2013-01-16

Upgrade HDD to SSD on Acer Aspire One D270 (AOD270)

I decided to upgrade my netbook with SSD and I made a list for my reasons:

1. It consumes less energy, which means longer battery life
2. It does not move - there will be no vibration, which you can feel now, when the HDD spins up
3. It is absolutely quiet!
4. The netbook is slightly lighter (in my case 41g - Samsung_SSD-55g, WD_HDD-96g)
5. The netbook performance is stable - the shock and vibrations, will not affect it.
6. Does not require cooling, and can work in hot and cold temperatures.
7. It will be faster, but I put it on last place

Disadvantages:
1. It may wear out more quickly than the HDD, because of the flash technology, and more specific the TLC technology (not sure!)
2. You cannot take full benefit of it because most SSDs are SATA 3, but the AOD270 has SATA 2 controller, and generally is a slow machine, with a slow CPU
3. Not very reasonable, because the SSD price is about 70% of the price of the entire netbook


That is why I am not looking for speed, but for stability and long life. After a consultation I choose Samsung 840 SSD (250GB) with TLC technology. Samsung produces all the parts for its SSDs, that is why it can afford stable drives. This SSD is the first on the market with TLC technology. It means that every cell remembers 3 bits - so it has 8 states. It seems more unreliable technology, but the tests on the Internet show otherwise.
The 840 Pro series even has 5 year warranty.
In conclusion - Samsung has the lowest % of returned failed SSDs worldwide.




(image from http://www.storagereview.com)


(image from http://www.thessdreview.com)

Really a great, great device! I can write a lot for the device itself, but if you are interested in details
you can read this: http://thessdreview.com/our-reviews/samsung-840-series-240gb-ssd-review-the-worlds-first-tlc-ssd-takes-the-stage/



I wanted to show you how to change your drive, and make a video. It was not an easy task for me, so I decided to show you how the professionals do it, where I learnt .... (many many thanks to that guy):



Warning!
I recommend that you use Samsung software for transferring your system and files to the new SSD drive here:
That means, you install and start it before switching the two drives, under the Windows OS.
It is weird, but it can transfer live partitions somehow!!!! (I used it later on a Desktop PC - it works perfect!!)

I did it totally wrong, switched the two drives, and tried gparted with Ubuntu on USB stick.
It copied everything correctly, but while booting, the Windows said there is something wrong with the hardware. So I needed to make a new installation!

Here is an image of my netbook with the new drive:


The SSD drive is slightly thinner, than the HDD. Perhaps 2mm, that is why it seem it has "drowned" in the socket.
Assembling the netbook backwards is not an easy task either. Don't forget the 5 screws, you removed! :)
You can check if the new drive is visible in the BIOS, but there should be no problem.

Here is the original hard drive by Western Digital, put there by Acer:


It is written SATA on it, but a diagnostic program and a google check showed it is SATA 2.

I used a SATA -> USB kit to transfer the data from the old drive to the new SSD.
The average transfer rate was about 25MB/s.

So much for the hardware part!




-=Software=-

It is highly recommended that you install Samsung Magician software (you have the link above).
You don't have to run it all the time, but here are the reasons, why it is so important:
1. It monitors your SSD, can alert for problems and its lifetime
2. It has a performance optimization tool, which can enhance performance
3. Important - it switches off some windows functions, which are not for SSD, and will shorten its life, like defragmentation, indexing....
4. It upgrades firmware


-=Conclusion=-
The netbook boot windows - power button to desktop for less than 30 seconds.
It is really fast. Windows puts an index of 7.7 to the SSD, compared to 5.9 to that of the
WD HDD. Not a big difference but the performance is increased much.
That includes - installing programs, office, drivers, starting programs, word, excel, video players
The Magician software measured about 270MB/s which is close to the SATA 2 300MB/s maximum

Finally - very expensive upgrade for this netbook. But for me it worths every penny.
As I mentioned above - now I have faster, lighter, shock resistant, quiet, and not vibrating netbook, with longer lasting battery. I think for a mobile device these things really matter.
So - Upgrade! 

Cheers!!