I own an XPS 8300 (early 2011) which currentrly runs on 2 500GB HHDDs, in RAID-0 configuration. It is unknown to me if the RAID is software or hardware controlled. I've been having problems with one of the hard drives ever since it arrived home (it suddenly makes a clicking sound and the system fails, usually up again after 1 or 2 reboots).
Now I wish to upgrade to a newer and faster SSD, but I have a couple of doubts.
First of all, I don't know if the motherboard is compatible with SSD. What type of SSD should I get, if it even supports them? Can it be done?
Second, seeing that SSD are quite expensive, I was thinking about buying a 500GB SSD on wich I would run the OS, and keep one of the HHDD (the good one) on a separate drive letter for extra storage. Now the thing is that I don't know how the current RAID-0 configuration affects this. How do I prepare a member disk for usage as standalone? And if I'ts hardware controlled, how do I disable this so that I can use the SSD and the HHDD without RAID?
And lastly, I'm worried about my Windows license. I bought the system with Widnows 7 Home Premium, and I later upgraded to Windows 10 with the free upgrade from Microsoft. The thing is, I don't have a Windows 10 license, I just have a Windows 7 OEM license which enabled me to get Win10 back then. Will I lose Win10? How can I reinstall it without having a proper Win10 key?
Since your motherboard supports SATA drives something like the Samsung 850 EVO 500GB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E500B/AM) for around $140 should work fine. You may also need a 2.5" to 3.5" disk adapter in order to mount it. In the BIOS you will have to set SATA Mode to AHCI.
To prepare the member disk for usage I would disconnect it, switch the SATA Mode to AHCI (it is probably set to RAID now), install the SSD, install Windows, and then once everything is working re-connect the member disk and re-initialize it to use as additional storage. Obviously, you would want to backup all your data before starting.
With regards to the Windows activation, Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account. See All Settings/Update & Security/Activation in your current version of Windows. You can use Microsoft's Media Creation Tool to create the installation media.
The XPS 8300 supports SSDs as long as they are the 2.5" format. I have had a Crucial MX200 in mine for a couple of years. They now offer the MX500:
The 2.5" drive will fit into the 3.5" drive bay but it won't be snug, you can just leave it sitting there because you are unlikely to use the system once its setup (in my XPS 8300 I put it in the 2nd Disc Drive bay as I have 3 Drives in my system) or you can but a 2.5 " to 3.5 " caddy to be sure it won't move:
Note when installing the SSD use SATA 0 or SATA 1 as these run at SATA III speeds giving you maximum performance whereas SATA 2 or SATA 3 run at SATA II speeds. You should also change the SATA operation to AHCI in the BIOS setup as you no longer need a RAID configuration.
You can download Windows 10 Installation Media from Microsoft. Note this system just missed out in UEFI, so when making Windows 10 Installation Media ensure you use the MBR Partition Scheme for Legacy BIOS and NTFS format.
Despite Microsoft's unhelpful "1 year Free Upgrade" marketing, all activation mechanisms for Windows 10 still work. During installation skip entry of the Product Key (or manually input your Windows 7 Home Premium OEM Key affixed to your XPS 8300's COA) and select Windows 10 Home during installation. As the system is a Windows 10 Home Device it's system hardware profile (motherboard details) is already registered with a Microsoft Product Activation server which will recognise your motherboard and will automatically reactivate in the background when online. More details on Windows 10 Installation are here:
Windows 10 has all the necessary drivers inbuilt for this model.
Thank you Vic384 and Philip_Yip for your replies.
How do I set SATA operation to AHCI in BIOS? Is there anywhere I can look this up?
Also, I don't understand the difference between SATA with Arabic numbers and SATA with Roman numbers. How Do I set this In BIOS? Sorry for my lack of knowledge.
Thanks again for the help!
EDIT: After opening up the PC, I realize that SATA 0 through 4 are ports on the motherboard. Sorry about that.
Yes the connectors on the motherboard are called SATA0, SATA1, SATA2 and SATA3. SATA0 and SATA1 have SATAIII speed while SATA2 and SATA3 have SATAII speed.
To set SATA operation to AHCI in the BIOS, it appears that it is in Advanced settings, System Configuration, SATA Mode. You can look it up in the service manual page 106.
Hello. I have question similar to previous. Is ti possible to upgrade XPS 8300 to PCI-e SSD, let say Samsungs 970 EVO 500 GB M.2 PCI e. Is the only PCI-e in computer used for graphic card? Thank you.
Are only the 0 and 1 sata ports good for sata III on the XPS 8920 also?
Restart it and when the Windows logo appears start tapping F2 until the bios appears and change to ahci. (My 8920 won't run in ahci mode).
You can put duct tape on 2 sides of the 2.5" ssd if you don't have an adapter to a 3.5" bay.
Hi, is it possible to add an internal SSD to a RAID-1 XPS(-8300) system as an extra drive without changing the BIOS settings for the primary drive? I want to continue using my current Windows 10 Home installation on RAID-1. The SSD would only be for (hopefully) better MySQL database performance. I can do without the optical drive.