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SSD for Dell M6600 Engineering Student

My son will study Mechanical Engineering in the fall. I have gotten him a Dell M6600 Laptop. I understand that he will be using AutoCAD, MathCAD, Solid Works, and other of these types of programs. Dell’s SSDs are too expensive. So I left the Dell 500GB, 7200RPM, Hard Drive in the Laptop.
My question is:
Should I use SSD and if so, 1 or 2 and what size? Should I leave the Dell 500GB, 7200RPM, HD in the system? If SSD is the wrong way to go for engineering, if so what is right way.

The Laptop as shipped is:
Intel® Core™ i7-2820QM (Quad Core 2.30GHz 8M cache) with Turbo BoostTechnology 2.0
Mobile Intel® QM67 chipset
4.0GB, DDR3-1333 SDRAM, 2 DIMM,
NVIDIA Quadro 3000M with 2GB GDDR5
Dell 500GB Hard Drive, 7200RPM
17.3" UltraSharp FHD(1920x1080) Wide View Anti-Glare LED-backlit
8X DVD+/-RW Drive
Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300
Windows® 7 Professional, Media, 64-bit
2 full and 2 half Mini-Card slots

9 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about dell m6600 engineering student
  1. The SSD drive is a nice option, but not required. you may need the space of the HDD more than the speed of the SSD
  2. You are right. Dell's ssds are too expensive! Upgrade to 8gb ram and buy him an ssd for 'Christmas' or something. Recommend an intel 320 at least 120gb but 240gb is sure nice. In a laptop I like the intel's mix of reliability, low power consumption, and relatively (compared to hdds and many ssds) good performance.

    ahhh 1st year engineering. The best 3 years of my life.
  3. I was hoping to get more replies from Engineers. Is a 120GB SSD big enough to load all of the CAD and other engineer programs?
    At this point I think I will add 8 more GB of RAM, leave the 500GB hard disk and add a 2TB USB3 external drive for backup and saving projects.
  4. Autocad is about 600 MB and $5000. He'll use school computers for autocad.

    Try an engineering forum. There are plenty.
  5. Best answer
    Great specs.
    First, as adampower indicated, upgrade the ram to 8 gigs. 2 x 4 modules less than $100.

    2nd. The USB3/esata HD for Backup is a good Idea. Unless he plans on sticking dvd/blu-ray video files; a 1 TB Drive should be OK. Two options: (a) I just bought a 2 ½ inch 1 TB WD HDD (USB 3) for < $100. (b) My normal option for back up is to buy a HDD (Samsung F3) and an enclosure (so I could swap out HDDs) (also about $100).

    3rd Depending on usage (on battery vs tied to AC) a 2nd battery.

    4th The SSD. It will speed up (a) booting system (b) program load times (c) picking a low power one (note some have a power consumption when active almost as much as a HDD) will have a small improvement on battery on time. Would recommend Min size of 120 GB, with either the 500 gig HDD as storage, or the external 1 TB 2 ½ inch HDD I mentioned in (2). I have 3 laptops, all with an SSD – Love them and would not go back to a Mech HDD. THAT SAID, take adampower’s recommendation to heart – wait at least 3 months. Reason: The newer sata III SSDs could be pragmatic and a gamble.

    Sata III SSDs primarily fall into 2 camps: The marvel controller and the Sandforce SF22xx.
    ....The sandforce III has the best performance (ie vertex III) – Before buying read the OCZ forum on shuttering, BSODs and slow down’s associated with this drive. Also look at Newegg’s 1 and 2 egg ratings – It’s terrible. I purchased the Agility III for my Samsung RF711-01 (SB LapTop) – would not even load operating system, Drive works as a data drive in my I5-2500k desktop fine.
    ....Marvel controller (ie Intel 510). Although slower (still 20 -> 40 x faster than a HDD) would be my only recommendation at this time, But I’d still wait to make sure.
    ....Sata II drives: Older ones that use the SF1200 controller would be a 2nd choice. Sequential read/writes ate less than the newer Sata III (about halve), but the more important small file random reads/writes are not too far off. Up until yesterday, I would have recommended the Intel 320’s (newer Sata II controller); However, apparently the 320’s have a bug that causes some of them to “decrease size to 8 Mb and all data lost – ouch. Ref:

    Optional - consider a USB3 thumbdrive (My recomendation - patriot supersonic) 32 or 64 gig. Just ordered the 32 gig as the 64 gig was too expensive.
  6. Adampower, May be the last question would have been better on a Engineer forum, but I have read many post from Engineers on Tom’s. Unless I misunderstood the school, they have student site license and they will put the programs on and take it off.

    RetiredChief Thanks for the advice. I will wait on the SSD. By waiting I will know the size he needs and may be they will have SSD fixed by then. I will get the 32GB thumbdrive to back up to after class and a 1TB USB3 Seagate GoFlex portable drive for system backups. I’m going to pull the 2 x 2GB chips and add 4 x 4GB PC3 10666 G Skill chips for memory.

    Thanks for the help.
  7. Best answer selected by baileyus.
  8. I think your son is very lucky, you got him a workstation he won't really need until he grows and learns all he can on his degree and many more years.

    I'm a Mechanical Engineer and I use one for my job, it's a really powerful computer, really nice choice, it can really run anything you throw at it, at the same time.
  9. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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