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Old 01-10-2013, 10:56 AM   #1
sornywrx
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Default Thinking of ditching the optical drive in my laptop and adding an SSD

I have an Asus Bamboo laptop that I carry to my 9-5 IT job everyday and also carry with my on any side consulting I do. I have been wanting to upgrade to an SSD for a while but have tons of ISOs, programs, and other things downloaded on the 640GB drive in the laptop now. I use the stuff on the drive so often that sticking it in an external enclosure and carrying it with me isn't ideal. So I bought one of these HD caddys that replace the optical drive:



I'm planning on getting a 120/128GB SSD (probably a Samsung 840) for around $100 and putting my 640GB drive in the caddy. Is there any downsides I'm not thinking of? Will battery life be affected badly? I know SSD's use less power than a mechanical drive but since I'm not replacing my old drive will I see a major drop in battery life?
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:09 AM   #2
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Regardless of whether SSDs uses less power than a HDD, you're powering a SSD and a HDD if you did the upgrade. The HDD could be in idle most of the time and have very little impact to your battery life but considering your dependency to bigger capacity storage, I doubt that will be the case.

Battery life will be shorter but not much. An optimistic assumption would be 15-30 minutes less battery duration but realistically it should never shorten the battery life by more than an hour.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:17 PM   #3
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Should be no problem. I did that about 6 months ago and it has been stellar. You are replacing the primary HDD with a SSD. Uses less power. You are replacing the optical with a HDD, and that also uses less power when operating. But, since the optical spends most of its time being unused, the substitution of the HDD will use a little more power. On balance, you should not notice much difference at all.

You can minimize HDD power by turning off things like Indexing that make it run in background.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:53 PM   #4
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Been there, done that, my only regret was accidentally buying a PATA caddy instead of an SATA one. Fortunately, they were cheap.

Since optical drives are usually harder to swap that HDDs (depending on the laptop design) you might want to put your HDD in the easier-to-access location (assuming the laptop dies, your user data is mostly on the HDD, and it's easier to access for recovery purposes.) Or visa versa, if you think you're more likely to upgrade/replace the SSD first.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:23 PM   #5
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Thanks guys, you made me feel better about going ahead and ordering it.

I was going to put the virtual memory paging file on the second drive but with 8GB RAM and not running anything intensive do I really even need one?
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sornywrx View Post
Thanks guys, you made me feel better about going ahead and ordering it.

I was going to put the virtual memory paging file on the second drive but with 8GB RAM and not running anything intensive do I really even need one?
You need a pagefile.sys. Your computer will not page out to disk unless it has to, but if the file isn't there some software will get squirrel-ey.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
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You need a pagefile.sys. Your computer will not page out to disk unless it has to, but if the file isn't there some software will get squirrel-ey.
I've never went without one but didn't know if it'd be a good idea. Should I put it on the 640GB drive or the SSD? I know the SSD would be faster but I thought I had read (in my short research on SSDs) that the swap file would wear it out faster but this have been older drives.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:48 AM   #8
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Since my wife lost her job I was thinking about not ordering the SSD until I make sure she's getting unemployment but I had it in my cart at NewEgg. $99 for the Samsung 840 120GB. 5 star reviews and $1.99 UPS 3-day shipping. I was almost checked out when I closed the browser because I thought maybe I should wait. Then NewEgg has to go and send me one of those emails about coming back and finishing check out and gives me a $10 off coupon.... REAL tempting.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sornywrx View Post
I've never went without one but didn't know if it'd be a good idea. Should I put it on the 640GB drive or the SSD? I know the SSD would be faster but I thought I had read (in my short research on SSDs) that the swap file would wear it out faster but this have been older drives.
If you have enough ram, it doesn't matter.

Theoretically, it'd wear the SSD more. But in practical terms, it's minuscule compared to the total typical write load.

Probably safer to put it on the boot volume for other reasons.
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:13 PM   #10
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I did it when I had a m14x, it worked fine for me. Not much noticeable depreciation in battery life.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:19 PM   #11
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I got my SSD total and rushed to install it and get Win7 on it. Seems a lot quicker but in some ways not as quick as I expected. Maybe my brain is playing tricks with me. I ran HDTune and the SSD got around 170MB throughput while the old 640GB hit only around 90MB so that seems like a good improvement. When I ran the Samsung software, after doing firmware updates, it shows 246MB write and 129MB read. That seems pretty good but I wasn't sure if I should be getting any better. The SSD's paperwork says "up to 500MB/sec read speeds" but I'm sure that's theoretical under ideal conditions in a more powerful computer. My laptop is an i5 with 8GB DDR3 and I think its SATAII, not III.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:10 AM   #12
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Sata 2 is limiting the transfer rate and congrats in your upgrade.
My vaio ran this set up for 4 yrs then my latitude also is running same set up for last one yr.
i do not notice any battery life change.
Enjoy.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sornywrx View Post
I have an Asus Bamboo laptop that I carry to my 9-5 IT job everyday and also carry with my on any side consulting I do. I have been wanting to upgrade to an SSD for a while but have tons of ISOs, programs, and other things downloaded on the 640GB drive in the laptop now. I use the stuff on the drive so often that sticking it in an external enclosure and carrying it with me isn't ideal. So I bought one of these HD caddys that replace the optical drive:



I'm planning on getting a 120/128GB SSD (probably a Samsung 840) for around $100 and putting my 640GB drive in the caddy. Is there any downsides I'm not thinking of? Will battery life be affected badly? I know SSD's use less power than a mechanical drive but since I'm not replacing my old drive will I see a major drop in battery life?
The 840 is supposed to draw only 0.15W! So you should be good there. You may need your optical drive for maintenance purposes.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:14 AM   #14
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With SATA 2 you should be able to hit around 260MB/s if it is an Intel chipset. You may want to try the Intel RST drivers.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docp View Post
Sata 2 is limiting the transfer rate and congrats in your upgrade.
My vaio ran this set up for 4 yrs then my latitude also is running same set up for last one yr.
i do not notice any battery life change.
Enjoy.
Ok, it doesn't bother me as bad if SATA 2 is the limiting factor and not some switch in BIOS (it IS AHCI already though) or something else I can easily change or control. So far its awesome and I wish I had done this sooner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GAO View Post
The 840 is supposed to draw only 0.15W! So you should be good there. You may need your optical drive for maintenance purposes.
I keep a ton of ISO files on my large drive and carry a few blank discs with me instead of carrying a CD case with 40 different CDs. So I go on Amazon again and ordered a USB enclosure for my old DVD-RW. It's super slim and is USB powered. I can easily carry that in my back pack with my laptop when I need one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GAO View Post
With SATA 2 you should be able to hit around 260MB/s if it is an Intel chipset. You may want to try the Intel RST drivers.
I'm glad you mentioned that... I had installed the RST drivers when right after the clean install of Win7 on the SSD but I didn't catch that mine were dated 2009! I downloaded the 5/2012 ones from Intel -- definitely couldn't hurt.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:30 AM   #16
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BTW here is the slim DVD enclosure I got off Amazon for $8.xx with shipping:



I was going to go with a plain black one but saw this red one and thought well that's one way I might be less likely to leave it at a customer's site because I'm sure that red will catch my eye. My laptop is an Asus Bamboo with the laminated bamboo wood panels so it's definitely going to look tacky but I'm not in any kind of laptop accessory fashion show (yet).
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:51 AM   #17
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Would you put link as i also would like to buy one for my dvd drive.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:41 AM   #18
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http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004CS48EA/..._M3T1_ST1_dp_1

There ya go. Less than $9 shipped. I'm hoping the built quality is decent. I don't expect much for $9 but I don't want it to fall apart on me. I read reviews of quite a few and lots of them said the enclosure just snapped or slid together and was flimsy so that's another reason I got the red one. It says the aluminum colored part is actually metal so it's supposed to be sturdy but since there's no reviews I'm just taking a chance. Says "Brushed stainless steel housing accents and protects the drive. It is so strong that an average person could stand on the drive without damaging it. "

I just tracked it and its supposed to be here today and I'll come back with a short review for here and Amazon. Also hoping the silver drive face comes with it because mine is black of course.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:53 AM   #19
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Here's a pic of the enclosure:



I'm happy with it but if you were expecting a lipstick red plastic shell you'd be surprised like I am. I'm not upset about it because I just wanted something different, not necessarily that color red. The picture shows how the color looks when the light hits it (near the front, pinker, and when the lights not hitting it then it is more red). I AM glad the the casing itself is aluminum, brushed reddish/pink in color, and it's sturdy. I'll be throwing it in my backpack with my laptop and tools so it'll take some more abuse than a plastic one would. Another good thing was that I'm only having to use the single USB cable (for data) to power it. It came with a second cable for power but I do not need it. I guess that may change depending on your optical drive but mine apparently doesn't use that much juice.

As you can see the silver faceplate came with it and it didn't fit the optical drive I was originally going to use but it fit a spare I had perfectly so that might also be an issue. I was just lucky to have another DVD-RW to use or else I'd be clipping off all but one of the faceplate clips and gluing the faceplate on instead.

But anyways, $9 shipped is a steal. Now to copy and paste this on Amazon
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:23 PM   #20
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I would advise you now that you have a mechanical drive and a SSD to put the temp directory and temp Internet files on the platter. Since my laptop has only a SSD I use a RAM drive for this. Another thing. if you change the power settings for the drives the SSD may not be able to run TRIM in a powered down state. Just keep that in mind.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:56 PM   #21
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I disagree. Keep temp, pagingfile in ssd. Let the spindle spindown when not in use to save power.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:22 PM   #22
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You are aware keeping the temp file on the SSD will increas wear and tear, don't you? All the tutorials out there tell you not to keep the temp file on the SSD and use a platter instead.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:14 PM   #23
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Quote:
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You are aware keeping the temp file on the SSD will increas wear and tear, don't you? All the tutorials out there tell you not to keep the temp file on the SSD and use a platter instead.
This defeats the purpose of having the SSD in the first place and is nonsense. leave your temp files and page file on the SSD that where you get most of the speed you notice on your SSD from in normal everyday tasks and it doesn't put to much extra wear on the SSD as they were designed around this usage seniario.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:38 AM   #24
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Well, my temp files are in a RAM drive. So speed? YES! LOL!
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