The 32 GB SSD is used as a cache, to accelerate the operation of the disk. This uses the Intel RST software and drivers, and operates in RAID mode. I would have disabled first this mode, from the Intel software. If you are migrating the system to a larger SSD, you don´t need any special cache scheme. After you disable the mSATA cache mode, the 32 GB SSD should operate as a normal disk or SSD, you can keep it or unplug it.
Sorry for the late reply.
Yes, my computer is a little bit faster with the SSD. I have a new intel i7 (4th Generation processor). While I noticed a slight improvement with the SSD (I run the OS and all apps on the SSD), the performance WITHOUT the SSD was not bad at all. I just needed a little boost since I use Photoshop software for photo editing.
My computer came with 32MSATA +2TB HHD. Like another gentleman said, the MSATA is used as a cache to speedup write operation to the HDD. The combination of the MSATA +HDD provided good performance on my Dell desktop. I could have lived happily with this combination but wanted something a little better. The performance boost from using SSD is not too obvious. While I have no regrets, sometimes I wonder if I would have saved the money I invested on the SSD. Fast processor and memory are the most important performance factors followed by a fast access disk which MSATA cache + HDD can do but SSD does a little better.
There is no need to change your BIOS. Once you connect the SSD as your secondary disk, you do not need to change the bios. Just boot up on the HDD and clone the OS to the SSD drive. You can then shutdown the PC, disconnect the HDD, connect the SSD to the SATA connector initially used by the HDD. You want the boot device to use the first SATA connector. Then boot with ONLY the SSD connected to ensure you can boot from this device.
Then you can shutdown and connect the HDD as secondary. No BIOS changes needed. Leave as RAID...default settings. The only reason to change the BIOS is if you are just using the SSD as the only drive on the computer.
Also, the magician software provided by Samsung to optimize SSD performance DOES NOT WORK with default BIOS setting of "RAID". The Magician software would not see the SSD. I get warning when I boot up but I just click OK to get rid of it.
I wish I have the ability to tweak the SSD settings with the MAGICIAN software from Samsung to optimize performance of the SSD but the only way to get this software to work is to set BIOS settings to AHCI which prevents me from using my 2TB HDD. So, I chose less than optimal performance in other to be able to use my 2TB HDD which helps with photo storage.
many thanks for your reply. I"ve got Adobe Master Collection CS6 installed on my computer and the whole reason to replace a mechanical hard drive with an SSD is to get faster access to Photoshop and InDesign. Currently the boot time on my laptop Inspiron 17R is very fast but it takes a while to open Photoshop, Illustrate or InDesign. I am willing to invest a bit of money to have a better user experience since I use these programs very often. Currently, I am debating between cloning or a clean windows 8.1 PRO installation. I would probably do a clean installation but unfortunately, there is not a lot of info on the step by step process for Inspiron 17R, 1720. At the moment, I am thinking of cloning since it seems to be a straight forward process and if I get a quick access to my graphic design programs it will be worth a try.
many thanks for your response and your guidance. I really appreciate it.
Thanks Yuri. I don't mind sharing my experience. I learned a lot reading posts from others and the least I could do is to try to help others the same way I was helped.
Good luck with your install.
Clean install seems to be the cleanest way to get stable installation. You might want to use Dell backup to backup current system onto a flash drive or DVD (depending on the one your system supports). Then you will also need a media which Dell doesn't provide.
Cloning is easier and more straight forward. I have not heard of many issues with this option.
Once I get enough information about the clean installation on the Inspiron 17R, I will proceed further. My plan is to buy a Windows 8.1 PRO Disk from Amazon and SSD. I think it is worth trying as long as I can access my programs quicker. I will post my experience here once I am done. However, If I fail, I will try cloning then. I spend a lot of time on my computer so good experience means a lot to me..
Not sure if you know this: off the shelf windows CD WILL NOT WORK on dell computers. You must buy OEM disk/CDs from Dell....actually Dell might be able to send you one for your particular machine for a fee.
You might be better off cloning because of funny licensing issues with windows 8. You just can't purchase install CD and re-install on your PC. I believe COA is now embedded with the BIOS. Check Microsoft web site or better yet, call Dell for assistance if you need to re-install.