to the FireCuda without any fuss.  But when I put the FireCuda into the laptop's hard drive bay, it simply wouldn't see it.

0 Kudos
9 Rhodium

RE: Information on Updating Hard Drive for DELL Latitude E6420

If the system doesn't see the drive and you've installed a 7 mm drive, mount it with an adapter to compensate for the reduced height --

www.amazon.com/.../B014LQM6I2

-- the system will then see the drive.

0 Kudos