I was recently given this used laptop computer. The computer has spent several years in storage, and I'm trying to get this thing running again, and running well. The first upgrade was memory. It was choking on XP and IE. At 512 MB, it now keeps up. And after some research, it looks like I can upgrade the P III-M CPU to 1.2 GHz.
Plans call for a wifi card to replace the ethernet miniPCI card in it (802.11n, perhaps?), a new battery, and, if possible, a new, much faster hard disk. This Hitachi DK23CA-20 is only spinning at 4200 rpm, with just an 8 KB buffer. Does this make any economic sense? Probably not, but I'm mobility impaired, a laptop that can go to bed with me is worth something, and I can't write off a nice $1200 machine against my retirement checks.
Maybe, if I can get a new, bigger and faster hard disk in it, I'll have a use for a CD/DVD reader/burner, but right now a CD drive works fine for installs.
The difference between an 866 and a 1.2 GHz is small enough that unless it's free or under $20, it's not worth it.
I would not install a draft-N card -- the antenna in an 8100 is not designed for draft-N. If you want -N support, use a PCMCIA card with an external antenna - otherwise range may suffer.
You can use a 5400 rpm drive 120G or smaller - over 120G you will have problems, and you must use a parallel ATA unit, not the more common SATA. That'll lock you out of the 7200 rpm market (all 7200s are SATA now).
A used 1.2 GHz is $9, a new one just over $30. The system keeps up with my typing quite nicely now, but so many app specs require at least 1 GHz. I thought that the extra oomph might take some of the jitter out of video. I hope I'm not expecting too much out of this little dinosaur.
I'd be looking at a used 7200 rpm drive, too, I guess. Of course, the system itself is about 8 years old (I think).
Is there a short antenna option, to add a second antenna, that will fit in an Inspiron 8100 case, behind the keyboard perhaps?
As you can probably tell, this is a little tinkering project. One part or two per retirement check.
If the CPU price is that low, go for it - just don't expect much of a boost because the difference will be very small - well under 5% overall.
Considering the last 7200 rpm drives were made around 3-4 years ago, and considering the design life of a hard drlve is five years, any 7200 rpm EIDE notebook drives will be nearing the end of their useful lives by now - I wouldn't bother. A good, new 5400 rpm WD Scorpio Blue will be almost as fast and not subject to aging the way any 7200 will be.
There's no easy way to add an internal antenna - you can try the existing one or just use a PCMCIA card.
I have a Dell Inspiron 8100 someone gave me as well, and I want to add a wireless G card to the mini PCI slot, but the problem is I don't see an antenna to connect to the NIC? I have the cable with the 2 small connectors, 1 2-pin and 1 13-pin connector, but no connectors for an internal antenna. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
I just looked at an empty c810 base I have here, and also at the mini-PCI area on a Precision M40, and they both have a connector to the built in antenna wire already in place. Since they are clones of your I8100, you should also have that wire. Look in the corner of the door opening.
In order to connect to this, easiest would be to look for someone on eBay selling a these wifi cards with the jumber needed for the c810, c610, etc. You could also buy an antenna wire and put it in the base, but this would require taking the laptop all apart, a 30-45 minute job...
You could give me a call sometime, I am not that far away..
I got the right antenna on eBay. It has the U.FL connector at one end and a gold "flag" at the other (pad for attachment). opened the case to position it. search U.FL antenna.
Sorry for the delay. I couldn't sign in when you posted -- technical problems at Dell?
Perhaps this will help someone.