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Should I add an SSD in a system with mSATA?

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August 10, 2012 6:41:44 PM

I have just purchased a Dell XPS 8500, which comes with a 2TB drive with a 32 GB mSATA on the motherboard acting as cache. It certainly speeds up booting compared with alternatives without mSATA.

I also have a 128 SSD lying around.

I think that I should install the 128 SSD as my Windows drive and reformat the 2TB with equal splitting into a D and E.

My Questions:

1 - Is this feasible?

2 - How do I make sure that the mSATA keeps caching the 2TB harddrive rather than the SSD?

Any answers and suggestions about the "order of operations" when reconfiguring my machine would be greatly appreciated!

Sincerely

Denis

More about : add ssd system msata

a c 544 G Storage
August 10, 2012 7:15:28 PM

Yes, you can install Windows on your 128GB SSD, format your HDD, and create 2 partitions on it; but you can't use the mSATA to cache the HDD since its no longer your boot drive. Use the mSATA as your F: drive.

When you install Windows on the SSD keep your HDD and mSATA disconnected until after installation is complete. Also make sure the port your SSD is connected to is in AHCI mode.
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August 10, 2012 7:30:54 PM

Dereck47 said:
Yes, you can install Windows on your 128GB SSD, format your HDD, and create 2 partitions on it; but you can't use the mSATA to cache the HDD since its no longer your boot drive. Use the mSATA as your F: drive.

When you install Windows on the SSD keep your HDD and mSATA disconnected until after installation is complete. Also make sure the port your SSD is connected to is in AHCI mode.


Thank you, Derek!

The 32 GB in the mSATA is not a lot but I could use it as the place for Windows pagefile if this would speed up my machine. I wonder though if TRIM is automatically run on all SSD drives (which mSATA is, if I understand it correctly).
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a c 544 G Storage
August 10, 2012 7:37:57 PM

You're moving your pagefile from one SSD to another, so there are no performance benefits to doing that.

If the port your mSATA is connected to is in AHCI mode then TRIM will be automatically enabled.
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August 10, 2012 8:03:17 PM

Derek:

You said:

"When you install Windows on the SSD keep your HDD and mSATA disconnected until after installation is complete. Also make sure the port your SSD is connected to is in AHCI mode."

Should I disconnect the HDD and mSATA physically (i.e. disconnect the data cable) or is it enough if I disconnect them in BIOS and reconnect after I've installed the SSD?

Thanks!

Denis
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a c 544 G Storage
August 10, 2012 8:11:09 PM

Disconnect the data cable.
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August 10, 2012 8:48:48 PM

Yep! That's easy enough for the HDD. The mSATA though, is physically plugged into the motherboard. I guess I should pull it out. It's a little bit crammed inside. I'll try not to damage anything in the process.
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a c 544 G Storage
August 10, 2012 9:00:04 PM

Sorry, I forgot; yes physically unplug the mSATA.
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