178 of 182 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2011
Size Name: 256 GBVerified Purchase
This is my very first Solid State Drive (SSD) purchase, which I put into my late 2008 unibody 15-inch Macbook Pro (MBP) 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4 GB of RAM. I was initially going to purchase a new laptop as my MBP seemed to be running a bit slower and hung up here and there when I had many applications running. In particular, I experienced considerable slowness and lag after I would finish using my VirtualBox (free virtualization software) to access Windows XP whenever I needed to use Internet Explorer.
My main reason for choosing the Samsung 830 SSD over others, was due to the fact that Samsung makes all the components in this SSD and that Apple themselves currently use Samsung and Toshiba as suppliers for SSD - and we all know how serious Apple is about their quality control and selection of vendors/suppliers they use. In addition, I had read good reviews from online sources such as AnandTech.
I wanted something that was reliable and was easy to set up. In addition, this SSD does not need a separate enclosure as the device itself is enclosed and it comes with the SATA/USB connection cable.
For all of you out there with a Macbook thinking about upgrading, I would highly recommend this. I read through tons of websites and how to's and wanted to share the steps I took below in swapping out my hard drive for the SSD, for those of you out there thinking about upgrading their MBP with a SSD in simple steps. See below (bear in mind that depending on the model and year of your MBP, it maybe easy or more difficult to access your hard drive vs mine)
All I had to do to replace my hard drive with this SSD (for my Macbook Pro) was to:
1) Download Carbon Copy Cloner (free, find it using google)
2) Open the Carbon Copy Cloner application
3) Insert the SATA connection (the SATA/USB connection is included in the box) into the Samsung 830 SSD, and plug in the USB connector into my MBP -> use Disk Utility to format the SSD (do your partitions once it's been formatted if you want)
4) Then using Carbon Copy Cloner -> clone my current hard drive into the Samsung 830 SSD (took me about 2 hours or less to copy over 140GB worth of data)
5) Test the Samsung 830 SSD by booting up through the external Samsung 830 SSD, by restarting the MBP, then holding onto the Option key before the gray screen appears, then boot it up
6) Once external booting through the external SSD is successful, shut down the MBP, open and swap out the hard drive with the SSD (make sure you have the necessary tools to open and access your hard drive in your MBP)
7) Power up your new MBP and enjoy your new and fast Samsung 830 SSD
*After I had cloned my hard drive to my new Samsung 830 SSD, it took me a whole 15-20 minutes to swap out the hard drive and I'm now using my MBP to type this review. I read some PC users installing their SSD's taking ages, reinstalling software and operating systems. This is the easiest and simplest solution for me (thanks to Carbon Copy Cloner as it copies everything including the operating system) and allows me to get back to work on my MBP with little to no down time and no hassles with reinstalling anything* Just in case people were wondering, this was my first time swapping out any hard drive, so I have little experience with computer components, yet it was super easy for me to do.
I'm currently running my new SSD with no issues and enjoying the speed that comes with having a SSD vs the traditional hard drive. I'm glad I chose Samsung. As I use my MBP primarily for work, I need the reliability and do not want the hassle of having my SSD returned or having the controller die on me as I read happens on a lot of other SSD's.
Thanks for reading my very first review/post on amazon and enjoy everyone, hope it will help some of you Mac users out there : )
74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2012
Size Name: 512 GB
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.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2012
Size Name: 256 GB
This SSD rocks! I dropped the 256GB version into my 2009, Sata Rev. 2, 3Gb/s, Vaio Z790 Notebook (*See Pics) without a single issue, loaded Windows 7 x 64-bit onto it and was up and running in about 15 minutes! The Samsung Magician software "tunes" your SSD by telling you what you should disable when you run it and will do it for you with a single click. After a performance optimization check, you're good to go. You can also leave everything running 'as is' and manage settings on your own if you please as well. Firmware updates can be done right on your desktop without having to use any bootloaders either like the 470 series does but the boot method does still exist as an option.
Even though I have a Sata Rev. 2, 3Gb/s board, I'm still getting 250-280MB/s Sequential Reads & Writes and my whole system is as snappy as can be. I bought this Sata Rev. 3 drive in case I feel like upgrading my laptop in the future which will then take full advantage of a 6Gb/s board, thus improving large file transfer speeds (roughly 350-550MB/s sequential reads & writes) but in no way am I missing out in real world use until that time comes. Sata Rev. 2 speed is more than sufficient for opening programs and bombing around your machine! Transferring large files to my WD 5400 rpm portable back up drive seemed to take as long as ever so it seems to me that one would need an SSD back up drive to hit those high transfer speeds anyway. That luxury can wait 'til another day! : )
I especially love the instant multi-tasking ability. This is where I think you get the value for your money the most. No more lag and dogging it when running a video and then opening 2 or 3 more more windows and other programs as things come to mind. It used to drive me nuts before playing the waiting game. Now it's just click and bang, it opens and it's there. What's really great is that this kind of performance is achieved on my CPU power saver mode which keeps the fan noise to a minimum. Crazy!
I waited 2 years to get one of these because I wouldn't pay the outrageous $600-$800 price tag on principle alone. But for under $400 with a 3 year warranty, the new Batman Game (a 16GB torrent file download BTW!), Full Norton Ghost (on Disk), a Sata to USB cable and a 2.5mm spacer (drive is 7mm) I went for it. It's still pricey but at least it's a satisfying pricey (to me anyway). If a snappy system is worth it to you, then go for it! This SSD removed my sense of impatience which is exactly what I was hoping for.
Intel & Samsung have the most favourable reliability reviews out there and this being the latest to hit the market, being built entirely in house without any third party components or controllers, the stellar reviews on the 470 series, the 3 year warranty and better price is why I chose the Samsung over the Intel.
A couple of technical things to note is that this SSD apparently uses a 256MB cache for user data that is volatile during a sudden power loss. This doesn't concern me because if my notebook ever became accidentally unplugged my battery would take over and it is always charged. If my battery did ever happen to lose its charge and I lost tomorrow's powerpoint presentation that I was working on it would give a new meaning to back up your work at regular intervals! There have also been concerns about TRIM/ GC not occurring until idle but I have already used 180GB of space that isn't going to change much and there is zero slow down with what I have left. I also ran a background program to see TRIM activity and the Magician GC from the TRIM command starts as SOON as you stop doing something. All I can say is listen to the voice of reason here... this SSD is fassst & good enough!
Finally, FYI, the 3 year warranty at the back of the manual (pdf) is broken down into 3 parts. If something ever went wrong with the SSD, credit would be applied as follows...
Within One year 100%
Within Two years 75%
Within Three years 50%
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2012
Size Name: 128 GBVerified Purchase
cloning this thing wasn't as easy as I had hoped, but after some engineering, I got it to work.
I had a Samsung RF711 laptop with a 750GB old-school drive (only using 50GB). I purchased the 128GB SSD to replace it.
Ghost didn't seem up to the task. Ghost was great at copying the core partition, but it has trouble copying the system partition that appears to be necessary for booting.
Here's what I tried (that failed)
I attached the disk using the USB connector.
I booted up
I attempted to use Ghost. . .but it didn't see the drive.
After some research, I figured out that you need to go to START | RIGHT CLICK ON COMPUTER | CLICK MANAGE
Go into the storage / disk manager and assign a letter to the drive.
When you go back into Ghost, you'll see the drive.
I used the COPY DRIVE option to copy the C drive from my 750GB drive to my new drive I chose the option to copy the MBR and to re-assign the drive letters (thinking it would boot up just fine).
I got the "Successfuly Complete" thinking everything was about to go real smoothly.
I swapped the drive. . . .only to get "no bootmgr" or something like that.
I wound up putting the old drive back in, and attaching this as a USB drive (again) to begin my 8 hours... of heartache
I saw some other posts about doing some tricks to get Ghost to copy the system partition. I got this to work, but still ran into the "No bootmgr" error.
I downloaded EaseUS to do a sector=by-sector disk-copy. That got me to a point where it would start to load windows ... then I got the blue screen of death. So I put my original drive back in and started on some more research.
Unfortuantely for me, I started having all kinds of other problems with the new drive. I couldn't get it to appear in Ghost at all (no matter what I did).
At this point, I was starting to feel a little desparate. After some more research, I found another utility (Macrium) that worked fantastic. It was free and I copied the system and C particion without any problem. I swapped the drive . . . and low and behold. . it WORKED!
It was still a little slow. . . and then I realized that the "Samsung Service Magician" software (that came with the drive) has utilities for tuning the drive. I ran through that and optimized the drive. . .optimized the OS. . .and everything is wonderful.
So. . here's what I learned.
1) Norton Ghoast is a worthless piece of garbage and I wasted a solid 6 hours trying to get it to do what I wanted it to do only to conclude that it's worthless.
2) The Samsung documentation is completely worthless. In fact, I couldn't even get the "Data Migration" guides to load properly. I'm willing to bet that that guide would have really helped me. I couldn't even find the guide on the Samsung website. that would have been really nice to have.
3) The drive itself is fantastic. Blazing fast. Despite the heartache, I'm very pleased, overall.
4) Macrium saved the day. Just search for it. . .. use it to copy the system and primary partitions . . . and be happy.
I can't believe Samsung partnered with such a worthless utility as Norton Ghost. Don't even use it. Macrium appears to do everything Ghost does. . . but it actually works. . . the first time. . . without any engineering.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2011
Size Name: 128 GBVerified Purchase
Noticeable improvement over stock 5400RPM drive in my Samsung Series 3. Combined with an i5, this thing makes laptops seem like viable desktop replacements in terms of speed. Comes with Norton Ghost 15 (free licensed software is always good, no matter what you think of Ghost) and the latest Batman game, which retails for $50 ATM. No problems with physical installation and a fresh install of Win7. This review might be useful for those trying to decide:
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2012
Size Name: 256 GBVerified Purchase
I have now bought 4 SSD's within the last year. The first drive was an Intel 510 (256 Mb), a Crucial M4 and now two of the samsung 820's. Compared to the Intel drive, the packaging, instalation instructions were comparable. The data migration tools for the Intel drive was superior, in that it did everything automatically, resized partitions and copied the drive with pretty much one click. The data migration tools for the Samsung (as other reviewers have mentioned) are horrible. The version of Norton Ghost that comes with the drive is a 30-day "trial" version. This in and of itself is not a problem, though when you get into the "drive copy" section of the instructions, you discover that the "drive copy" function is disabled in the trial version, requiring a further purchase.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2012
Size Name: 128 GB
This device WILL NOT be recognized by the Samsung Magician software if connected to a USB port using JMicron drivers.
Also, after fresh install with Windows 8, read and wright speeds are less than half of those published. Test made using the Samsung Magician software.
In addition, the Norton Ghost activation number is NOT included in the package, so as delivered, the Ghost software will NOT function to clone your current drive to the new SSD. I was transferred 3 times by Samsung people until I got routed back to the initial voice prompts.
So I have a new drive I can't use until at least Monday... when the SSD help line opens... if I can get to the right people.
The Norton Ghost activation number should be INCLUDED.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2012
Size Name: 512 GBVerified Purchase
After reading the reviews here (and having a bit of jealousy over my wife's brand new MacBook Air that I got her for her birthday), I decided to purchase a Samsung SSD for my still-great Asus UL 30A laptop, since it gets about 10 hrs of typical use battery life for me, rather than get a new MacBook myself with about half that. I actually purchased the Samsung 512gb here from an Amazon Seller listing it "Used - as new" for $411. Came in two days on Prime, and looked possibly like an open box return -- clearly was not "used." Anyway, after reading the reviews here carefully, and generally being no big fan of Norton products in general, I took one reviewer's recommendation and downloaded Macrium Reflect, which is freeware (highly recommended).
Installation Steps: First, the SSD comes with a Norton Ghost Instruction manual. The most important thing in there was the preliminary step that you "initialize" the SSD before cloning your hard drive. Very easy to do, and the instructions were in the Ghost manual. First attach the SSD via the SATA to USB cable. Then Search for Computer Management in the Start Menu search box, click on disk management, click on the unknown drive and initialize it. Simple. Next, leaving the SSD attached via the cable, I fired up Macrium and had it clone the hard drive which had a recovery partition, an OS partition and a data partition. Basically a one click process and very simple. Over a USB 2.0, it took 4 hours to clone the hard drive, with about 200gb of data on it.
When it was finished, I disconnected the cable, powered the laptop off, installed the SSD, which was a snap -- just 4 screws in a metal bracket and 3 crews to take the cover off the laptop. Powered the laptop, it recognized the new drive, ran the SSD Magician to optimize the OS, and also optimized performance, and that was it. Although even with the Core Duo, the 2009 Asus was plenty fast for my needs, it is now really fast. Everything opens without any delay. All programs work great, and I still have MacBook envy, but a little less, because my battery life is going to be even better with the SSD! I highly recommend this product. The finish is great, it looks like a quality product, and if you want a performance boost, there it is. SSD is the way to go.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2012
Size Name: 256 GBVerified Purchase
I *love* this thing. My trusty black Macbook (late 2007 2.2Ghz core 2 duo 6GB) was starting to show it's age, but the 830 drive and a clean OSX Lion install makes it fly! I'm not sure it's clear from the description, but there is a 2.5" SATA-to-USB holster & cable that makes things especially painless to copy. I recommend Carbon Copy Cloner - my (nearly full) 128GB old drive copied over in a little under an hour.
Search the usual Apple forums for the pros and cons of trim support under Lion and the details of how to enable/disable it, but beware that one of the popular apps works by replacing existing core libraries with older versions of drivers which are known to cause stability problems.
Google "Grant Pannell trim enabler" for an excellent howto on enabling trim support for Lion and Mountain Lion. Grant's script is derived from one originally on Insanely Mac, and is easy to to revert. The only caveat is that it must be reapplied after major updates (10.7.1, 10.7.2, etc.).
I haven't bothered to benchmark, because on my 5 year old MacBook, Lion now starts up and shuts down in less than 30 seconds, and I pretty much never get the spinning beach ball any more, even with reasonable load.
All I can say is Wow!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2012
Size Name: 256 GBVerified Purchase
This SSD is great...boot times are faster, apps load immediately, and multiple open apps do not impact my notebook's (Lenovo X220 with Windows 7) performance like they did with my old HDD. The drive was very simple to install: Loosened one screw to remove the drive cover on the machine, pulled out the HDD, nudged the new SSD into the hard drive slot, replaced the cover and voila! The x220 recognized the new drive, and booted up with no problems.
So why not 5 stars? The Norton Ghost cloning software that came with this "laptop kit" was not able to detect the new drive, even after repeated attempts. I browsed the net and found that others have experienced the same problem. To get around this challenge, I simply downloaded a free version of Macrium Reflect, which was able to detect the new drive and successfully clone my OS and data to the new SSD.
You can save a few bucks by ordering the SSD without the laptop kit/Norton Ghost, and using the free Macrium cloning software. Samsung recommends that you perform a clean install of your OS. I did not do that...I simply cloned my old HDD, and the Samsung SSD is performing extremely well. The Magician software that came with it does a nice job of optimizing the drive and tuning PC services to be compatible with an SSD. I will do a clean OS install when Windows 8 is available later this year.