Please read the Update 2 at the bottom for how this finally turned out (poorly). The guidance I give is good, I think, in general, but for this platform, not so much. The hard drive issues continue to this day, no matter which drive I use. I have decided to abandon the laptop entirely and just buy a Mac Mini Server, because I got tired of troubleshooting the problem and just want to move on.
I’ve been upgrading the Dell Inspiron 1521 that I traded an iPad 1 to Dad for last month. It’s not by any stretch of the imagination a performance laptop even in its fully upgraded state, but it’s pretty good, so I figured I should post about the hardware and software (and especially drivers) that I used to get it where it is today.
I often post about this kind of stuff not out of attention seeking but partly because there are friends who are interested in this kind of thing and partly because I didn’t find an easily digestible central source of the information – I figure I give back to the Internet as a whole by centralizing it for the next person who might want to do this.
I should probably mention, now I think of it, that this will void the crap out of your warranty. So wait until it expires!