This drive is FAST, FAST, FAST there is no way going back to traditional mechanical HDD (Hard Disk Drives).
Read no further, if you want a fast drive that works... THIS IS IT!
Surprisingly easy to set up and to transfer the Win 7 OS (Operating System).
You don't have to be a software expert to do this.
The SSD comes with USB/SATA cable and Norton Ghost 15 for transferring your "old" OS.
Actually, I thought I was in for a major task but it was VERY easy and fast.
Two laptops are now set up with the Samsung 830 Series drives. During this process I learned a couple things (explained below).
DECISIONS BEFORE YOU START
You can either:
1. Ghost the original OS and your installed programs to the new SSD (from the "old" HDD)
2. Or do a clean install of the OS on your new SSD.
You must have a recovery disk(s) (normally made by you when the computer is new) or an original OS disk to perform option 2.
Even an upgrade OS disk will work for a clean install as Microsoft has relaxed their policies (Google: Microsoft Says Windows 7 Install Workaround Is Legal)
Both options were available to me because both of our Samsung laptops came with the FULL version of Win 7 on DVD (very unusual these days - what a delight).
Models: Samsung 17" NP-RF711-S03US (SATA II) and Samsung 15.6" NP700Z5A-S03US (SATA III) now equipped with 256GB and 512GB SSDs respectively.
OPTION 1 - Very Quick
Ghosting is your best choice if the computer and OS is "fresh" out of the box.
It is also preferable if everything is running smoothly and you want to avoid reinstalling all your favorite programs.
You maintain all the drivers, factory software and your own software.
(But you also inherit any problems or bloatware* present on the current system).
*Promotional software you have to pay extra for after a trial period.
OPTION 2 - Takes Longer
A "clean install" is your best choice if your OS has issues or you want to get rid of a lot of bloatware or programs you never use.
Your computer will normally run faster after a clean install.
NOTE: It makes it a lot easier if you download (and Unzip) Drivers and the manufacturers Software from the PC manufactures website before you start the install as you have to load all these after the clean install (or at least the drivers).
Hint: Download them to the C: partition on the HDD "before you do anything else". Then you have easy access after Ghosting - and boy do they install fast!
You just double-click on the Setup.exe (also marked Application) for each driver.
TRANSFERRING THE OPERATING SYSTEM TO THE NEW SSD (Option 1)
The Samsung SSD comes with Norton Ghost and a "custom" User Manual outlining how to transfer your HDD to the new Samsung SSD. This "custom" Manual can be found on the SSD Magician DVD (also included).
Read the "custom" Manual BEFORE you start.
Pay special attention to two important points:
A) You must "initialize" the SSD first. Connect the new SSD with the included cable to a USB port and follow the instructions in the "custom" manual for how to do this (real easy).
B) If your HDD have a 100MB SYSTEM partition you MUST Ghost this partition before any other partitions.
TO MY DISAPPOINTMENT...
GHOST can not transfer the PC manufacturer's recovery partition from the original HDD to the new drive. THIS PARTITION CAN NOT BE COPIED!
This is disappointing especially for laptop users as the F4 option for restoring the system normally presented at boot-up will no longer work.
I have had to recover my old laptop being on the road where F4 saved me (as I don't carry backup disks when I travel).
Anyway, the transfer was easy and after replacing the HDD with the Ghosted SSD everything was just as before EXCEPT THE SPEED. A reboot takes approximately 22 seconds and programs are near instant when you start them. Time wise it seems like a program is already running when you click the icon (except for some very large CAD programs).
Obviously I tried Ghosting the recovery partition anyway, thinking perhaps there was a way - but no - not using Norton Ghost.
Instead while trying different backup and restore schemes I tried EaseUS ToDo Backup Free (a free application for home use). IT DID IT!!!
The recover partition transferred flawlessly using the Clone -> Partition Clone -> Sector by Sector option.
Actually you may be able to use the Clone -> Disk Clone option for the entire drive (NOTE: I have not tried it myself but the option is available)
USING THE "OLD" HDD FOR STORAGE AND BACKUP
My 750GB 5800 RPM HDD was put to use in the 17" laptop as it had two drive bays (one was empty).
The other 750GB 7200 RPM HDD from the 15" laptop was put to use in an ineo I-NA201U-Plus, 2.5-Inch Plus Super Speed USB 3.0 to SATA External Hard Drive Enclosure (Grey)
USB 3.0 drive enclosure. Perfect for storage and backup.
The "old" HDD puts out a bit of heat so I opted for the Ineo enclosure because it is made of aluminum and gets rid of heat better than a plastic enclosure.
RECOVERY AND BACKUP
My preference was to use the native Win 7 backup and restore; however it turned out that the backup file became very large because Win 7 would automatically include OS and OS backup from the "old" HDD as well.
My second choice was the backup feature in Norton Ghost, at least I could select what to backup. However it turned out that it excluded the 64 bit drivers in the backup.
My preference turned out to be the backup and restore using the EaseUS ToDo Backup Free. It has nice clean and easy to understand interface.
The only (minor) hurdle was to download and install a free Microsoft AIK (Automated Installation Kit) application prior in order for make a bootable recovery disk.
I did not find out until late in the game that I could restore the F4 recovery partition thus I did not use the Samsung Recovery/Backup/Restore software that came with the Laptop.
Otherwise I would probably have opted for this option.
SAMSUNG SDD MAGICIAN - SOFTWARE
This DVD comes as part of the Samsung SSD kit. Shortly after you have your SSD installed you MUST optimize your OS for SSD operation. With a few clicks it optimized the settings in Win 7 for SSD.
It is very easy to use as it shows a N on a red background for all items that are not "tuned". All you have to do is put a check mark next to each and click tune - you now see a Y on a green background (it only takes a few seconds compared to trying to figure out how to do it from within Windows).
PHYSICAL INSTALLATION OF THE SSD
The 17" laptop was easy because after removing one Philips screw a section of the bottom cover would slide off exposing the drive bays. The laptop also came with a bracket and the SATA cable for connecting the SSD to the internal adapter.
The 15" Samsung Series 7 laptop was a bit more difficult as the entire bottom cover of the laptop had to be separated from the upper half. I used a 2.4 mm (P00) Philips screw driver and a credit card. You may not have the screw driver but I am sure you have a credit card - if you bought a Solid State Drive :)
- anyway make sure you use a high quality screwdriver* as it will be very difficult to remove a screw with a stripped head (also think about warranty).
After removing ALL the screws from the bottom cover, starting from the back (between the hinges) and working the edge of the credit card all the way around it was possible with a lot of patience and care to separate and remove the bottom cover by sliding/pushing/prying the credit card into the joint between the two parts.
*Caution regarding the Samsung Series 7 laptop.
Insert the screwdriver gently into the Philips head and make sure it fits AND it is seated then apply straight downward pressure while turning counter clock wise.
I am a craftsman and have taken a lot of stuff apart but the Samsung Series 7 laptop screws were somewhat tricky. I tried first with a cheap (new) screwdriver and the slight deformation it made (because of poor fit in one of the screw heads) almost prevented me from using the high "craftsman quality" screwdriver afterwards. Do yourself a favor; purchase a P0, P00, P000 and P1 screwdriver before you start (Sears). These are sold separately as opposed to a kit (I have several kits but none of the screwdrivers are high quality).
NOTE: Your laptop brand may be easy to take apart with "any old screw driver".
UPGRADING AN "OLD" COMPUTER
Any "old" computer (Laptop or Desktop) with SATA II - HDD is likely to experience big improvements with an SSD. A Desktop may be easer than a laptop to "operate on" as you have more physical space and probably an extra drive bay so you can continue using the "old" HDD as a second backup drive.
The key to obtain the speed is to install the OS and your programs on the SSD along with the files you normally work on.
Win 7 has native features built-in to facilitate proper operation of SSDs. You may consider an OS upgrade if you are running XP or Vista (however the "custom" manual also tells you how to do it on an XP machine).
Mac users can use OS X 10.6.8 or later.
If you back up to an external USB drive/HDD etc. you must use the USB 2.0 port if you are doing a RESTORE from the external drive. Because the driver for the USB 3.0 port is not loaded when you boot from a RECOVERY disk (so it/you can not find the external drive if plugged into the USB 3.0 port). You can obviously disregard this detail if you don't have USB 3.0 port(s).
I found it a lot easier to manipulate HDD/SSD partitions using Ease US "Partition Master" (free for home use) - as compared to the native Win 7 Disk Management tool.
You should consider installing at least a 256GB SSD because a new drive has 238.47 GB available. A sensible partition split for the 256GB SSD running Win 7 would be:
- 114 GB C: Partition for the operating system and your other programs (you can do with less)
- 100 GB D: Partition for data storage
- 24 GB unallocated.
NOTE it is IMPORTANT to leave approx 10% of the drive unallocated as this is used for housekeeping (TRIM and Garbage Collection). Making it too small can affect the life of the drive.
- Check with the Manufacturer of your computer if the drive can be replaced without voiding the warranty - I did! .....NOT
- For data security you may want to consider TrueCrypt a free but powerful encryption program. It will allow you to encrypt the most sensitive or all of your data files. It can be set up to unlock automatically when you enter the Windows password and you may not even notice it is there.
- The SSD is only 6.5 mm (0.256") thick and weighs 60 grams (2.12 oz) vs. the HDD 111 grams (3.91 oz)and 9.5 mm (0.374") thick. The SSD came with a spacer (in case you want increase thickness to 9.5 mm)
- The 15" Samsung Series 7 has a power meter showing a power consumption of only 10 to 12 Watts doing normal tasks with full brightness on the screen and the backlit keyboard fully lit. The power consumption increases to 21 Watts when the HDD is connected to the USB 3.0 port.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you chose to install a SSD you will most likely be unhappy working on a HDD machine ever after. The difference is that great!
Personally I think: "Life is too short to use HDDs".
Replacing the HDD with a SDD is not difficult - take your time. YOU CAN DO IT!
I hope my experience can help you along or at least make up your mind.