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Compaq Contura Aero Frequently Asked Questions
Section - Christian's Aero harddrive upgrade list

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The current list can be found at:

Aero harddisk upgrade list Ver. 2.7: (April 23, 2002)

All email addresses have been obfuscated by changing the "@" to "-at-".

This list is intended as an aid for Compaq Aero users who want to upgrade 
their harddisks in choosing the right one (of course, without any 
guarantees). Note that only 2.5 '' IDE or EIDE harddisks with heights of
less than 12.7 mm fit into the Aero. Read also

on the Aero page of Philip Wilk

before upgrading your Aero. It helped me a lot.
Please send any comments on (hopefully) successful (or unsuccessful)
harddisk upgrades to Christian Rausch (
I will add them to this list as soon as possible.
If you have time, then please check the performance of your harddisk 
with cthdben.exe from the German c't magazine. It can be obtained via ftp

and reports the weighted average and the minimum/maximum  transfer rate
of your harddisk. Note that you should use plain MSDOS (no emm386 loaded,
no smartdrv or other caches loaded) and your disk should be as 
unfragmented as possible to get meaningful results.
It would be best to run this program right after installation of your new
disk. Please tell me the min/max and avg transfer rates of your disk then.
I will add them to this list also.

NEW: The cthdben harddisk benchmark program is now also available from

together with an English translation from Markus Gebhard!

This hint is added by suggestion of
Jean-Luc Chevillard <>:

THAT ARE REPORTED BY THE SETUP DISK (e.g., v.1.12, Rev.B, generated from 
SP2054.EXE), EVEN IF THEY LOOK STRANGE (e.g., a cylinder count of 1). DO NOT

Best regards,


Remark from Christian on Ver. 2.5, June 16, 2000:

This list is maintained over a long time now (see "History" below), and most
of the disks in this list are not available any more
(so the prices in this list have become obsolete, too)
I have not removed these entries, not only because of historical reasons, but
because some of you Aero users may still upgrade your Aeros with one of these
disks (e.g., when bought at a flea market for a few dollars).
But beware, it could be that some of the email addresses in the entries below
do not exist any more! So, if you are afraid of running into trouble while
upgrading your Aero with one of the disks below, please check the existence
of the email address of the Aero user in the corresponding entry, so that you
are not alone when you really run into trouble!

V2.7, 4/23/2002: Toshiba MK6015MAP (HDD2146) 6.007GB HDD
                 Hitachi DK239A-65 6.49 GB
V2.6, 10/29/2001: Toshiba MK-4309MAT (HDD2134) added
V2.5, 6/16/2000: Fujitsu MHK 2060 added
V2.4, 1/08/1998: Toshiba MK1401 transfer rates added 
V2.3, 9/30/1997: hint added
V2.2, 9/23/1997: HITACHI DK223A-11 added
                 Seagate ST92130AG added
V2.0, 8/19/1997: Toshiba MK1401 added
V1.9, 6/09/1997: Quantum Europa 540A added
V1.8, 5/07/1997: Quantum Europa 540AT added
V1.7, 4/25/1997: comment added
V1.6, 4/21/1997: Toshiba MK2103MAV added
V1.5, 4/03/1997: Toshiba MK1002MAV added
V1.4, 4/01/1997: comments + data transfer rates added
V1.3, 2/24/1997: Quantum GLS85A
                 Quantum Daytona 256
                 Toshiba MK1824FCV
                 IBM DBOA2720
                 Toshiba MK1926FCV
                 Western Digital WDAL2540
                 IBM DMCA 21440
                 Conner 340 MB
                 Seagate 170 MB
                 Toshiba MK1001MAV
                 Toshiba MK1002MAV
                 Toshiba MK1301MAV

Quantum GLS85A, 84 MB
(Compaq's original Aero 4/25 drive)
cthdben transfer rate:
 weighted average = 623 kb/sec,
 max. 1058 kB/sec
(measured by Christian Rausch <>)

Quantum Daytona 256, 721 cyl., 11 heads, 63 sectors
(Compaq's original 4/33c harddrive)
cthdben transfer rate:
 weighted average = 873.7 kB/sec,
 max. 1420.3 kB/sec
(measured by Markus Gebhard <>)

Toshiba MK1824FCV, 353 MB, 682 cyls., 16 heads, 63 sectors  
(remarks see aero.faq)

IBM DBOA2720, 720 MB, 12mm, 13ms, 1400 cyls., 16 heads, 63 sectors
(upgraded by Bill Flynn <>,
 Peter Barrette <>, see aero.faq  and
 Bob Geer <>)
According to Bill and Bob, this drive needs a master/slave jumper:
the master jumper goes on the pin-pair nearest controller connection pins.

Toshiba MK1926FCV, 814 MB
(upgraded by Philip Lim <>
 and Bob Dyas <>)

Western Digital WDAL2540, 540 MB
(upgraded by Kevin Stock <>)
cthdben transfer rate:
 weighted average = 602.2 kb/sec,
 max. 887.8 kB/sec
(measured by Kevin Stock <>)

IBM DMCA 21440, 1.44 GB, 12.5mm, 700 cyls., 64 heads, 63 sectors
(upgraded by Denis Cheong <>
 and Markus Gebhard <>)
cthdben transfer rate:
 min. 38.9 kb/sec,
 weighted average = 1062.6 kb/sec,
 max. 1804.5 kB/sec.
(measured by Markus Gebhard <>)

Conner 340 MB 
(upgraded by Denis Cheong <>)

Seagate 170 MB
(upgraded by Denis Cheong <>)

Toshiba MK1001MAV, 1 GB, 2098 cyls., 16 heads, 63 sectors
(upgraded by Christian Rausch <>)
cthdben transfer rate:
 weighted average = 1055.4 kb/sec,
 max. 1666.7 kB/sec
(measured by Christian Rausch <>)

Toshiba MK1002MAV, 1083 MB
(upgraded by Werner Kuehnert <>)

Toshiba MK1301MAV, 1.3 GB, 2633 cyls., 16 heads, 63 sectors
(upgraded by Thomas Ott <>
 and Guillo Kleinlein <>)
cthdben transfer rate:
 weighted average = 995.5 kb/sec,
 max. 1652.7 kB/sec.
(measured by Thomas Ott <>)

Toshiba MK1003MAV, 1083 MB, 2098 cyls., 16 heads, 63 sectors
(upgraded by Dieter Collischon <>)
cthdben transfer rate:
 weighted average = 1118,3 kB/sec,
 max. 1803.3 kB/sec.
(measured by Dieter Collischon <>)

Toshiba MK2103MAV, 2.1 GB
(upgraded by Javier Hernandez <>)
cthdben transfer rate:
 min = 40.8 kB/sec
 weighted average = 998.2 kB/sec
 max = 1617.3 kB/sec
(measured by Javier Hernandez <>)

Quantum Europa 540AT, 518 MB
(upgraded by Peter Barrette <>
 or <>)
cthdben transfer rate:
 min = 32.3 kB/sec
 weighted average = 885.4 kB/sec
 max = 1541.6 kB/sec
(measured by Peter Barrette <>
 or <>)

QUANTUM EUROPA540A, 540 MB, 12.5 mm, 14 ms, 3800 rpm, 85 KB Cache
  cyl/hd/sec:1179/15/60, BIOS translation: 588/30/60
  PWR: Standby 0.5 W, Idle 1.1 W, Read 2.3 W
(upgraded by Karl-Heinz Wietzke <>)
  cthdben transfer rate:
  min 34.4 kb/sec
  weighted average = 1074.5 kb/sec
  max. 1712.1 kb/sec
(measured at the end of the first 240 MB Partition)
(measured by Karl- Heinz Wietzke 

Toshiba MK1401, 1.4GB (succeeder of MK1301)
(upgraded by Marc Barrera, <> and
 Trent Douthat, <>)
  cthdben transfer rate:
  Minimum: 43.2 kB/s
  Weighted average: 1079.1 kB/s
  Maximum: 1768.2 kB/s
(measured by Trent Douthat, <>, he
 says that 100MB of his disk were already occupied before the test,
 but he defragmented the disk before running cthdben)

Hitachi dk211a-54, 540 mb, 1047 cyl, 16 heads, 63 sectors 
(upgraded by jack f.h. wolff, <>)
  price: 235.- DM
  cthdben transfer rate:
  min.= 26,6 kB/sec
  weighted average= 764,1 kB/sec
  max.= 1296,4 kB/sec
(measured by jack f.h. wolff, <>)

HITACHI DK223A-11, 1079.7 Mb,
(upgraded by Emilio Brambilla, <>)
  cthdben 3.0 transfer rate:
  weighted average= 1044,9 kB/sec
  max.= 1813,6 kB/sec
(measured by Emilio Brambilla, <>)
Remark from Emilio:
(note that on my aero the old original 255 Mb Quantum Daytona scores only
769,1 and 1193.1, a lot less than Markus 873.7/1420.3)
(PS new HITACHI HD is very silent too!!!)

Seagate ST92130AG, 2.0 Gb,
(upgraded by <manheiw-at-HK.Super.NET>)
  cthdben transfer rate:
  min.= 34.4 KB/s
  weighted average= 1172.7 KB/s
  max.= 1914.1 KB/s
(measured by <manheiw-at-HK.Super.NET>)
Remarks from <manheiw-at-HK.Super.NET>:
(I use the Seagate disk manager ver 7.1 to partition the St92130AG with
 the resulting disk space:
 Partition    Status    Type       Mbytes    System
 C: 1            A       Pri DOS    2047       FAT 16
    2                    Ext DOS    8
 DOS formated c: results in 2,146,631,680 bytes
 d:               8,200,192 bytes
 The cost?
 That's exactly HKD $2000 (which is approximately: USD $256.41) with
 installation cost! (of course not by Compaq..)

Fujitsu MHK-2060, 6 Gb,
(upgraded by Steve Houchard, <>)
  price: 135 US$ + shipping, bought online from
  cthdben transfer rate:
  min.= 74.8 KB/s
  weighted average= 1421.9 KB/s
  max.= 2176.2 KB/s
(measured by Steve Houchard, <>)
Remarks from Steve Houchard <>:
Even though this drive has increased the battery life and speed of my
aero, I unfortunately can't recommend it to anyone since the drive's
screw holes don't match up with the aero's caddy holes :(

>From what I've seen, other fujitsu drives have their holes on the bottom
as well so won't work well in an aero.  

Toshiba MK-4309MAT (HDD2134)
4,3 GB HDD 8.5mm (slimline),
15 Heads, 8,944 Cylinders, 63 Sectors
upgraded by Ulrich Hansen (

cthdben transfer rate:
min. 46.5 kb/sec,
weighted average = 1390.2 kb/sec,
max. 2149.6 kB/sec.
measured by Ulrich Hansen.

I had to drill two new holes into the caddy to fix the hdd. It is a very
calm drive.

Toshiba MK6015MAP (HDD2146) 6.007GB HDD
(upgraded by Ulrich Hansen, <
cthdben transfer rate:
Minimum: 79.7 kB/s
Weighted average: 1203.2 kB/s
Maximum: 1886.9 kB/s
Information by the manufacturer provided at:
(Had to drill two holes into the caddy to fix the disk)

Hitachi DK239A-65 6.49 GB
(upgraded by Ulrich Hansen, <>
cthdben transfer rate:
Minimum: 66.8 kB/s
Weighted average: 1210.3 kB/s
Maximum: 1883.2 kB/s
Information by the manufacturer provided at:
(Had to drill two holes into the caddy to fix the disk)

------------------------------ External harddrive solutions

[C] Philip Wilk, 06-Feb-97

There are several companies out there that sell kits to convert 2.5" or
3.5" harddrives into external harddrives. This can be either by PCMCIA or
Parallel. I think the best best company is H45 Techonologies, this is the 
one I use. They can be found at or 1-800-220-6346. You
can also order from  PC-Connection. Right now the parallel kit is $98 and
the PCMCIA kit is $98, but the the PCMCIA kit requires an additional $100
PCMCIA card from this company. They have drivers for Win 3.1 and Win 95,
and possibly others.

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Top Document: Compaq Contura Aero Frequently Asked Questions
Previous Document: Fixing the Master Boot Record
Next Document: 2.1.5 Screen

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