My journey from HDD to SSD

Kilobyte Kid

My journey from HDD to SSD



So I have a relatively ancient (2011) Dell Latitude E6410 running Windows 7 PRO (64 bit) with 8 GB RAM and a 7200 RPM 300 ish GB Seagate HDD on SATA II which was pretty much full and making me move some of the older directories (photos etc) to an external drive so that I could have about 20-25 GB free on the HDD.


Windows 7 because I needed some software that can only work on XP and I was running on the XP virtual machine on this computer.


I decided to try the SSD route to speed up some of the operations and gain some extra room. I got rather mixed messages from Internet Wisdom Banks (!) and so to play it safe, I decided to experiement with a Crucial MX500 500GB (488 GB by the traditional counting method) somewhat trepiditiously with following uncertainties in mind:

1. Would the SATA III drive work on my SATA II system and if so would it make a significant speed difference?

2. Would the fact that my system was configured as RAID, and not AHCI would that pose problems? This one kept me sleepless for a few days while the SSD was still in mail, from US to Canada (Crucial USA prices were better than that A to Z online vendor and anyways, it is always better to buy from the manufacturer when and if possible!).

3. Rather importantly, would the XP virtual machine and programs get cloned properly and run as before (HDD).

4. Several other niggling doubts and uncertainties that I shall not bother you with...!


I am so glad that I took the plunge. My sole regret (greedy greedy!) is that I should have gone for a 1TB Crucial MX 500 SSD :-P

The cloning took about 2 hours or a bit less. The laptop does not have a USB 3 so I had been using the Startech PCI express card adapter (more a little later!) and used that to do the cloning with everything I have two of, crossed! Including my eyes!!


The mechanical switch between the drives was a piece of cake except for the pesky screw on the drive bezel that kept falling (my screwdriver was not magnetized enough -- note to myself for the next time!) but finally that got straightened out and the HDD was swapped with the SSD using the spacer that came with the Crucial SSD. Essentially, a straight-forward slide-out/slide-in business.


WOW! #3 was a non-issue, really! Number 1 was simply giving me half the transfer-rate, as expected but no incompatibility (so far). #2 did not interfere with the momentum cache, although the flex option was denied (needs AHCI) and perhaps a couple other options in the storage exec too are beyond my system's reach.

On the plus side: Instead of working with the 25-30 GB free HDD overhead, I now have 170+ GB to bring all files (photos, music, etc) back into the computer. Booting is nearly 50% faster, programs are zippier, even chrome seems to have picked up speed, searches are faster even though I have turned off file indexing. Pagefile is now taking 1/3rd the space than before (I tried the recommended [by some] turn pagefile off and similar *advice* but was running into low memory warnings!)

Compared to the 120 MB/s or so that my aged 7200 Seagate HDD was managing, the Crucial SSD with momentum cache enabled as per ATTO benchmark (direct I/O) is attaining close to 2.6 GB/sec through a fair bit of the range and not just in the write mode but also read mode (Even on Crucial site I saw it mentioned that momentum cache only speeds up Write, but not the READ operations by all that much! Thank heavens my Dell has been an exception, so far!)


My biggest surprise was that my USB transfer rates using the built-in USB 2 ports and the express card USB3 ports have improved their performance by a factor of 2x - 3x, seriously!


One little glitch which many others here have reported. The USB blue tooth was working but the in-built realtek audio driver was not working. Thanks to the posting of a few good folks on this crucial forum, it was so easy to fix!


One thing I noticed was that windows Disk Cleanup (for reclaiming disk space after garbage cleanup) was not working efficiently. I was getting back like 45 MB at one time and on running it again, another 16 MB.  So, I ran the Dell support assist software that comes with Dell computers. Using the disk clean option in it, it reclaimed 1337 MB of SSD space! Dell users, please note...! Even when I was using my HDD earlier, Dell-disk clean utility in support-assist was doing a superior job than the windows housekeeping software.


Now I have to get looking into this "remove Time-Stamp" option that glares at me each time I run the Crucial Storage Executive software and I wonder if there is a way that it would run like other software without asking permission to allow it to RUN...! (I know I should have selected the 'run at start' option during installation!


Sorry for the long post!!


5 Replies
Crucial Employee

Re: My journey from HDD to SSD


Very detailed writeup.


@RBR wrote:


My biggest surprise was that my USB transfer rates using the built-in USB 2 ports and the express card USB3 ports have improved their performance by a factor of 2x - 3x, seriously!

That's an interesting point you've brought up. While USB 2.0 transfer speeds should be way under the theoretical transfer rate of even the slowest HDDs, it just brings up the example of how HDDs are horrible in some situations of transferring files, particularly if they're located in different areas of the disk. SSDs on the other hand are amazing at sequential transfers, because they can access virtually the entirity of the drive simultaneously, while an HDD is limited to the access points of the head.



Crucial_Benny, Micron CPG Support, US

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Kilobyte Kid

Re: My journey from HDD to SSD

Thanks!  Having been flummoxed and confused by majority of internet wisdom (Including from TECH-GIANTS)  I thought it is better to elaborate as best as possible rather than inject cryptic short and confusing snippets (NORM on Internet...?) and leave others hanging in the flailing winds of uncertainty and ignorance...?


Kilobyte Kid

Re: My journey from HDD to SSD



With the 7200 RPM HDD in place, I was getting like 15-20 MB/sec with the USB 2 and 40 or so MB/sec with the Startech (Express PCI) USB 3 card.

With the Crucial SSD replacing the HDD, I am getting on an average 35-40 with the USB 2 ports and with USB 3 mostly like 60-100 or so MB/sec and occasionally even faster. I have no clue why the USB 2 transfer rates seem to be a tighter range (narrower bell-curve) vs the USB 3 transfer rates where the variability is wider...

Kilobyte Kid

Re: My journey from HDD to SSD

You know folks, after working on a cramped 7200 HDD (OEM-RF) with 30-40 GB free space -- I finally braced myself to move to a 500 (450+ if you use the divide by ancient 1024 convention!) GB Crucial SSD, my first regret was, "Why did I not spend the same amount and get a 1 TB SSD...?"

THIS (not quite a *buyer's remorse*) was triggered in momentarily, as I kept bringing in files from the VAULT that I had been sending to externals (back-ups) to keep my laptop functional...!

Now that most of those off-loaded/stored files are back home, with still a good 80 GB remaining on my laptop, I fall prey to G.A.S. ? (Gadget Aquisition Syndrome as photo-fanatics dub the mental malady as...!).

Just for general information and sharing, my Crucial SSD is working splendidly on my ancient computer (in computer chronology!), so far -- running on RAID and SATA II and still giving me the desired boost...!  And space to expand...!!

Trust me folks, I am NO fan-boy for Crucial, but perhaps just for the cause of SSDs replacing ancient practices and norms like HDDs...! The five year warranty sure does help, but that is just a bonus -- we all hope, we shall never need that and perhaps replace our SSD with a humongously larger SSD, well before the warranty expires... ;-)

Kilobyte Kid

Re: My journey from HDD to SSD

When you did your clone, did you boot from the system or from bootable media? Also once the clone was completed did you have to change anything in BIOS/UEFI?

Congrats, I hope it is that simple when I try it!