SSD installation questions
I'm thinking about getting a 250GB Samsung 830 for Christmas, but I know very little about them other than that recommendation in the Hard Choices column. Specifically, I'd like to slap Windows on there to improve boot times and general system responsiveness, but I don't want to have to reinstall Windows to do so. I note that some SSDs come with a copy of Norton Ghost: would that enable me to magically shunt Windows from my HDD to the SSD without requiring a reinstall? And if so, does it actually work smoothly in practice or am I inflicting upon myself a significant risk of a Christmas spent swearing at a smouldering heap of wreckage?
On a related subject: I'm also thinking about buying a couple of the SSDs and throwing away my HDD. Is there any reason not to do so (assuming that half a TB is enough storage, which it is); and if I were to run with the 1 SSD + 1 HDD setup for a while, would replacing the HDD with the second SSD cause any problems? Would it be better to install both SSDs at the same time?
And one final question: how easy is the actual physical installation? I've installed plenty of HDDs before but with SSDs being smaller I'm not sure how/where they fit into the chassis. I suspect that this is a stupid question but am again keen to avoid the 'smouldering wreckage' scenario.
Thank you in advance for any advice!
First off - The installation of an SSD, case-wise, is incredibly easy. As there are no moving parts inside, you don't need to worry about which orientation it's in, if it's secured etc. You could probably selotape it to an external side of your PC and it would be fine.
Norton Ghost is a bit of a mixed bag, from what I can tell. It works with some people, not so with others. In *theory*, it will allow you to shunt over your HDD's contents to the SSD.
I would be wary about buying 2 SSDs and replacing the HDD, as the benefits wouldn't really outweigh the cost. Definitely get one though.
Thanks Alex! I think I will probably go ahead with one, then, and gird my loins for the shunting process. Perhaps I'll leave that to Boxing Day.
Lesser Hivemind Node
Well, depending on your case/chassis the options for mounting SSDs "properly" may be limited.
My case (a Define R3) came with HDD trays with holes for both 3.5" and 2.5" drives, some SSDs come with a 3.5" to 2.5" adaptor plate. It's just a case of using one of the two of those methods and away you jolly well go as far as installation goes. In fact I'm quite sure I saw someone who had an SSD installed purely as a cache and he had it double-sided-taped to the top of his case... I wouldn't recommend that exactly but you could do it if you really wanted, they don't get all that hot so they don't really need to be in the air flow of the case and they have no moving parts, they're essentially just really big memory cards.
I can't speak of Norton Ghost because I didn't get it with my SSD and wouldn't have used it even if I had as I was starting from a fresh install. It probably does this for you but you might want to check that TRIM is enabled (this is assuming it's for moving your system from a HDD to the SSD), I hope you don't mind if I leave you to Google something like 'how can I check if TRIM is enabled' like I did. Not sure if there's much else to check really, which means there's probably billions of things I'm not doing which I should be doing to protect my SSD from an early death.
If you really just want it to install Windows onto, you could easily get away with a 128GB version. I have a 128GB Crucial M4 and with Windows, a small number of basic programs and 35.3GB of Origin games I still have 16.2GB left. Ok, that's not a huge amount, but with 'careful management' of my Origin library (i.e. never touch it because I don't particularly like any of the other Origin games I've got as I only bought them because I thought I would (I did like Dead Space and Crysis, wasn't much of a fan of their sequels)) I'm sure I'll be fine for a while to come. You might like to think about that, but at the same time I'm sure you won't regret having twice as much space left as I do... Depends how much the ability to be lazy about management of space is worth to you, I normally pay quite a lot to be able to be lazy but when it's literally a case of deleting a game I no longer play before installing a new one then that's not really much hassle.
Secondary Hivemind Nexus
I have 2 SDDs and a 2 HDD's and they work just fine together, be sure to install windows on the SDD for maximum speed.
As for installation it's like Alex said, depending on your system case it can be super easy. Because I have a Cooler Master HAF X I only had to slide them in to the disk rack, plug in the cables and it was done.
Just a quick aside on the 'mounting' thing - retail SSDs should come with a frame to mount them in a 3.5" drive bay - OEM ones won't but they're easily sourced from anywhere you buy stuff from (eBay/Amazon/Scan/eBuyer all have them)
You can just leave the thing on the base of the case if you like tho - as someone said, just tape it down somewhere :)
That said - HDDs can be mounted at any angle you like too - there's no rules about them being flat or whatever (indeed most server racks mount them 'side on' wheras most PCs mount them flat).
To reduce noise from a WD HDD I have, it's stood end-on in the bottom of my PC case, surrounded with carpet backing foam (sound deadening and fireproof) and it's been fine for eons (the cables are run through the casing to hold it steady tho I never move the PC anyway).