Sunday, March 16, 2014

Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250 GB Upgrade

Update! See gotcha at the end.

Why the Upgrade

So I have been putting my laptop through it's paces.  It is on about 14 hours a day 7 days a week.  I think on several occasions I've packed it up and accidentally left it on.  I recently noticed the hard drive start to "click".  I ran some utilities on the hard drive and everything came back as the drive was healthy, but I noticed my drive starting hang coming out of sleep mode.  Rather than take the risk of being down for a while, I decided to install a new drive.  I selected a Samsung SSD 840 EVO.  I didn't want to spend too much money so I went with a 250 GB model, which I now kind of regret.  I wish I would have ponied up for a 500 GB version, but that is what I get for being frugal.  I believe Seagate makes a hybrid SSD drive that cost a lot less per Gigabyte that might be worth looking into.  I went vanity and wanted to get a full SSD though.

Why the Samsung SSD 840 EVO 

  •  Samsung had the lowest failure rate (from the data I could find) out of all the manufactures.  I also saw some videos online about the predicted failure rate of this SSD was into decades even with heavy use per day.
  • I've had great luck with Samsung products in the past.
  • The drive came with some cloning software.
  • The drive came with a mounting kit for desktops (in the future) and a USB 2 to Sata cable.
  • I couldn't afford the pro version, but both versions had very fast read and write rates compared to other SSD's.
I paid a little bit more (about $50) for the Samsung but with the cloning software and USB 2 to Sata cable I figured the price was about even.

Upgrade Walkthrough

  1. I backed up all my critical data (just in case) on both an external and a flash thumb drive
  2. Install the included software (one gotcha, the "Samsung Magician" software seemed to hang at the end of install, but I reinstalled it and everything was fine).
  3. I plugged in the Samsung SSD to a USB port.
  4. I fired up the cloning software.  Essentially you hit start, click a few things, and then let it rip.  The first time I ran it it seemed to hang and I got impatient and cancelled.  I rebooted and ran the "Data Migration" (the cloning part of the software) again and it hung at the same spot.  I let it run this time and eventually the cloning completed (A little over two hours for about 196 gigs).
  5. I shut down, swapped the SSD for my current hard drive, then rebooted.
  6. The SSD did not boot as it said there was a boot error on boot up.  This had something to do with Windows 7 copy protection.  So I found a Windows 7 install disk and booted off it, and ran repair.  That took about five minutes and then I rebooted.  This time the SSD booted normally.  Done!

A Few Gotchas and Suggestions

  • If you can afford it, get the 500 gig version if you are on the fence.  I ended up getting a 128 Gig USB 3.0 drive to keep some of my junk files in, I realize now I should have just got the 500 gig version of the SSD.  Oh well.
  • Buying a Sata to USB 3 cable (comes with some drive enclosures I think) the cloning can be done probably a lot faster.
  • You do need a Windows install disk if you are using modern versions of Windows so you can run the system repair after cloning the drive.
  • Before cloning the drive, I would remove all the junk you can off your drive (delete or move to external) so the cloning will go faster (if using USB 2).
  • I originally tried to clone the drive with 230 gigs, the cloning software said that was too large.  So even though you are buying a 250 GB drive what you can clone is probably closer to 200 gigs.


Is my computer faster now?  Yes.  It boots up faster, and applications load faster compared to my old 5400 RPM drive.  I haven't done any heavy 3D rendering, gaming, or video editing yet so I can't really say how much faster doing that with an SSD vs a 5400 RPM hard drive is. My laptop is a lot quieter now (though some of that is due to me blowing out the fan duct).  As far as battery life, I would expect to gain a little but my batter is in pretty bad shape so I can can't accurately say.  Make sure you have a Windows install disk (you probably need the same Operating System version, but not necessarily the same version (I fixed my boot problems on my 64 bit Windows Home Premium laptop using a Windows 7 Ultimate DVD).  I will say this, I was dreading having to rebuild my machine from scratch, the cloning was sure nice.  Sure, on Windows boxes the conventional wisdom is that you need to rebuild your machine every year or two anyway, but I've had this laptop for two years running Windows 7 and it seems to be doing fine, so that cloning software sure came in handy.  Sure you can buy Norton Ghost or try to use Clonix, but the Samsung Data Migration software was nearly idiot proof and worked well.  

I am happy, I just wish I would have gotten the 500 Gig drive. Check out the Amazon prices.

Samsung Electronics 840 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Single Unit Version Internal Solid State Drive MZ-7TE250BW

Samsung Electronics 840 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Single Unit Version Internal Solid State Drive MZ-7TE500BW


One important note.  You will have to turn on system restore auto saves on your new cloned drive!

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