OCZ VTX460-25SAT3-240G

I just picked up a new OCZ VTX460-25SAT3 SSD drive. I needed more room to install games on my PC. This drive is now my E: drive on my computer. My main drive is a Sandisk SDSSDX240GG25. Both are SATA3 (6Gbps) and 240GB so I wanted to run benchmarks and compare the two. I used CrystalDiskMark v3.0.3 on Windows 8.1. I also included my results for my Western Digital WD10EAVS. This is using SATA2 (3Gbps).

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Here is my result for the Sandisk.

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Here is my result for the OCZ.

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And finally, here is what I got with the Western Digital 1TB hard drive on SATA2 (3Gbps).

I’ve been running SSD drives for a few years now and never looked back. The performance is night and day. SSDs can make an old computer feel new again (unless the CPU is really old and using the original SATA (1.5Gbps) but I’m sure you’ll feel a difference.

A note during installation. It took four restarts before Windows finally recognize the drive. My bios recognized it with no problem. From the looks of it, the drive was originally formatted with GPT – I’m guessing this is why it was difficult for Windows to detect. Here’s a screenshot of Windows when it finally recognized it.

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If you haven’t tried SSD, I definitely recommend it. Prices have been dropping steadily.

Upgraded my 2011 MBP with Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD

Amazon recently has the Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD (MZ-7TE500BW) on sale. I decided to pick one up andupgrade the Samsung 830 256GB SSD on my 2011 MBP (MC721LL/A). The 256GB is still running great, but I just needed a larger drive. I wanted to run Windows on bootcamp. I only had 20GB useable space even after I cleaned up and removed unused items.

Fortunately, my MBP is one of the models that you can still upgrade the HDD and ram. Newer models are soldered and cannot be upgraded. You just remove the screws that hold the bottom panel and you’ll have access to the ram and HDD area. Here’s a pic.

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I used Blackmagic Disk Speed Test to get the speeds of both SSDs. Here’s the benchmark for the Samsung 830.

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Here’s the benchmark for the Samsung 840 EVO 500GB.

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Based on the benchmark, there’s over a 30% improvement. I’m very happy with the upgrade. Not only did I get a speed improvement, I also got more space for using bootcamp.

Toshiba Satellite C55-A5300 with SSD

Best Buy has been running a sale on the Toshiba Satellite C55-A5300 for $229. At one point they even had the Skull Candy headphones – the one I chose is the S6HSDZ-072. It’s a $60 value and it was free. Here are the key specs of the laptop.

  • Intel Celeron 1037U 1.8GHz (Ivy Bridge)
  • 4GB DDR3 1333MHz (installed in 1 of 2 slots, can be maximized to 16GB and run up to 1600HMz)
  • 500GB HDD 5400RPM
  • Intel HD Graphics (integrated and shared)
  • LAN 10/100 (not gigabit)
  • 15.6” widescreen TruBrite at 1366×768 (supports 720p content)
  • HDMI port
  • SDHC size card reader
  • Windows 8 (upgradeable to 8.1)

So the specs aren’t jawdropping but for the price it’s a very good deal. I picked one up and the first thing I did is swap out that horrendous hard drive. Running at 5400RPM and it’s not SSD makes me cringe. All my computers, except for my 2008 iMac are running on SSD. It’s hard to go back to regular HDD.

The upgrade is very easy. First, you will need to boot to the desktop. So I had to let the laptop initialize and answer a few questions. Next, I created DVD restore discs using the Toshiba Recovery Media Creator software. This is how I will get the OS onto the new hard drive. Laptops no longer come with restore discs. It’s been this way for many years now. They usually have a hidden partition on the hard drive if the computer needs to be restored. You can also order a copy of the restore discs for around $16. Or, if you’re lucky, the computer comes with software that will allow you to make your own. For this particular laptop, you can use 3x 4GB DVD-R or 16GB+ USB thumb drive. I went with the DVDs and the process took about an hour to create. Make sure you label the DVD discs so you know which goes first, second, and third. When restoring it will ask you for all 3.

Once I got the DVDs made, it’s time to open up the laptop. Ensure that it’s unplug and the battery is removed. Flip the laptop over so the bottom is up. There is a screw holding in the panel that covers both HDD and ram. After you remove the panel, you will need to remove another screw that’s holding the HDD in place. Lift up from the screw area once your remove the screw. Swap the HDD with the SSD. Close everything back up and boot off the DVD. I had a Kingston HyperX SSD 120GB lying around so I used it to play around with. With the SSD, boot up is under 15 seconds. I removed most of the Toshiba crapware and the Norton AV trial. Here are some pics I took.

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Here is an Instagram video I recorded. You can see the whole boot up process all the way to the desktop within the 15 second time limit.

More upgrades to my i5 2500K

A few more upgrades to my i5 2500K build AKA transcoding server. First is an additional fan for my Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus. It temps only improved by 2-4° C on idle. I have the heatsink placed vertically. The air is pushing to the top onto the case fan. I would place it horizontally with the air flow pushing out to the back but it’s against the wall. I figured I have more room for the air to exhaust out on top. When I get some time, I may reposition it and compare the temperature. It isn’t an issue at the moment.

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The next upgrade is the eVGA nVidia GTX550TI. It’s a nice card for the price. I prefer nVidia video cards over ATI. Just a personally preference and have been happy with the performance. There were some driver instability on my GTX470TI in my other PC with Windows 7 Pro 64bit, but those have been resolved. Being a transcoding machine, I didn’t want to go too crazy on the video card but wanted the CUDA capabilities.

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Yes, I know, cable management. This could also be causing my weird temperatures as well haha. Again, I’ll look into it when I get some time, but not an issue at the moment.

Finally, another SSD hard drive. This time it’s the Sandisk Extreme 120GB. SSD prices have been dropping like crazy. My goal is to replace all hard drives running the operating system on all my computers to SSD… almost there.

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The computer has been running very well. Using Handbrake to transcode, CPU at mostly 100% for hours, it’s stable and temperatures don’t go over 54° C. What’s great is everything is powered with a 500W power supply.

Samsung 830 Series 256GB SSD drive

It’s been a month since installing the Samsung 830 Series 256GB SSD drive in my Macbook Pro 15” MC721LL/A(early 2011).

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It doesn’t come with a 3.5” adapter. It’s a simple package with a CD. Upgrading is simple with the new Macbook Pros. I never use the CDs it comes with since I just format my computer and start from scratch. Most, if not all my important files are in the cloud and can easily be restored when needed.

Overall I’m very pleased with the performance. It’s a huge improvement from the traditional hard drive but… it replaced my old Kingston SSD drive. I don’t see much improvement between the SSD drives. I guess there isn’t much difference between SATAII and SATAIII. My MBP uses SATAIII which is one reason why I upgraded. Another reason is that the Kingston only had 96GB to begin with and it was filling up fast. Here is the benchmark I ran with the the Samsung 830 drive. Unfortunately, I can’t find the benchmark I ran with the Kingston SSD.

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RAID0 SSD, 2 weeks later

Two weeks after I installed my Kingston HyperX 120GB SSD in a RAID0, I’m still getting great performance. I have now used up half of my drive space.

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My write speeds still look weird between what ATTO and Crystal Disk are reporting. I’m not really good with these benchmark softwares. I just use the default settings. If anyone can tell me how I can tweek or adjust the configurations of the benchmarks to give me a more accurate result, please let me know. Also, I haven’t updated the firmware. It is still 320ABFF0.

Kingston HyperX SSD in RAID0

I think I have found the perfect SSD drive. I have tried several, most I kept and some I returned. The ones I kept so far are 2 Kingston V+100 96GB. Both are running in a Macbook Pro 13” (Core2Duo) and another in a Macbook Pro 15” (i7 2011 model). Another is the OCZ Vertex Plus 60GB. The first one seemed to work well so I bought another and made a RAID0. Even after the firmware update (v3.50) my OS kept freezing so I returned it.

Since I’ve had such a good experience with Kingston, I decided to check out what they have using the SATA3 connection. Kingston has the HyperX SSD which comes in 2 sizes, 120GB and 240GB. They also come in 2 different packages, with or without the kit. According to Kingston, it can read up to 525MB/s and write up to 480MB/s. The numbers are impressive on 1 drive but on a RAID0, it would even be better.

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I ended up getting the package with the kit. The kit includes a screwdriver, a USB enclosure, USB 2.0 cables, a 2.5” to 3.5” bay adaptor, and Acronis software to clone your old hard drive onto the new. The packaging is nice, silver and blue theme. The screwdriver is handy. It comes with 3 different bits and it’s magnetic. It’s shaped like a pen and has a clip so you can clip it on your clothes, bag, etc. The enclosure is well designed and easy to open and close. Other things I notices are the 3 year warranty and the 24/7 tech support. I will be calling them this weekend and testing that out.

Installation is very easy especially with the iStarUSA BPU-124V2-SS cage. After installing Windows and updating it here are the benchmark numbers from different softwares.

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My WEI score also went up to 7.9. My CPU (Intel i7 2600K) is at stock speed gets a 7.6 but after overclocking it using ASUS’s TPU (4.4GHz) that score went up to 7.8.

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So after a day, the drives have been stable. No freezing or signs of being unstable. Let’s see if this continues the next few days/weeks. I hope it does, since I’m really liking the performance. Here is my hardware break down if you’re curious.

CPU: Intel i7 2600K 3.4GHz

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V Pro

Ram: G.Skills Ripjaws DDR3 1600 16GB 2x (2x4GB)

OS Drive: Kingston HyperX 120GB SH100S3B SSD in a RAID0 (SATAIII port using Intel controller)

Data Drive: Seagate 7200RPM 16MB cache 4x 500GB in a RAID5 (SATAII port)

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64bit SP1