Having been in the market for an SSD for some time, after seeing a drastic increase in the CAD/CG workload my PC, the Samsung 830 came calling. The Samsung 830 SSD is the successor to the older 470 series, and this version offers SATA 6Gbps connectivity, as well as improved read and write speeds. It is an attempt for Samsung to gain a foothold in the increasingly fragmented SSD consumer market, with the likes of Intel, Crucial, OCZ and Corsair offering attractive alternatives, but Sandforce is a point of contention.
The key factor for the Samsung 830 is the fact that everything is built in-house -- no third-party drivers, ropey controllers, and so on. Combined with an attractive warranty and customer service, there is no contest.
There has been a fairly intense price war over the Samsung 830, with Amazon and a host of other e-tailers repeatedly slashing the price of the Samsung 830 in recent times. Thus, after seeing the 256GB Notebook accessory kit version on Amazon come down to £146 (cheaper than even the basic models), a mere 57p per GB, my mind had been made up pretty quick.
In the fairly svelte package, you receive a SATA to USB cable, Norton Ghost, a Samsung driver CD, and the usual plethora of manuals and warranty cards. The SSD itself is quite attractive, with a faux aluminum brushed finish, and the Samsung logo planted neatly in the middle. In anticipation of installing the SSD, it was important to back up data, and other important files beforehand onto an external hard drive.
To get the best out of any SSD, a complete reinstallation of Windows is always the best method, and this ensures that Windows detects the component as an SSD and turns off any unneeded features. After splitting the drive into two partitions; C: Windows, and E: Programs, installing Windows itself was very quick, and after a couple of hours of installing my crucial CAD and 3D rendering programs, the computer was setup at a basic stage. It was then I could restore my data onto my secondary Samsung 500GB harddrive.
At this point, you would get the usual "it is so quick!!" comment, and this is true. The obligatory comment about the Windows boot-up time takes only around 15 seconds from pressing the button to an idle cursor on the desktop. You really notice the difference when it comes to loading programs such as 3dsMax, Vectorworks and a lot more. The general performance of my PC was very good beforehand, but an SSD has taken it to another level, even for gaming.
The Samsung SSD Magician that comes with the package is very useful -- the program can turn off unneeded Windows features, run performance benchmarks, and offer regular cleaning of temp files that can decrease performance. After nearly two weeks of use, I have seen no degradation in performance -- the SSD read speed comes in at 518MB/s, while the write speed comes in at 386MB/s, not too far off from the manufacturer's estimations.
The Windows Experience Index scores the SSD at the maximum 7.9, and my PC overall is at 7.8.
Whether you are looking for an SSD for an increase in productivity, or for a general increase in performance, you can't go wrong with the Samsung 830 SSD.
Turn off Prefetch, disable Hibernation, keep Superfetch on and move the Pagefile to another harddrive, and you are good to go. In fact, I am tempted to buy another to use as a scratch drive.
Just to be clear -- you can buy any version of the Samsung 830 -- laptop, desktop, basic -- all that is different are the accessories. Therefore, just go for the cheapest option for your gigabyte range.
I ordered this product with express delivery, but after 3 days it still hadn't arrived. I contacted the seller to ask "where's my stuff" and they were very responsive. It turned out that it had been lost in transit and they sent me a new one that arrived the next day and refunded my express delivery payment. Great customer service!
The reason that I went for this SSD drive is because it had good reviews and it came with Norton Ghost (and the cable to plug the new SSD drive into a USB port); I expected to be able to use Norton to easily copy all the stuff from my old hard disk to the new SSD drive (including the recovery partition) with the expectation that I could just swap the drives over after the old drive had been copied and everything would work.
Once I was happy that this procedure was fairly painless, I intended to buy a second SSD drive for my other laptop. However, due to the delay in shipping, I eventually went to PC world and brought a slightly more expensive but smaller SSD (half the size) along with a cable and a case (the cable and case cost about £9) that allowed me to plug the SSD into a USB port.
I downloaded Macrium Reflect (which is freeware) to copy the old disk to the new SSD. It couldn't have been easier to use. The old disk was 500GB (of which about 80GB was in use); the new SSD was 128GB. Once I fired up Macrium Reflect, I just selected the "clone disk" option and it created the same partitions that existed on my old disk and copied all of the data to the new SSD. It took about an hour to do the copy.
I then took the old drive out of my laptop (a brand new Sony Vaio netbook) and went to plug the SSD in it's place - but for a minute, I had the shock of realising that the connection from the old drive into the laptop and the new SSD were very different. It took a minute before I realised that there was an additional "connector" plugged into the old drive that made it compatible with the laptop. I had to pull that connector off and plug it into the SSD before I could connect it to the laptop. I plugged the new SSD in and fired the laptop up. It worked perfectly - and booted up in a fraction of the time that it took before (and just like all the other reviews say - when you start up Microsoft Word, it starts instantly!)
The next day, the SSD I ordered arrived. I went through the same procedure, but this time I used Norton Ghost to copy the drive. What a freeking nightmare! Norton Ghost is far more comprehensive than the Macrium Reflect freeware and because of that, it was really difficult to work out which options I needed to choose to clone the old disk. Norton Ghost is actually quite worth having because it doesn't just clone disks, but also has some cool scheduled backup capabilities built in; but for cloning disks (of different sizes) it's not much fun. I spent a while looking at the "help" to work out which options I wanted. After 2 hours of cloning, I put the new SSD into the laptop but if failed to boot ("operation system not found" - even though I thought I'd selected all of the right options for making the SSD bootable). I swapped the drives back again and used "Partition Magic" (also freeware) to look at the SSD to see what was on there. Norton had created the partitions, but only the main partition (the C:\ drive) had any content. The recovery partition had been created but was empty. The disk appeared to be bootable, but obviously wasn't.
I tried again, but this time using Macrium Reflect to clone the disk (again it took a couple of hours, because this disk had more stuff on it than the new netbook) and (surprise surprise) it worked perfectly (including the recovery partition).
- Good supplier with great customer service. - If you plan to use the old hard disk to backup the new SSD, go to PC world and spend £9 on a case for the old drive instead of just having it hanging off a cable. - Norton Ghost is great for backing up the new SSD to the old drive on a scheduled basis, but if you want an easy life (i.e. you don't want to wait 2 hours for the clone to finish only to find out that you've somehow selected the wrong options) then just use Macrium Reflect to clone your old drive. - If the connection from your old drive to your computer and the new SSD are different, it's probably because there is an additional connector plugged into the old drive.
When the price of the 256Gb Samsung Sata III 830 at 6Gbps came down to less than £1/Gb (the price including usb-sata adaptor cable and Norton Ghost 15), I decided to buy it; and what a good decision that was. My Samsung laptop, with its 630Gb, 5400 rpm hdd, has been transformed by the amazing speed of the 256Gb ssd that replaced it.
I'm not a pc expert, but I managed to clone the old hdd onto the ssd using Ghost 15 without problems. Most, but not all, of what I had to do is contained in the procedure that's included on the Norton Ghost disk. However, there are several things that aren't, so here's a brief description of all that I had to do:
Because the size of the c: drive partition on my hdd was greater than the whole of the 256Gb size of the ssd, I first had to reduce the size of the c: drive partition on the hdd to less than 256Gb. So I started by defragging the c: drive on the existing hdd, following which I reduced the partition to approx 200Gb using the freely available Easeus Partition software that was already installed on the c: drive. This would leave about 50Gb for later creation of a d: drive on the ssd. Next, I backed up all the documents and data files on the d: drive partition of the hdd to an external disk drive for later copying to the d: drive partition of the ssd.
I then connected the ssd to the usb port of the laptop using the sata-usb adaptor cable and initialised the ssd by entering Control Panel - Administrative Tools - Computer Management - Storage - Disk Management. I selected `MBR' and finally `Initialize Disk'.
Next, I installed Norton Ghost on the laptop, started Norton Ghost, and selected Tools - Copy My Hard Disk. Make sure that the `Show Hidden Drives' box is ticked, because the hidden system partition on the hdd needs to be copied too. I then proceded to copy each of the existing hdd partitions in turn to the unallocated space on the ssd.
My 630 Gb hdd had four partitions; a manufacturer's recovery partition, a system (boot) partition, the c: drive (containing Windows and programs) partition and a d: drive (containing documents and data) partition. The Norton Ghost manual says that you cannot clone the recovery partition, but I found that you can copy it to the ssd and allocate a drive letter to it, but I ended up not doing this.
Instead, the first partition I copied to the ssd is the small system partition - you must copy this partition first, if it exists (I am using Windows 7. I believe that on Windows XP, the system partition may not exist, in which case the first partition you copy is the c: drive). When copying each partition, select the destination drive as the unallocated space on drive 2, the ssd.
When copying the system partition, check the two boxes `Set the Drive Active' and `Copy MBR'. Select `Primary Partition' and select `Drive Letter' as `none'. (If no system partition is visible and the c: drive partition is the first drive to be copied, repeat the options as described above for the system partition, but leave the `Drive Letter' as is displayed by Norton Ghost, e.g. `F' - this will be changed to `C' when the new ssd is finally booted.)
Next, select the second partition to be copied. If the first was the system partition, then the second will be the c: drive. This time, do not check the boxes `Set the Drive Active' and `Copy MBR', but do select `Primary Partition' and do leave the `Drive Letter' as any that is suggested by Norton Ghost.
After copying the system and c: drive partitions, I removed the power supply and battery from the laptop and then removed the hdd from the laptop. This is where I learned a few things. Firstly, the hdd was installed inside a caddy, secured by four screws. I removed the hdd from the caddy, put the ssd in the caddy and secured it with the screws. Next, the hdd had a removable contacts adaptor that fits over the contacts of the hdd. This connects the contacts of the hdd to the contacts of the fixed portion of the laptop. This removable adaptor needs to be taken off the hdd and put on the ssd. It is not easy to see which is the fixed part and which is the removable part of the hdd contacts assembly, but by comparing the hdd with the contacts adaptor installed on it, and the ssd without the contacts adaptor installed on it, you can identify the removable part. So, having transferred the contacts adaptor to the ssd, I fixed the ssd into the laptop and put the laptop cover back on. I reinstalled the battery and power supply, and switched on!
Everything booted fine. All that was then necessary was to create the d: partition in the 50Gb of unallocated space on the ssd, which I did using the Eeseus Partition program that was now on the c: drive of the ssd, and to copy all the backed up documents and data from the external disk drive onto the d: drive of the ssd.
You don't need to be an expert to do all this - and the results are truly amazing.Read more ›