Saturday, February 03, 2007

Upgrading a 4GB iPod Mini to 8GB

I've been watching the DealRAM prices for 8GB Compact Flash modules. My intent has been to upgrade my wife's 4GB Pink iPod Mini which has sentimental value to me (in addition to having what I consider the perfect form for music playing). Well, the price of a solid state Transcend 8GB 120x speed compact module (model # TS8GCF120) just dipped to $100 at one of my favorite vendors:, and it became time to pull the trigger. (It's actually become cheaper since I bought mine.)

There are plenty of instructions on the Web for surgically replacing an iPod's hard drive. I went with this instructional video. The only difference was the thinner form of the compact flash module. Also, I had to determine which way to plug the old drive's cable into the CF module. The trick is to look at the rail guides on the sides of the old MicroDrive, compare them with the rail guides on the CF module and plug the cable in maintaining orientation. Also, I reused the blue rubber bumper from the old drive to keep the new module from rattling around. I also took the opportunity to install a new battery.

As for performance, it seems to be working fine. It filled up with 6GB of data over FireWire in a reasonable amount of time (sorry, didn't time it, maybe 20 minutes). It just has a lot more space.

[post was updated for minor fact correction]

[Update: The upgraded iPod has been working fine for 10 months. Today, I installed a 2nd card, a Transcend TS8GCF133, into my own 6GB Silver iPod Mini. The original Microdrive failed and it was either upgrading or trashing. Seems to work just fine.]