In order to be a little more productive at work, I decided that it was high time that I switched out my older 500GB mechanical hard drive with an SSD. My old setup was utilizing a Hitatchi 500GB internal hard drive.
Nothing fancy but it had finally gotten to the point where to boot up the laptop it was taking 5 minutes to get to the login screen and then another 5 minutes to get logged in. Not exactly what you need when you already have one thousand fires burning that need put out.
After doing a little research and shopping around I finally settled on the Samsung 840 Series. I have had pretty good luck in the past with Samsung products in the past and the reviews were all pretty good.
I did have a concern about the SSD bricking on me since we have one person in our office that had to go through that experience. So after doing a little more research I settled on the option to do the following:
- Clear off all of my documents etc. etc. off onto an external drive to bring the size of my files down.
- Clone the mechanical hard drive onto the SSD and place the SSD in the laptop drive bay.
- Wipe the mechanical hard drive and reformat.
- Purchase a drive caddy for the optical bay similar to this one 9.5mm IDE Optical Bay Adapter
- Take out the optical drive and replace with the mechanical drive + drive caddy combo to hold my files and backup of SSD
The plan went so-so until I had to clone the old drive over to the new SSD. Yikes! Talk about pulling your hair out. I thought it would be pretty straight forward to do this with a $40 kit I picked up from Best Buy. Basically, hook the drive up with the cable…run their software…and presto! Except that for some unknown reason it would copy over something or another from the MBR and the SSD drive would technically be “semi-cloned” but wouldn’t boot up. Of course, thinking that I had done something wrong, I spent a good number of hours going back and retrying this process and searching on support forums trying to figure out the magic formula.
Ultimately, I decided to use another product. This time I went with Acronis True Image 2013 . Now this was a really great product and super easy to use. So you may see a follow-up review on this in the future. Basically, it did what the special cable/software combo was supposed to do and in the matter of a couple of hours I was finally up and running on the new SSD.
So the bigger question is.. “Was it worth it?” . I hate to get all technical with I/O stats and such so let me make it fairly simple to understand the the performance improvements. Now please remember that this laptop is running Windows 8, Intel Core i5 processor, and has 8GB of memory. So your mileage may vary.
|Boot-up||Log-in||Visual Studio 2012|
|Mechanical||5 min||5 min||1-2 minutes|
|SSD||15 seconds||8 seconds||12 seconds|
Also take note that the difference was not from some kind of cleanup effort or such. I had already tried to do numerous cleanup, defragging, blah blah blah session with the mechanical and it still sucked. So when you look at the chart above and say…Wow! 5 minutes to boot up and 5 minutes to log in… that is literally what it took. I would come in…boot up…go get coffee..come back and start to login…and then walk around the office to talk to people or play a game of chess on my Windows Phone.
I have a LOT of applications/databases/etc. loaded onto this machine so it is a heavy, heavy developer load. I mean I JUST uninstalled SQL Server 2000 and Visual Studio 2003! So don’t label it as an impossibility.
So if you are looking for a way that you can breathe new life into that old laptop you may give this Samsung 840 a try. For under $200.00 it is a pretty good bargain.