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Adding an SSD to my Desktop


RichardKR

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RichardKR

Hi all. I've been staring at my huge tower and have decided it needs some TLC. First I'm removing the card reader that filled the old Floppy space as it won't read >2gb cards. 2 screws and a plug and poof! gone. In it's place I'm putting a 10 port USB thingy and getting rid of the one sitting on the case with only 5 ports. Anybody want it? I'll send it to ya'. Then while the slabs of sheet metal are off I'll put in the Intel network card that's been on the shelf for 6 months. I'm currently using the MB's wireless, but that's not ideal. Don't know why the MB's Ethernet connector failed. So after these "Massive" updates I got to thinking that while the case is opened, maybe I should replace the C: drive with an nice SSD, maybe 128GB. But after kinda reading stuff about them, I think I'd better as this question:

What do I need to know to add a SSD to my Win7pro, Intel dual core machine? Can I image the stuff on my current C: drive to it like it was a regular disk drive? Any settings I should change in BIOS? Windows? I can't seem to find a handy spot that covers these things, is there a site that would give advice that an oldy but moldy like me can understand?

 

Hope all of you folks are doing fine and let me know about the usb hub.

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amenditman

You could replace the C:/ drive with the SSD and use the current spinning HDD as a D:/ drive for file storage, paging space, etc. which really don't need to be on the SSD or are better to keep off of the SSD.

 

With the SSD you want to be sure that you never fill it more than 60%, because of how they work with garbage collection (recovering previously written blocks into a pool for use for new writes) you need to keep plenty of free space or it doesn't work properly.

 

As far as imaging the installed system and moving it to the SSD, there are quite a few steps to optimizing it for use on the new type drive. The very best resource for this process is an article at How-To Geek, How to Migrate Windows 7 to SSD.

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RichardKR

Thanks amenditman! That is what I was looking for. Great site by the way.

I only keep about 60GB on my C: drive, the rest is on the D: and 2 mirrored 1.5 TB drives.

You folks are great.

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ross549

If you are going with an SSD, I would recommend the OCZ Vertex 4 series. They are very fast.

 

Is your motherboard SATA 2 or SATA 3?

 

Adam

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amenditman

Definitely worthwhile. You will see an improvement which is human noticable.

But buy a SATA III capable SSD. Unless you find a SATA II one at a clearance price you won't save much and the SATA III will go into your next build.

I had a SATA II Corsair Force 60, which I roasted, and Corsair replaced it under warranty with a SATA III Force 60 which I expect to last indefinitely (if I don't fry it).

The warranties on them indicates the manufacturer's are betting they will last as long or longer than a HDD.

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goretsky

Hello,

 

Lots of good answers so far, so I'll just add a few things which I didn't see covered already:

 

  1. Today, 2.5" SSDs typically come in two heights, the standard 9.5mm height which has been used by notebooks for a over a decade now, and the slimmer 7mm height which is starting to be used in ultrabooks. There's no difference in specs or price between the two heights, it's just height of the plastic (or metal) enclosure that contains the actual SSD's circuit board. This is less of an issue in a desktop build, but you may wish to with a 7mm high drive, just in case the next place you want to use it is inside an ultrabook.
  2. After you have made your purchase, go to the manufacturer's web site and download the latest firmware updates for your specific model, as it will likely ship with older firmware. Typically, updates are provided in the same fashion as motherboard BIOS updates: Either as an ISO that you download and burn onto a CD or as a utility program that you run from within Windows. Create a boot CD or prepare to run the program when in the SSD arrives. In some instances, the update may erase the contents of the SSD, although that's pretty rare for the current generation or two's worth of SSDs.
  3. Most SSD manufacturers provide a disk cloning program that allows you to copy the contents of your old HDD to the new SSD. This will either be on a CD that comes with the SSD if you buy a "computer upgrade kit," or as a program that you can download from their support web site, usually in the form of a bootable ISO. Microsoft Windows configures some of its default settings a little differently if loaded onto a SSD versus a HDD at install time. Because of this, I normally recommend doing a clean install of Windows to the SSD. Intel and Samsung, however, provide utility programs that make all of these changes ex post facto. Other manufacturers may as well, too.
  4. If you are purchasing a smaller capacity SSD, you may wish to disable hibernation within Windows to reclaim the disk space that the operating system reserves for a hibernation file. This can be done by issuing a "powercfg.exe /h off" command at an elevated Command Prompt (filename: CMD.EXE).

Enjoy your new system upgrade. You will be amazed by the difference it makes.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

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Guest LilBambi

Excellent thoughts all around.

 

I would not have thought that #1 would have been such a big deal but some SSDs really don't fit well within the confines of some laptops. So definitely a good thing to get the smaller one if possible. You can always shim it, but you can't make it smaller. ;)

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ross549

SATA 2. Makes me wonder if it is worthwhile to upgrade to SSD.

 

The main limitation is that SATA 2 is not as quick. You will saturate the SATA 2 bus quicker than with SATA 3.

 

With that being considered, this may be an alternate solution... :)

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227710&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleAdwords&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-_-pla-_-Internal+SSD-_-N82E16820227710&gclid=CKK5vMTDk7kCFZFcQgodInEAWQ

 

Adam

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amenditman

now that is a great avatar, richardkr! hopefully he doesn't sink before finishing his cheeseburger! :D

That would be a tragedy!
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sunrat

Go in to the BIOS and change SATA mode for that drive to AHCI rather than IDE legacy. A new Windows install will configure for that, but it's more tricky, but possible, to change after install. You should get a bit more performance.

I have an OCZ Vertex 2 120GB which has been great for several years, but slower than current models. The Vertex 4 and Vector drives are currently among the best choices. See Tom's Hardware for great comparison tests of many SSDs.

When you see the performance increases, you will wonder why you didn't do it a long time ago! :thumbsup: B)

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goretsky

Hello,

 

An SSD provides a major performance boost to disk I/O even on a SATA-I (SATA Revision 1.0, 1.5Gbit/s or 150Mbyte/s) interface and upgrading a system from a conventional HDD to one shows a marked improvement to system speed. I've done this on both a ThinkPad T43p (circa 2005) and a T61p (circa 2007) and both are now quite usable under Microsoft Windows 7.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

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