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old_Bean
2 Bronze

XPS8700 (mid 2013) change or remove SSD?

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Hi guys,

INFORMATION

The XPS8700 was supplied new to me with a C drive fitted with a 256GB mSata SSD containing Windows 8, and also a D drive consisting of a 2Tb Seagate Hard drive for the data.

I have been using my XPS8700 24/7 since I purchased it 3 years ago, and my warranty is about to expire.

I upgraded to Win 10 preview, and it is currently running the 'Anniversary Edition'.  It has been working almost faultlessly with Windows 10 Pro, and so I will be continuing with it.

PROBLEM

  • One utility I use is now saying that the mSata SSD has a remaining likely length of 1year based upon the usage that it has undergone. - mainly Video editing.   I could believe that is quite possible.
  • In addition, some feedback has given me the impression that it was not wise to use an SSD for the Windows OS. 


QUESTION

  • So, should I disable the C drive SSD and just stay with the hard drive?
  • It sounds like it would be cheaper and more reliable for me in the long term???


OTHER ISSUES ARISING

  • If I disable the SSD - is there a FAQ where I can find out how to do this?
  • If I reinstall W10 clean I do not expect issues because it is activated, and I am expecting just disabling the C drive will not cause issues of reactivation.
  • However, another option is to remove the 2Tb hard drive and replace it with a 4 or 6Tb drive.  But would that cause the reactivation of Windows a problem since both the original C and D drives will have gone ?

Thanks for any useful opinions or experiences. I want to decide fairly soon.

Pete

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Philip_Yip
6 Indium

RE: XPS8700 (mid 2013) change or remove SSD?

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Your system performance will be severely hindered if you use the HDD for the Windows install opposed to the SSD. I advise making a Macrium Reflect backup:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/backing-up-your-windows-installation-using-macrium-reflect... 

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-windows-10-oem-and-retail-iso/ 

The price per GB for SSD are falling all the time however the mSATA is slowingly becoming obsolete... The system has multiple HDD bays so a 2.5" SSD will also work on this system.

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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14 Replies
Dan-H
4 Germanium

RE: XPS8700 (mid 2013) change or remove SSD?

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How good are your backups? If it crashed how sad would you be? If you have great backups and it a SSD failure would just be an annoyance then run it till it dies, and you may be surprised it lasts much longer than the tools say it will.

The easiest would be to add a 2.5" SSD and clone your current drive to it.

Also, before you do anything, extract the product key from the BIOS so if you have to re-install you have the key.

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Philip_Yip
6 Indium

RE: XPS8700 (mid 2013) change or remove SSD?

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Your system performance will be severely hindered if you use the HDD for the Windows install opposed to the SSD. I advise making a Macrium Reflect backup:

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/backing-up-your-windows-installation-using-macrium-reflect... 

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-windows-10-oem-and-retail-iso/ 

The price per GB for SSD are falling all the time however the mSATA is slowingly becoming obsolete... The system has multiple HDD bays so a 2.5" SSD will also work on this system.

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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old_Bean
2 Bronze

RE: XPS8700 (mid 2013) change or remove SSD?

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Thank you Dan

I think my backups are good enough. I use Acronis and generally do a monthly backup update plus a separate backup as a 'keeper' every 6 months max.

I must admit I had misunderstood mSATA and SSD when I purchased the unit. I thought they were the same.

Your idea sounds good. I presume SSD has a longer life than mSata drives mounted on the mobo.

I shall start looking around at prices.

Thank you for the BIOS tip.

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old_Bean
2 Bronze

RE: XPS8700 (mid 2013) change or remove SSD?

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Thank you natakuk4.

I guess I can do another disk clone using Acronis, although I quite like the idea of doing a clean Win 10 reinstall, because I don't think the W10 Anniversary edition is as good as the previous build.

My gripe might just be down to the Windows 10 update process, so I like the idea of a clean wipe and install so I can check the W10 install at  significant install steps.

Following on from your suggestion -  and Dan-H's  -  I quite like the idea of an SSD, making an assumption it has a lifetime of more than 3 years, and I shall investigate prices. Your point about enough space is a good one.

One last thing.

Would you advocate a C drive which is SSD and only contains the Windows OS plus stuff that 'usually goes there' (e.g. C:\USERS\user 1; Office files - AND THEN use the 2Tb Seagate HDD for other data storage, such as Video files or older documents?

I ask because there seems to be concerns about putting the Windows OS on one of the newer types of drive, and some people say you will get a speed increase but may have problems.

I guess that causes me to ask what is a reasonable disk strategy for the future?

I don't think I have a space issue.....I do backups - or even file old work - onto external WD Passports, so my drives are usually less than 50% full at most times.... I think my issue is to find a suitable drive to last 5 years if possible.

Any comments anyone?

Thanks

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Philip_Yip
6 Indium

RE: XPS8700 (mid 2013) change or remove SSD?

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I usually have the OS on the C: and data on the HDDs. See here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQXlya8Lljo 

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/a-clean-install-of-windows-8-1/solid-state-drive-and-hard-...

The SSD is fast so Windows and files you are working on for instance a video that's being edited should be on the SSD as this'll give you a performance boost in terms of raw speed. Files being stored should be on HDDs because they can store more and are better for long term storage solutions.

Dr Philip Yip
Tech Enthusiast and Author of the Unofficial Dell Windows Reinstallation Guide

Windows FAQs and OEM Downloads


#IDoNotWorkFor Dell
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old_Bean
2 Bronze

RE: XPS8700 (mid 2013) change or remove SSD?

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Thanks for your advice

Appreciated!

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old_Bean
2 Bronze

RE: XPS8700 (mid 2013) change or remove SSD?

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Guys,

Two  last questions please.

Do you have any recommendations for make of SSD?  I know Samsung is very popular and cost effective, but some say Intel is more appropriate.

Any suggestions about what to get  - or indeed - what to definitely avoid?  My first reaction to looking online is the vast specification range. If I said I wanted one approx. 500Gb, what do I need to look for to work with the XPS8700?

Do I need to also buy some sort of  caddy fitting specifically from Dell?

Finally, you mentioned extracting the product key from the BIOS.  I do not understand this.               Is it used to identify the Dell number or is it some part of Windows 8 or Windows 10 (in my case) ?

Thanks

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Dan-H
4 Germanium

RE: XPS8700 (mid 2013) change or remove SSD?

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My preference is the 2.5 inch 500 GB Samsung evo 850. It is a good size to hold programs and some data, just not all of your gigapixel photos or movies etc.

There are many adapters. I like the generic 5 1/4 ones that will hold a 3.5 or a 2.5 inch drive. It doesn't need to be fancy.

I suggest belarc advisor to get the BIOS key.

www DOT belarc.com/free_download.html

Also, I would run a diagnostic scan on that seagate drive. the family had three seagates, two in 8700s, one in an 8500 and two of three failed. I replaced the third a few weeks ago and am now running all WD drives.

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Dan-H
4 Germanium

RE: XPS8700 (mid 2013) change or remove SSD?

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I must admit I had misunderstood mSATA and SSD when I purchased the unit. I thought they were the same.

Your idea sounds good. I presume SSD has a longer life than mSata drives mounted on the mobo.

I'm not sure that a 2.5 inch SSD has longer life than an mSATA ssd, but the newer generation SSDs seem to be lasting longer and are faster.

The reason I like a 2.5 inch format is it is more portable when I want to upgrade, and there are tons of mounting choices. I helped a friend add one to a crowded small form factor PC and we used double stick tape and put it on top of the DVD burner. Ghetto - yes. But I think it is still working today a couple of years later.

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