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Upgrading toSSD

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April 22, 2010 6:21:48 AM

That's it...i finally feel comfortable making the switch.

I bought my 160gb x25-m g2, and in a couple days im gonna pop it in my rig, and do a fresh install.

Do i need to do anything to prepare? I'm going to be using my old hdd as the data disk.

I've read about some disks requiring your bios to be in ahci mode. Is this just a thing of the past? Also, if i switch to ahci mode, my hdd with all my data on it will be perfectly fine right?

What do i need to do to prepare my configuration for the SSD? I've read a few guide on optimization/tweaking, but are there any must-reads? I've read the anan articles on ssd too.

So in short...what do i need to do to get the drive physically up and running and ready for a windows install? will my hdd be completely safe if i switch to AHCI in the bios (if necessary.)? is there anything im missing?

More about : upgrading tossd

a c 415 G Storage
April 22, 2010 8:29:43 AM

It's best to put your motherboard SATA ports into AHCI mode. AHCI is the "native" mode for drivers to talk to SATA drives, and so it is able to take advantage of some SATA features that aren't supported in IDE mode.

If you switch your system from IDE to AHCI mode it can cause some problems for booting Windows because the system won't have the right drivers loaded. But if you're going to reinstall your system from scratch onto the SSD that won't be an issue - the Windows installation will load the correct drivers. You won't have any problem accessing your data drive.

There really isn't anything special you need to do to install Windows on an SSD. The only advice I'd offer is to make sure that you connect ONLY the SSD to the system when you install Windows. If you don't, Windows will try to create it's recovery partition on another drive, and since it boots via the recovery partition this would mean that you won't be able to boot your system if the other drive fails.
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a b G Storage
April 22, 2010 7:01:43 PM

What OS are you installing? If Win7, then definitely set your controllers to AHCI. WinXP should also be set to AHCI, but may require some extra work to get AHCI drivers loaded during install.

The SSD should behave like any hard drive during install. It's after installation that you'll need to change a few things to get the most out of the SSD.

Windows 7 will detect the SSD and will enable TRIM and disable defrag automatically. For Windows XP TRIM is not an option and you must manually disable defrag.

Some other tweaks people recommend after Windows install:

Disable page file if you have sufficient RAM.
Disable indexing
Disable write caching
Disable superfetch

Here's a good read on what tweaks you should consider and why you should/shouldn't implement them:

http://www.mydellmini.com/forum/windows-7/2441-windows-...
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a c 415 G Storage
April 23, 2010 3:14:33 AM

Ah, rwpritchett has a good point. I assumed the OS you are planning to install is Windows 7, and my comments about "no worries" apply to it. If you're installing Vista or Windows XP, then you're not going to get all the benefits and you should look into some of the tweaks he's mentioned.
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April 23, 2010 10:17:53 PM

It's windows 7. I'm now confident in my OS install, but since im turning my current boot hdd into a data disk, i want to make sure i can technically just boot....delete the windows folder, and keep goin. if i understand correctly, switching to AHCI will only fuss at me if i try to boot from it, correct? my data should be fine?
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April 23, 2010 10:19:04 PM

I was scanning through that guide, and saw them recommending disabling write cache. I've also read an anandtech article that said this can improve performance.
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a c 99 G Storage
April 24, 2010 1:19:26 AM

Since you are installing "THE BOMB" of SSD's (the Intel X25-M 160GB), you should be okay with just installing Windows 7 on it, at letting everything be. :bounce: 

The TRIM feature of the SSD drivers will take care of alot of "garbage" for you. And trim is part of the Windows 7 install (or if will be after a Windows Update download).

There is alot of information out there on how to "tweak" the OS to optimize a SSD, but without them, you'll still be okay! Wndows 7 has evolved to support SSDs, with only a few thngs you need to check.

The one thing I would check after install is "Disk Defrag," to see if WIndows turned it off, but only for the SSD. On my install it didn't, so when I did the "tweak" to turn oit off, it totally disabled the feature, so I couldn't run it on my other drives. But that may be due to my rigs set up.

BUT BEFORE INSTALLING, make note of the suggestion to partion the drive (as part of WIndows 7 install), and leave 15-20% unused. On your 160GB drive, Windows will partition 100MB (yes, that's 1/10th of a GB) for the "System Reserve" files (leave it be). Then I would partion only 128GB (that's 80%) for the Windows partition. Yes, that leaves 32 GB unused, and unallocated, but it's worth it. :D 

Even my Windows 7, full loaded, applications and program files, only takes up 46GB of my 80GB SSD.

And, only load the OS and Programs to the SSD. Leave commonly re-written files (like worksheets, music, etc) on your second "Media" drive. Move your "Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Video" folders from the "User" folder to the root of the second drive. You can even move "Contacts, and Favorites" and other folders in the User folder there if you like.

Best to you. SSD's rock! The install (Windows only) only took me 20 minutes, and my system boots up in less than 10 seconds. Once I log in, Windows is up immediately! :hello: 
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a c 415 G Storage
April 24, 2010 3:28:31 AM

One thing you should to is to check that the latest firmware is installed. If you have old stock then you may have the older firmware that doesn't support TRIM. Look for a firmware version that ends in "02HD" or later.
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a c 99 G Storage
April 24, 2010 4:59:25 AM

True that! I did that first. ;) 

Download the latest firmware from Intel, and folow the instruction in "read me."

Quite simple: update firmware, install OS, rock-n-roll!
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