Top positive review
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Fantastic performance, install needs care
on 24 March 2012
I used this kit to upgrade the hard drive on a Dell laptop running Windows 7 64-bit. What you get is an SSD drive (with a spacer as it is thinner than a standard laptop drive), a USB adaptor that lets you connect it as an external drive for data migration, Norton Ghost, a further utility CD, and a short user manual.
The packaging is great, but the bundle lacks a clear step-by-step guide so it can be confusing. Physically replacing the drive in a laptop is usually pretty easy if you have the right small screwdriver, but migrating the operating system takes some care. This is why Samsung supplies Norton Ghost; but it is overkill for the task and installs stuff that you may not need. I would prefer a more lightweight utility, or even to use the backup and restore that is built into Windows 7, but for this review I used Ghost as supplied.
If you do this, I recommend that you read the document called NortonGhost_Data_Migration_User_Manual_(English).pdf which is in the MagicianSoftware folder on the Samsung Magician CD. The main issue is that Windows 7 creates a hidden system partition which you need to copy to the SSD *first*, otherwise Windows 7 will not boot.
You need to install Ghost first of course, which I found slow and difficult. The install flashed several command prompts at me and then seemed to hang. I waited ages, then gave up and rebooted. The install actually seemed to have worked, but I did a further Repair Install just to be on the safe side. Annoying.
I then attached the drive using the USB cable and copied the partitions, which took around 2 hours for my 100GB of data.
Note: this SSD is 128GB and probably smaller than your current laptop drive. You must ensure that your data is small enough to fit before attempting the migration. Note that Samsung also do a 256GB model if you think the task is hopeless.
Once the copy completed, I swapped the drives. I needed the supplied spacer, but otherwise this was straightforward. Windows complained a bit when I started for the first time with the SSD drive, but after a restart all was well.
When the SSD is up and running, it is a good idea to install the Samsung Magician utility on the other CD. This has a tool to configure Windows optimally for SSD. The issue is that SSD drives may wear if they suffer constant intensive data writes, so the tweaks are designed to reduce disk activity.
I did a before and after test of disk performance. Wow. Here are the results from PassMark, comparing the old 7200 RPM HD to the new SSD Drive:
Disk Mark 234.7 improved to 2186.9
Sequential Read 31.4 improved to 241.2
Sequential Write 31.2 improved to 205.4
Random Seek + RW 2.31 improved to 158.2
Another test showed the disk speed improving from 3.7 MB/Sec to 34.8 MB/Sec.
These are amazing figures, and the result is a laptop that is significantly faster. It boots quickly, applications load fast, and everything is snappier. Well worth it.
You could also use the drive in a desktop PC, but will need a 2.5" to 3.5" adaptor bracket to fit it; Samsung do an alternative kit that has this included. It supports both Windows and Mac. Windows 7 is recommended since earlier versions of Windows do not have proper support for SSD. Your BIOS should be set to AHCI or RAID. On a Mac you need OS 10.5 Leopard or higher. The drive is a 6GB/s SATA drive and you should get even better performance than I got when fitted to a modern PC with 6GB/s ports. Finally, this drive comes with a 3 year warranty "for desktop and laptop PC usage only".