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Question

Upgrading Existing SSD in Laptop

by Andrew_PR / January 20, 2014 3:33 AM PST

I have an Acer M5-481PT-6644 Laptop with both a HDD and a 20GB SSD (both stock).

First off, how do I access the SSD and put stuff on it? If it involves BIOS, the included .pdf manual says to press F2 at the boot screen but I can't seem to get that to work.

Anyway, the main question is, how do I go about upgrading my existing SSD with a higher capacity one (likely ~250GB)? What do I have to do to get it to work properly? Easy-to-follow/detailed instructions would be appreciated, as I am not too familiar with this sort of upgrade.

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All Answers

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Answer
Re: SSD
by Kees_B Forum moderator / January 20, 2014 3:47 AM PST

That's not much, 20 GB. What drive letter is it? Once you know that, you can put stuff on it using Windows Explorer or My Computer, just like you put it on a USB-stick. And on what drive is Windows installed?
Anyway, it doesn't involve the BIOS.

To upgrade it to a larger one these are the steps:
1. Buy that larger one and connect in an external enclosure to your laptop.
2. Clone the SSD to it using your favorite cloning program (some people use Clonezilla, which is free)
3. Open the case, remove the old SSD and mount the new one in the same place.

Kees

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SSD
by Andrew_PR / January 20, 2014 3:54 AM PST
In reply to: Re: SSD

Yes, it is very small which is why I will likely be upgrading it in the future. I believe it was just an additional appeal to buyers. And I'm not sure what drive letter it is, no other drives show up in Windows Explorer right now. How can I find out what it is?

And I have heard about cloning but am completely unfamiliar with it. How exactly does this work? What do I need to do to ensure everything works out in the end? The last thing I want is to screw something up.

Sorry, I know next to nothing when it comes to SSD's, they are very new to me.

Thanks

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SSD
by Andrew_PR / January 20, 2014 4:01 AM PST
In reply to: SSD

And I don't know if it's worth noting or if it even matters, but, if you haven't guessed already, I have not used any of the 20GB on the stock SSD.

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Re: drive
by Kees_B Forum moderator / January 20, 2014 4:03 AM PST
In reply to: SSD

If you only see a 250 GB c:-drive in My Computer, and no other drive, than that SSD isn't used at all.
Since it's totally empty, you can skip step 1 and 2 of my recipe and go directly to step 3, replacing a unused 20 GB SSD by an equally unused 250 GB SSD.

But all of this doesn't make sense at all, because the only good use of an SSD is to install Windows on it. And one expects that it came that way from the factory, in stead of being invisible.
Do you still have warranty? Or can you ask the (local, I hope) shop where you bought it?

Kees

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Re: disk
by Kees_B Forum moderator / January 20, 2014 4:16 AM PST
In reply to: Re: drive

And maybe it's a socalled 'hybrid' drive. You can't replace the SSD-part of a hybrid drive. It's built in. It's comparable to replacing 1 cylinder of a V8 motor.
I find http://www.acer.co.uk/ac/en/GB/content/model-datasheet/NX.M3WEK.002 not really clear about the storage.

Anyway, the date of the review (March 2013) in http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2416741,00.asp makes me think you still have warranty. So your next stop is the shop or Acer customer service to ask where to find that 20 GB SSD and what's installed on it.

Kees

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SSD
by Andrew_PR / January 20, 2014 4:39 AM PST
In reply to: Re: disk

I can possibly open up the bottom of the case and take a picture of it, but I don't know if that will help.

I bought it through a rebate program online, so I don't know if they would offer a warranty or even support. I can try Acer support tomorrow and see what they say.

To make it clear, I am 16 years old (but generally fairly knowledgeable about computers, just not this stuff in particular). My dad has a fair understanding of replacing parts, but again, he isn't familiar with SSD's, so I'm trying to gather as much information as I may need.

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Re: SSD
by Kees_B Forum moderator / January 20, 2014 5:10 AM PST
In reply to: SSD

An SSD - solid state drive - is (from the outside) indistinguishable from a HDD - hard disk drive -. It looks the same, has the same size, the same interface, and is mounted in the same way in the case.

The only difference is on the inside: an SSD has chips, a HDD rotating magnetic platters.
Which means: SSD has faster (random) access.
And: don't defrag an SSD.
That's all you and your father have to know have to know about it.

But I really doubt if there are 2 disks inside an Ultrabook. Maybe. See what Acer says and let us know.

Kees

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SSD
by Andrew_PR / January 20, 2014 5:44 AM PST
In reply to: Re: SSD

To my further understanding, I believe it is an mSATA cache, which sucks but I may upgrade it down the road to a 500gb SSD to match the current storage I have, but I will wait a while unitl prices drop a bit.

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edit
by Andrew_PR / January 20, 2014 5:47 AM PST
In reply to: SSD

I meant that I'll upgrade the 500GB HDD to a 500GB SSD and remove the current 20GB cache.

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Some reading
by Bob__B / January 20, 2014 6:49 AM PST
In reply to: edit
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Interesting.
by Kees_B Forum moderator / January 20, 2014 6:53 AM PST
In reply to: Some reading

Thanks for the link.

Kees

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SSD
by Andrew_PR / January 20, 2014 7:54 AM PST
In reply to: SSD
Here's a screen of Intel Rapid Storage Technology if it helps clear anything up.<div>
Follow up: does this mean that the only way to use an SSD for actual storage is by replacing my HDD? I can't just swap the current SSD for a larger one and configure it to work as an additional storage drive to my HDD?
</div>
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My take
by Bob__B / January 20, 2014 9:43 AM PST
In reply to: SSD

Not to be confused with fact since I don't have such a gadget to test.

What you have is a Ssd cache for the Hdd.
If the data you want is in that cache it will be very quick.
If the data you want is not in the cache then it will react like a normal Hdd.
What data is stored in the cache?........beats me....ask Intel.

No you can not specify what data to store in the cache.

If you want true Ssd perf for all files I suspect your going to be replacing the Hdd and the Msata unit.

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Exactly... I think
by Andrew_PR / January 20, 2014 11:39 AM PST
In reply to: My take

Based on what I was able to gather and research, this sounds dead on. I believe replacing my HDD is the only way I can use an SSD as a usable drive. I just want to know if there will be enough of a difference between my current setup vs. using an SSD as my main drive, I don't want to buy one for $300 if it is only slightly faster. I guess there's still the advantage of actually having all of my files on it instead of random/unknown files.

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Re: replacing HDD
by Kees_B Forum moderator / January 20, 2014 4:26 PM PST
In reply to: Exactly... I think

I think replacing this SSD cached HDD by a SDD will only give you a marginal performance improvement. After all, for most of the things you do (such as browsing, mailing, looking at movies, listening to music) the access speed of the disk is totally unimportant.

Kees

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SSD does still give an advantage of
by orlbuckeye / January 20, 2014 9:10 PM PST
In reply to: Re: replacing HDD

running cooler and uses less lower which equals a little better battrry life. It runs cooler because there are no moving parts on a SSD compared to a HD.

I replace my HD and wen from a minute boot to 25 seconds.

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Easus Todo clone software
by James Denison / January 20, 2014 4:10 AM PST
In reply to: SSD

It will clone a 20 GB drive "Partition" onto a larger drive's "partition" if you make sure to use the Partition to partition clone approach instead of drive copy.

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