Bobby.C
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Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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I just ordered an XPS 8900 (17, 1 TB HDD, 16GB ram) which is set for delivery next week (Nov. 5). I bought a new Samsung 850 1TB SSD which I plan to install and use for the OS and applications. The OS and programs will come preloaded on the 1TB HDD included. Can anyone suggest any online tutorials or instructions on the best way to accomplish the migration?  For instance, I've heard Samsung includes cloning software with their SSD drives, but I don't know whether it is better to first setup the new Dell out of the box using the stock HDD, get my user accounts established, etc., and then install the SSD using Samsung's software to clone the HDD to the SSD. Or is it better to first install the SSD as the boot drive and load windows, then use a recovery disk to set up the SSD? I don't know if Dell has any FAQ's or guidance on doing this, or whether I should turn to the internet for help.  In particular, I would like some help with the steps to take once inside the Dell box, i.e. connecting the proper SATA cables, using the proper BIOS settings to recognize the drives, etc.

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RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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I would install the new SSD while your present HD is working and installed.  You want to make sure that your computer recognizes the new SSD within the windows environment as well as in the BIOS settings.  Boot from the original HD. While in the windows environment go to control panel, administrative tools, computer management, storage, disk management (windows 7), windows 10 should have similar settings.  If the new hard drive is recognized, then right click it and format it.  This make take a while since you have such a large HD.  I use Acronis to clone and backup.  I tried backing up my present computer to an external HD.  Then I put the new SSD in the computer by itself and tried copying the files from the external HD to the new SSD.  It didn't work, so I used the cloning feature of Acronis.  This is done by keeping both HD's in the computer and transferring the contents of one HD to another.  I think it is standard procedure to remove the original HD after this is done and then try booting from the new HD.  To see if your computer recognizes the new SSD in the bios settings, push F2 when your computer starts.  Under hard drives, it should be detected.  If you don't want to pay for Acronis you can try Samsung's own cloning feature.  Paragon and Macrium Reflect are also supposed to be good backup programs although I have never used them.  To install the new HD, turn your computer off, unplug the power cord, and push the power button on the computer for 15 seconds.  It uses the same cables that are connected to the HD in your computer.  There are two cables connected to your HD.  One is about an inch thick the other is about 1/4 inch thick.  There should be two, inch thick cables in your computer.  One is connected to the original HD, connect the new HD to the other prong.  I am not sure if your computer comes with an additional 1/4 inch cable.  If not you will have to order it.  After you have successfully cloned the new drive, it should probably be connected to the same slot on the motherboard as your original.  It may work on other slots, but may not be as fast.  Write back if you have questions.   

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Av8rTrav
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RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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This is good info to know.  I have had my XPS 8900 for a couple weeks now (i7 6700 / 16gb / 1TB conventional drive).  I plan also to upgrade to a SSD in the near future (Black Friday what?) and run the OS off of it as I've heard it makes huge performance improvements.

The GTX 745 was such junk.  I got a EVGA GTX 650 Ti Boost SC 2GB card, and the dell splash screen would not come on, screen would not come on until windows was loading.  Turned out to be due to EUFI bios.  I contacted EVGA and they sent me a new bios for the card compatible with EUFI bios and now the hdmi comes on right away allowing access to the boot menu.    I have a second duplicate graphics card coming and plan to SLi bridge.  Space will be tight for sure.

I also got a 910 watt power supply that I will be installing soon, along with some extra fans in the 8900 if I can find room in there to put them.

Very happy that Dell decided to put 2 graphics slots on the board AND a SSD connection, which I don't think the 8700 had either of those.

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7- Thorium

RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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I have a second duplicate graphics card coming and plan to SLi bridge. 

Are you sure SLI is going to work? According to the specs, the XPS 8900 has two PCI-e x16 slots but only one of them is wired x16. The other one is wired x4.

My understanding is you need two identical video cards in identical PCI-e slots for SLI to work. But you won't have that.

Even if SLI does work, I wonder if performance will suffer because only one card is in an x16 slot...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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Av8rTrav
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RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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So I jumped the gun on this.  Dell confirmed to me that the motherboard does in fact support

SLi configuration, but in my haste to get it done, I didn't realize the lower x16 slot is only single width,

so now my plan for 2 650 ti boost cards is squashed cuz the cards are double width cards.

But to answer your question ROHE, yes my 8900 has 2 Pci-e x16 slots.

There is a x4 slot sandwiched between the blue and black x16 slots.

Configuration:

Bus Slots =

PCI Express x16 card slot 1 Blue

PCI Express x4 card slot Black (Thunderbolt card)

PCI Express x16 card slot 2 Black

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7- Thorium

RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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yes my 8900 has 2 Pci-e x16 slots.

Yes, but one of those x16 slots is only wired as x4.  Read the specs sheet linked in my previous post, quote:

One PCIe x16 card slot (x4 wire)

That's probably why the two x16 slots are different colors. I say the single width x16 slot is black and that's probably also the one wired as x4.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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PLEAIDES
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RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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The Samsung Magician wouldl not clone from inside the case when hooked up as SATA, only externally through a USB appliance.  I did not do that.  I Formatted the Samsung inside the computer with Windows 10 Diskmanagement.  Shows primary partition.  Dell sent me a an OS disk to boot from, but after disconnecting the original spinning drive and trying to load the operating system to the new SSID, I get an error message saying that a necessary partition is lacked.  I do not know what that could be, since primary partition is what you do when you build from scratch.  Kinda wish I had.

Tech support tomorrow.

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w7ox
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RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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I more or less successfully installed a 1 TB Samsung 840 EVO SSD in my XPS 8900 -- "more or less" because two of the Dell recovery partitions were not created using Samsung Migration (not Magician), and I could not create a System Image nor recovery media from the SSD installation (the system otherwise seemed to run fine). Which partitions are there can be seen by doing Control Panel > Admin Tools > Disk Management.

I looked into this at some length, and found it can be done properly using Acronis True Image 2016 and following instructions in their manual http://www.acronis.com/en-us/download/docs/ati2016/userguide/  In the end I decided to forego using an SSD. I went to the XPS 8900 for the fast CPU (one app I have sometimes pushes it to 97% utilization) and for my uses the HDD vs. SSD speed difference was not all that remarkable -- once I've booted up.

If I were to try it again, I'd use Acronis True Image 2016 (which I have) and probably get it right after a couple of tries

My strategy  was always to keep the original HDD pristine vs. re-using it, so going back to HDD was so easy. And after several HDD-to-SSD and SSD-to-HDD swaps, I tired of the game. I'm very happy with my XPS 8900 as delivered -- with an added optical drive and a 1 TB HDD from my older Dell Vostro added to the mix.

Phil

h2ofun1
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RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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The difference in performance with my conversion to the SSD is just amazing.  ALL the programs just run so much faster.  Even the wife has been blown away on how much faster programs load, execute, etc.

Well worth the hassle.  And yes Acronis True Image is a great program.

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Bobby.C
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RE: Installing SSD as boot drive in XPS 8900

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I used the Samsung software that came with my SSD to clone the system from the Dell HDD to my new SSD, but not all of the partitions (recovery I think) came over to the Samsung SSD. The system works great but apparently I have no recovery partition now. I'm wondering what pitfalls this may bring in the future, and what my options may be in the event of disaster. Any thoughts?  Order a system CD from Dell?

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