How should the HDD kill your laser?
The laser only die, if it is accesed, which it is not on HD-Access.
Install Free McBoot a.k.a. "FMCB" with the standard-apps HDLOADER and ESR and you´re fine.
For your purpose, it seems to be more than enough.
If you don´t mind, if PS1-Game-Backups/Imports work, or not and if PS2-CD-Games need to be converted to DVD (not many), then you´re fine.
You can play from HD and you also can load burned&(ESR-)patched PS2-Games.
Look at the FMCB-Nooby-Tutorial.
About your Question "if so what do you use a chipped ps2 or HDD? =P".
I personally use both.
PS2 with Chip, patched HDL on MC and FMCB on MC.
Thought you don´t need a chip, if you do not plan excessive playing anymore,...
PS2 V7/DMS3 V2 (FW:2.4b7); Seagate Baracuda 200GB
PS2 V7/CC1.0 (FW:34 hacked v2 BM:2.1.6); Maxtor DiamondMAX9 PLUS 160GB
PS2 SCPH-30004R; NoMod+NoLaser
3xSony MC 8MB
MAX/Datel 16MB with Boot-CD
Custom FMCB 1.8b+ Beta-Build, my AIO 0.5, Sony&xRhino-Linux