Re: XPS 435MT SSD

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3. Installed the Intel controller (download and install Intel Matrix Storage) and drivers.

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I am going down a similar path as you - trying to install an SSD on an XPS 435mt running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, but slightly worried about the consequences of setting RAID in the BIOS in order to obtain AHCI support. I currently have two SATA hard drives in a non-RAID configuration. I have also seen (perhaps outdated) reports that TRIM support does not necessarily work if RAID is enabled in the BIOS, even if the disks themselves are non RAID.

So, given your own experience, my questions are:

a) When you say that you "installed the Intel controller and drivers", could you be more specific about exactly which software version you installed?

b) Perhaps this is just my ignorance, but I presume there is no need to install Intel Matrix Storage if the disks are in a non-RAID ('JBOD') configuration?

c) Are you sure that TRIM support is enabled on your system?

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8 Krypton

Re: XPS 435MT SSD

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OK - here's my read on your questions.  To provide context, I'm an experienced user but not a technician.

We basically have the same systems and I have been up and running with vastly improved performance and no issues at all - so you can proceed with confidence so long as you follow all the steps in the same order.

I would suggest that you do a full backup and make sure that you have created a boot disk prior to proceeding.  I didn't have any problems, but better safe than sorry.

It is very important to run the Microsoft FIX to adjust your registry first - otherwise you will have trouble booting after enabling RAID.  Yes - do install Intel Matrix Storage as noted.  To be honest, I'm not sure why it is needed - it may have something to do with the drivers.  But, again, better safe than sorry.

I wouldn't worry about enabling RAID.  You are not going to assign your drives to a RAID so it won't effect how your drives store data - no danger of data loss.  You are just enabling RAID to get the AHCI protocals.  You need AHCI for speed - AHCI allows multiple simultaneious commands to your SSD drive.

If you follow the steps outlined in my prior posting Windows 7 will locate and load the drivers  - it won't be an extra step.  

My reading suggests that the Trim discussons on the fourms are based upon misconceptions.  TRIM is apparently native to Windows 7.  Also many SSDs don't require TRIM - they have their own "garbage" programs.  That said, I ran the line command I found in the forums and it confirmed that TRIM is running on my system.

I am very pleased with the speed improvements on my system - the SSD was a great investment.  I may not be getting the full benefit of the SSD - I might get even more speed if I installed a SATA 3 pci card and ran the SSD off the card.  But I'm very satisfied with the speed I got so I won't bother.  (The pci card was my plan "B" if it turned out that I didn't get the speed I expected.)

If you are going to clone your operating system over I can recommend the paragon migrate software - it makes everything so easy.  It does all the hard stuff with partitions and makes it easy to only move the operating system and programs, leaving those huge mp3 and photo files on your old drive.  (Then you just go into your programs and adjust settings to find your files on the old drive.)

If you are going to do a clean install of Windows 7 you don't need paragon.  I'm happy I cloned - I had no problems.

You will probably have problems attaching the SSD to your Dell case - the 2.5 to 3.5 bracket doesn't attach well.  (I used a little electrician's tape to secure the bracket as suggested in a forum.  There are no moving parts on the SSD so you can get a little creative here.)

Good luck - just make sure you follow the steps in the right order and you should do fine!

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Re: XPS 435MT SSD

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Hi HB2,

Many thanks for your posts and your very extensive replies to my questions - they are extremely helpful. Having looked around on the internet I had almost been deterred from trying to install an SSD into the XPS 435MT, but the step by step procedure that you describe sounds sensible and definitely worth trying.

As to the physical installation of an SSD, I will have to fit it into the spare 5.25" optical drive bay (both 3.5 bays are occupied by hard drives), but I'm sure I can work something out here, even if it means resorting to sticky tape.

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Poke13
6 Indium

Re: XPS 435MT SSD

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This sounds great, I too have the 435MT and am very interested in installing an SSD or even two (if it is a viable and useful option) I want to refresh my system to hopefully make it last a few more years. The system has been pretty much flawless since the end of 2008/Jan 2009 (i think it was), the only realy issue being the fan going in to hoover mode when you render something or McAfee is doing a system scan!!

My question now after seeing this advice is this. I ordered the system and it is setup running 2 x 500gb drives in RAID 0. It has impressive transfer rates and it is pretty <ADMIN NOTE: Profane word removed as per TOU> quick for most things although sometimes hangs slightly due to seeking/spinning.

This must mean my system is already in RAID mode (i have optical blu ray writer drive that works great with no problems also from original Dell order)?

I am currently running Vista 64bit Ultimate but am thinking of getting a new full OEM version of Windows 7 Prof/Ultimate 64 bit, I guess I could clean install this on to SSD?

I even thought if I could not install SSD of buying two new fast mechanical drives just to try and ensure a more reliable and hopefully even quicker system?

Finally I installed 6 x 4gb Kingston 1600 Grey RAM for 24gb RAM as described on another post but windows is only recognising 16gb (bios and CPU-Z see 24gb)??

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Thanks

Poke13/Jonny

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8 Krypton

Re: XPS 435MT SSD

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Yes, if you are in RAID 0 you are in RAID - so the steps I outlilned to enable RAID wouldn't be necessary.

RAID 0, as I understand it, allowed you to combine your two 500 gb disks into one larger drive - 1TB.  Apparantly there are speed advantages  with Raid ) but it also increases the risk of failure - if either drive fials your system fails. I think RAID 0 does't do "parity checking" - which gives you additonal speed at the cost of additional safety.  

You might want to consider migrating to newer hard drives and moving away from RAID 0.  You can get a 1.5 TB drive for a modest investment. then use one of your existing drives as backup.  You could also use one of your existing drives for storage for your video - I have recorded televison on a separate partition.  

I don't have experience with RAID 0, so I can't compare the speed advantage you got with RAID 0 to the speed improvement you would get with the SSD, but I'm under the impression that the SSD is much faster than any mechancial hard disk (even setup as RAID 0).

Be careful if you move away from RAID 0 - changing the RAID assigned to your existng hard drives could result in data loss.

A "safe" method would be to install your new SDD drive and do a clean install of your newly purchased operating system to the SSD drive.  Then install your new 1.5 or 2 TB hard drive, and copy your data files from your existing drives to the new drive.  Then adjust your softward settings to find your data on your new drive.

Leave your old drives "as is" for a few months to make sure that you moved all critical data to your new drive.  After you are confident that all is well, you could proceed with safety to use them as you wish.  You could leave them in RAID 0 and format them and use them as a backup, or take them out of RAID 0 and use them as two individual hard drives.  Just keep in mind that RAID 0 is flirting with danger.

Best wishes!

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Lacosu
1 Copper

Re: XPS 435MT SSD

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I put a crucial M4 512gb ssd im my 435mt, it now screams! I just could not mirror the drive so I have it set up, dual boot, Win 7 Ultimate and win 8 pro, you talk about fast!!

Before installing the system I made sure it was recognized in my bios it was, works fine. Only problem is win 8, it doesn't recognize my blue tooth. All my sub scores are at 7.4

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HS_54
1 Copper

Re: XPS 435MT SSD

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Hi HB2, I am new at this, and my level is that of a regular user.

I am attempting to add an SSD as my boot drive and leave the HDD for storage not realizing the bios did not support the ahci.  By the way, I am doing a clean install from the windows 7 (64) dvd disk.

First of, let me say that I really like your provided instructions on how to go about accomplishing just that.  I am not bad at following them , however as I said before, just a regular user and therefore a little confused on a few items that if you could, I would really appreciate your guidance on.

Currently there is no os installed on my computer as I removed the old drive

1. I downloaded the Microsoft Fix it 50470 but was wondering how to run it prior of the os installation.

2. Where do I download the Intel Matrix Storage from, I searched the net, and found a host of versions that for the most do not list windows 7 as one supported.  And again, if I were to get the right Intel Matrix Storage how do I install it prior to the os?

Everything else in your instructions seem straight forward, so if you could enlighten me on the above two issues, I would be very grateful as I do want to use the SSD.

Thanks a lot for your assistance,

Hiram

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8 Krypton

Re: XPS 435MT SSD

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Hi, Hiram

Just a reminder that I'm not a technician - somewhere between regular user and power user.  So keep that in mind . . .

I didn't take the path that you are following - i.e. start with a fresh install.  You might find someone who went that route - that would add to your confidence as you proceed.

That said, this approach sounds like it would work:

1. Back up to an external hard drive and make a book CD just to be safe.

2.  Install the SSD drive (C drive) in the 0 slot and move the HD (F Drive)to extra slot.

3.  Do a fresh install of windows 7 to the SSD.

2. Run Fix it 50470 to make the registry changes.  Must do prior to next steps.  support.microsoft.com/.../922976

3. Install the Intel controller (download and install Intel Matrix Storage) and drivers

https://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&ProdId=3154&DwnldID=18064&keyword=+Intel+Mat...

7. Change boot order to make sure SSD was first. (F2 during reboot)

8. Define the location for documents, music, photos, videos (eg right click on My Photos and move location to F Drive where my photos are now located).

9. Your media player will need to find and index photos and music.

10. Adjust settings on programs that point to C for data when data is now on F.

 

That should get you to a fresh windows install with RAID enabled in bios.

You will need to reinstall all your programs with the fresh install, and you will have to set the options in each program to find your data on your old drive.  I'm assuming you will keep your old drive for data as your SSD drive is probably too small for large photo or mp3 collections.  The experts seem to think that putting your data on a second drive (rather than your boot drive) is a good idea.  You will want your programs installed on your SSD drive to get the speed you want.

So - to answer your questions

1.  I think you should run the Fix after you do the fresh install of windows 7.  As I suggested above, do the steps I outlined in my earlier posting (including the Fix) after you have installed the SSD and completed a fresh windows 7 install.  Make sure you do each step in the order I suggested skipping step 5 (you will have already installed the SSD) and step 6 (you did a fresh install rather than clone as outlined in step 6)

 

2.  This link looks like it has the correct download for the Intel Matrix Storage Manager

https://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&ProdId=3154&DwnldID=18064&keyword=+Intel+Mat...

Good luck!

 

 

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HS_54
1 Copper

Re: XPS 435MT SSD

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Hey HB2!   Great thanks a lot.

I thought I had to install the os prior to running the fix and installing the Intel matrix Storage Manager.  

I did noticed however that you did not mentioned switching to RAID before the clean install.  Would you say that I need to set the RAID mode first and then follow the rest of the steps?

Thanks again this is great advise and will allow me to attempt the ssd addition with more confidence.

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8 Krypton

Re: XPS 435MT SSD

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I would do the RAID after the clean install.

Your SD drive will be operating slower – as the bios wouldn’t have changed – then when you change the bios it should work properly.  My concern would be that if you did the bios prior to the clean install you might run into the problems that the “Fix” and the Intel download are supposed to fix.  

I don’t think you can harm anything by doing the clean install first – your SD drive will just work more slowly until you have changed the bios to support trim and simultaneous calls to the SD drive.  Just don’t re-install all your programs until you are satisfied with the speed because if this approach doesn’t work you will need to start over.  You won’t want to have wasted all that time installing programs, pointing to data, etc. if you have to start over.

At least that’s my thinking, for what its worth.  Smile

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