Replacing Primary Drive with Solid State Drive
I have recently converted both my wife’s laptop and my desktop to an SSD as the primary drive. SSD pricing has come down to where converting your primary drive to speed up your machine is worth considering. My machines are all using SATA 3, and don’t support NVMe, so the fastest SSDs can’t be used, but SATA SSDs still give a much appreciated speed improvement. I put a Western Digital Blue 1 TB in her laptop, and a SanDisk 1 TB in my desktop. These two SSDs are the same unit (SanDisk is owned by Western Digital) but the SanDisk was two dollars cheaper. May have been overkill, but we won’t run out of space, and the bigger drives have a little better performance.
There is one caveat I have to pass on. It concerns any instance where the current machine contains a small SSD as a speed up device for a normal HDD installation. This was the case with my Dell XPS 8700 SE, which was purchased from Costco in late 2013, and contained a 32 GB Samsung PM830 SSD mounted in an mSATA socket on the motherboard. It never reported as a separate drive in Windows, but is listed in the Dell BIOS. A casual user would never be aware of it. It contained some of the Windows boot files, and led to some speed up but only when booting Windows. The only other place I was aware of any improvement was with CCleaner, which evidently used some of it as a cache.
I have one problem to report, which appeared with the SanDisk. The instructions suggested downloading and installing SanDisk Dashboard software for measuring SSD performance. When I used that software to report on my new SanDisk, it gave blank results. I later discovered that this was caused by the small 32 GB SSD, which confused the software. I had cloned my HDD to the new SanDisk SSD using MiniTool Partition Wizard on my laptop. All the Windows boot files had been on a reserved partition of the HDD, and were now on the new SanDisk. I no longer needed the small SSD, so I removed it physically from the motherboard socket and rebooted into Windows. Everything works OK, and the SanDisk Dashboard now reports as it should.
The point I am making is that if anyone who has a system that might have a small SSD in it for fast boot, such as a Dell XPS or similar, and is considering switching to an full size SSD for drive C, the small SSD will be superfluous, and is no longer needed. Just a heads up.