To everyone who has this unit that does not behave properly, it is most likely due to a failing DVD-RAM optical drive and not necessarily the hard drive. After exhaustive research with this unit, both on forums and Toshiba's website/tech support, as well as in our shop, the DVD-RAM overheats and the IC chips fail. We opened the drive and ran it through its paces. Just being on and empty or not spinning a disc, the laser stays on all the time and generates too much heat.
We have found the appropriate substitute drive, to include the use of RAM discs (TYPE II, non-cartridge), to be the LG GSA-H10L - made by Hitachi/LG (Zenith). The installation of this drive, excluding the bezel and tray cover, is an exact fit as well. The drive needs no firmware update from LG. You can purchase this drive for 1/2 price at Best Buy this week only (7/17/06) for $55.00! Faster disc loading and burning are noticeable. Dubbing and rate conversion to/from RAM work flawlessly.
It is important to note that you must replace the drive with a DVD-RAM drive. Hewlett-Packard Lightscribe drives will also work if the model is higher than DVD-740 and are a Super Multi Drive with RAM option. HP is made by Hitachi/LG - we verified this several ways.
We recommend adding a second chassis fan with low-profile heat sinks that stick on to the hard drive as well. We have put together a professional upgrade kit manual in English and French with color photos. It also comes with a template/jig to drill out the correct holes for the fan. Our kit ($24.95) includes both BIOS update discs direct from Toshiba 13xx and 14xx. You will want to update the BIOS before replacing the drive.
The hard drives are typically standard E-IDE Maxtor Diamond Max units and larger ones than 80GB can go in to it.
These modifications are rather straight-forward, but for those that would like the unit professionally upgraded and rebuilt, we will do it in our service shop for $50 labor, plus our exact hardware costs (no markup) - you get to choose - and S/H back to you.
For any of you that have discs that need to be finalized, we will do it for free. Just pay for the postage to return. Anyone wanting to sell used units not working properly, we would like to buy them.
Our kits are listed on eBay currently, but you can buy them direct usinig PayPal as well.
Magna Video Business Solutions