During the week-end I updated my internal 17” Powerbook hard drive with a new Samsung HM320JI. The operation is actually quite easy if you have the right tools and some patience. You just need to follow the illustrated manuals published by the nice people at ExtremeTech or iFixIt. Replacing the drive was actually quite fast, it can easily be done in half an hour. The problem is re-installing the OS and migrating the contents of your old startup disk to the new one. Even though Leopard features a nice migration assistant that takes care of everything for you, the operation can take over two hours for a relatively small 120GB disk.
Anyways, I am really happy with my new drive and I encourage everyone to perform such an upgrade. However, be aware that finding a large capacity laptop drive was much harder than expected. It turns out that the largest 2.5” internal drive I could find at Fry’s or Best Buy were relatively small and old 160GB models. Knowing that 500GB models are already available on the web, I was quite disappointed. The store clerk told me that there wasn’t much demand for such drives. I find it hard to believe. I finally bought an external 320GB 2.5” drive. The enclosure now holds my old disk and this made it easy to transfer the data to my new disk. If you do the same, just make sure the disk is a SATA drive. Good luck!