I just got my hands on an used Sony Vaio VPC F11S1E. It’s a really nice 16.4″ true HD model, with BluRay and Nvidia 330M graphics card. I got it, because it got really really hot, the noise levels were unbearable and also the HDD turned out to be defective.
On my never ending quest to do some fun upgrades, I disassembled it completely and cleaned out the dust and grime in the radiator and fans inside. Also I gave it some new thermal paste, which got the noise level somewhat down.
The HDD had to be replaced with a SSD drive, ofcourse, and I had just bought a Force 3 120GB drive. It’s SATA3 6.0Gb/s and should perform around 500MB/sec. The Sony only runs SATA2, but hey, but then at least the drive won’t be the bottleneck. Also I had a nice 1TB drive lying around, and thought the 120GB for both Windows XP, Windows 7 and Ubuntu might be a bit small if I also needed somewhere to place some data.
So why not try to fit both?
The VAIO has a powered ESATA connector on the left hand side, and the obvious solution was to hijack the connector inside and then tape it off, so I could still use the port for USB. Digging around, I found out that the chipset supported 6 SATA2 ports, but three of them were disabled somehow in the chipset (probably in the BIOS). Also the chipset is BGA, so getting to the extra connectors would be hopeless. So I stayed on the ESATA plan.
I took the power for the SSD from the primary HDD connector, as I thought that might be a better option than using the USB port (I might charge a phone off it or something).
This is the final result, everything all finished nicely with Kapton tape to prevent any shorts. The ESATA port has been taped off, so the ESATA connector is inaccessible, but the USB part is working.
More pictures below.