BEWARE: Thinkpads don’t like just any old hard drive!

I bought a cheap Samsung hard drive on newegg.com over the weekend, and it arrived today. I booted up the system, and…

*BEEP* *BEEP*
ERROR 2010: Warning: Your internal hard disk drive (HDD) may not function correctly on this system. Ensure that your HDD is supported on this system and that the latest HDD firmware is installed. Press to continue

It turns out that, although Thinkpads use PATA hard drives, they are very picky about which ones. This is because the later T43 models use an SATA to PATA bridge chipset to convert between the Sonoma chipset and the much more affordable PATA drive standard.

What this means is that drives have to be specially coded to work with this bridge, and the Thinkpad has a little internal list that makes sure that the drive is known as compatible. If your drive isn’t on this list, the Thinkpad beeps at you on every boot.

I might be able to get my beautiful new drive to work, but right now I’m having trouble getting GRUB to figure out where it is. This is because GRUB needs the BIOS drive listing, and naturally the BIOS isn’t recognizing the drive. Linux sees it fine, though.

I got it to boot, but I still worry that something will go wrong. The two big warnings on the wiki are “slow” and “unreliable.” So far it is definitely not slow, but I’ll have to wait a few days for the “unreliable” part.

Update:
So it’s looking ok for now. I’m going to give it a couple weeks before I really trash the old one.
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1 108G 49G 55G 47% /

I’d rather have to put up with 160$, two beeps and pushing escape every boot for 120gigs; as opposed to 300$ for 100 IBM-sanctioned gigs.

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