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Upgrading Dell XPS 8700 desktop to SSD

Posted on 2014-08-14
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Hello experts,

I'm planning to upgrade my Dell XPS 8700 desktop's Primary drive to SSD..

Wondering if I should get Samsung 840 EVO or Samsung 840 Pro:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E3W1726

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Electronics-2-5-Inch-Solid-MZ-7PD256BW/dp/B009NB8WRU

Will I need something like this to seat the SSD:

http://www.amazon.com/Silverstone-Tek-3-5-Inch-Converter-SDP08/dp/B002BH3Z8E/

Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Question by:focus15
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LVL 23

Assisted Solution

by:tailoreddigital
tailoreddigital earned 1000 total points
ID: 40261710
I've got both and honestly don't see much difference in the real world.   The specs are a bit better for the Pro, but in my opinion, it's not worth the extra dollars you pay for it.

You will need the converter if you're mounting it in a 3.5 drive bay.

I use these,
http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-Drive-Trayless-Mobile-Backplane/dp/B001CYZC38/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1408045796&sr=1-1&keywords=2.5+inch+hot+swap

I clone my primary drive regularly to a spare.   This hot swap bay is well built.

When you do switch the drive, using an imaging program like Acronis or Paragon, saves mucho time.

Acronis,
http://www.acronis.com/en-us/personal/pc-backup/

Paragon,
http://www.paragon-software.com/home/hdm-personal/
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LVL 47

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by:noxcho
noxcho earned 600 total points
ID: 40261865
The drives are pretty similar. Buy the one which gives best speeds.
And you do not need anything extra to move the system to this drive. Connect the SSD internally as slave drive to free SATA port in PC and then use this tool: http://www.paragon-software.com/technologies/components/migrate-OS-to-SSD/ to migrate the OS to SSD drive. When ready swap the drives.
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Author Comment

by:focus15
ID: 40261908
Thanks so much guys..

My bad. I should have mentioned that I was planning to do a fresh install.

@tailor: I like Startech's products but the one that you mentioned is expensive because it is hot swappable, right?
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LVL 23

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by:tailoreddigital
tailoreddigital earned 1000 total points
ID: 40262157
Yes it's hot swap.   I was just throwing it out there, wasn't recommending it.    On a side note, you've chosen a good brand for SSD.
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Author Comment

by:focus15
ID: 40262161
Thanks tailoreddigital.. So apart from the Silverstone convertor (http://www.amazon.com/Silverstone-Tek-3-5-Inch-Converter-SDP08/dp/B002BH3Z8E), would there be anything else I would need?

I'm planning to remove the primary HDD from the PC and install this SSD instead. Would the same power and SATA cables that were connected to the HDD work just fine?
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by:tailoreddigital
tailoreddigital earned 1000 total points
ID: 40262163
yep, the power and data are the same cables.
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Author Comment

by:focus15
ID: 40262165
Perfect, thanks!

Would there be any Master/Slave Jumper settings?

Also I read somewhere that I have to enable "AHCI" in the BIOS before installing Windows.. I wonder how to do that.
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LVL 23

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by:tailoreddigital
tailoreddigital earned 1000 total points
ID: 40262171
No master/slave for SATA, just make sure the ports are on in the BIOS.   Since you are using the same SATA as an active drive, the SATA port is obviously enabled.

You enable AHCI in the BIOS, dig around and you'll find the setting.  It might be labelled something like "SATA mode" or something along those lines.
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garycase earned 400 total points
ID: 40262228
The BIOS is almost certainly already set for AHCI, since Windows 7 was already installed.   But it certainly doesn't hurt to check.

As for the mounting adapter -- you may or may not need it.    Many 3.5" bays in recent systems already have mounting holes for an SSD -- have a look before you buy the adapter.

As for which SSD I'd buy ... the answer is neither :-)    For an inexpensive SSD with excellent capacity and great performance, I'd buy this:  http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-240GB-2-5-Inch-Internal-CT240M500SSD1/dp/B00BQ8RM1A/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1408067035&sr=8-3&keywords=crucial+ssd

(Note the inexpensive mounting bracket they have listed with it as well)
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Author Comment

by:focus15
ID: 40262389
Thanks again, Tailor Ed and Gary.

Ah! I forgot to check that.. Let me take a peek. If there are holes just screw the SSD to them without a cage?

If I had gotten the Samsung 840 EVO for the same price as the Crucial, would it be ok? : )

Did you mean this bracket (that comes up with the Crucial SSD):

SABRENT 3.5-Inch to SSD / 2.5-Inch HDD Bay Drives Converter (BK-HDDH)
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 40262403
"... If I had gotten the Samsung 840 EVO for the same price as the Crucial, would it be ok? : )  "  ==>  Sure.   The Samsung EVO's are nice units.    I tend to favor Intel and Crucial, but the Samsung units are also good drives.
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by:noxcho
noxcho earned 600 total points
ID: 40262519
My bad. I should have mentioned that I was planning to do a fresh install.
Then you do not need to buy anything extra. Replace the HDD with SSD and run installation of Windows 7. That's it.
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Author Comment

by:focus15
ID: 40264589
Thanks again, Gary and noxcho.. :)
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Author Comment

by:focus15
ID: 40265257
Do the connections look ok to you guys:

SSD Power
SATA
SATA and Power connections
I'll wait to hear from you guys before I power the system.. Thanks so much again.
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 40265341
The connections are fine.    Time to install the OS :-)

... If you have a short straight-to-straight SATA cable I think it would look a bit better with the orientation of the SSD's connector (or a left-hand cable would work -- but from your picture I'd think straight connectors are best).   But the cable you're using is fine.   It's just a cosmetic thing as long as there's not too much pressure on the connector (and there doesn't appear to be anything hitting it).
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Author Comment

by:focus15
ID: 40265347
Thanks a lot, Gary.. Ah, this is why you recommended straight cables..

Will swap them with straight cables when my Monoprice order arrives.
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Author Closing Comment

by:focus15
ID: 40265688
Thanks a ton for the help and comments.. Now, I'm counting how many SSDs I should buy to bring life to some of the old laptops that we have :)
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:pgm554
ID: 40780897
I know this is a closed question ,but this system has a slot on the MOBO for MSATA.
Whole lot easier to install than a regular SSD.
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 40780912
Agree an mSATA would have been simple ... not really much easier, but certainly eliminates the need for any cables.      There appears to be a fairly long video card installed, which may have to be temporarily removed to install an mSATA  (and then replaced, since it would easily fit over the mSATA card) ... just depends on the exact clearances in that area, which aren't clear in the picture.

However, the mSATA port on this card is just a SATA-interfaced port ... not a PCIe => so there's no speed advantage, like there is on newer boards where these ports often support direct PCIe interfaces for the cards (clearly this also requires a card with a PCIe interface).
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