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  1. #1
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    Default Upgrade Dell Inspiron 1721 to a SSD?

    I am considering upgrading the HDD (160GB) in my almost five year old Dell Inspiron 1721 laptop to an SSD. Is it a worthwhile upgrade that will make any difference in bootup/startup performance? This computer runs Windows 7-32 bit (originally came with Vista), the processor is an AMD Turion64 Mobile Technology, it has 3GB of RAM. What kind of SSD should I look for? Other than a somewhat slow bootup the computer runs fine.

    Thanks,

    Duffy

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Upgrade Dell Inspiron 1721 to a SSD?

    It sounds that you lack experience here, so avoid the Crucial M4. Though it's popular, there's no software or toolbox that comes with their SSD's, other than what forum support you get, you're on your own. I found this out the hard way just a few months ago.

    About three months later, on the same notebook, I upgraded to this SSD. It comes with cloning software that will correctly align your partitions, a Toolbox to fine tune some things (enable/disable services) & the optimization tool that you run when installed, then weekly, on a schedule if you like. You will need to connect the SSD via your USB port for the cloning software to install to the current OS, a docking station or drive enclosure will do the trick. There are other gadgets that allows you to connect the SSD via your USB port, but beware of dirt cheap ones, some has been known to toast devices.

    Newegg.com - Intel 330 Series Maple Crest SSDSC2CT180A3K5 2.5" 180GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

    This is a killer SSD for the money, it even comes with some extras, such as a desktop (3.5" converter), plus SATA & Power adapter (Molex to SATA), & SATA data cable, I suppose for those with older computers who adds a SATA card. The 3.5" converter simply allows to replace a current HDD with the SSD, using the already installed power & SATA cables. Comes with an ample supply of screws for the job.

    Samsung also is a very popular brand & their drives also ships with software to keep the drive in tune & can run XP & above. I'm not sure about what hardware it ships with.

    The good thing about the Intel, is that it's slightly larger than what you have, so if you're not dual booting, you'll have space for a Data partition should you want it & I suggest that you have one. Data should be kept separate from the OS. Normally, 80GB is plenty for a OS install for most users, 100GB gives a good cushion. That would leave you with plenty of space for Data.

    Duffy, my suggestion is based on my experience with the Intel that I bought, & have no reason to believe that you won't have as good as one as I have. You won't get true SATA 3 speeds with your hardware, neither do I, we both have SATA 2 MB's. As far as that goes, it's difficult to obtain full SATA 2 speeds. The other difference is age, mine is almost 2 years old & yours is 5. That may play a part, but it's really in how well your computer is running prior to the upgrade, having current drivers as possible (I presume that you do have a SATA 2 HDD now).

    But just because we have SATA 2 MB's, doesn't mean to go with a SATA 2 SSD. Why? Because SSD OEM's puts SATA 3 as first quality because that's what sells the best. Many of the SATA 2 SSD's are made by second rate OEM's like Mushkin & OCZ (read reviews). Many, many desktop users with SATA 3 MB's are booting from SSD's & using old timey platters for storage. Some OEM's are even rolling new PC's out like this, a 120GB SSD Boot drive & 1TB (or larger) storage drive.

    This is even the case with some notebooks, upper end ones oftentimes has a 256MB SSD + a 750GB HDD, in a couple of models, a SSD + 2 HDD's.

    There is the Seagate Hybrid models, which I considered, but overall ratings caused me to stay away. Heat, excessive vibration & lessened battery life were factors in these ratings, & my decision.

    On the plus side, you'll get longer battery life with a SSD, no moving parts. Plus less heat, due to the same reason. Heat is the #1 enemy to computers, especially notebooks. Older models tends to be built more sturdy, so you may have an advantage there. No having to defrag any longer (this causes excessive wear on SSD's).

    At today's RAM prices, I'd advise you to go ahead & stuff the extra gig of RAM in there, even though you're only using a portion of it. Oftentimes at Newegg, RAM is cheap, the quality type. I paid $29.99 a year ago for 8GB (4GB x2) GSkill 1333 (10700) DDR3 RAM, on promo. 4GB (2GB x2) will be slightly less, but don't expect a huge savings, as 8GB is considered the "sweet spot" for dual channel RAM now. But if you have DDR2 RAM, it'll actually cost more. Weird, but that's how it works. Recently I upgraded a Dell Dimension 2400 from 768MB to 2GB DDR 3200 RAM, it was over $50. No, that's not a typo, the 8GB of DDR3 RAM that I earlier mentioned was over $20 less, for far more RAM (quantity & type).

    The real pain with that is, I had a Dell Latitude myself, four of them (2 D610's & 2 C640's), while one of the RAM chips are easily accessible, the other requires keyboard removal. It's not hard, but removing the bezel (where the power & other buttons may be) is a delicate operation, & it best removed with a plastic utensil, not a metal one. The keyboard from there is a breeze to remove, about three screws, it slides forward (towards the screen), but not too fast, there's a wire under there.

    It's not a requirement, just a thought to get all that you can out of the memory. My situation was different than yours, I only had a total of 1GB RAM (512MB x2) installed, so you can easily understand why I wanted to double my RAM to 2GB (it's max). You won't notice a big as a difference as I did there.

    I believe that you'll benefit from a quality SSD, but steer away from a new type of SSD that Crucial has released, the V4, targeted at those whose computers were built prior to 2011. Their claims have been refuted by many, on sites like Newegg, their rating is very low, & it's been reported that these are actually made from first generation technology, which may have been great years ago (in the early to early mid 2000's), but not hardly better today than a standard SATA 3 7200rpm HDD with a 64MB cache (unheard of then).

    Hopefully, this gives you an idea of what's involved, actually it's a fairly easy process, if you have what's needed to begin with. That 128MB M4 cost me just $20 less than the Intel that I linked above. I placed it in my other computer (the HP listed below), it runs faster than with the WD RE4 (7200 rpm, 64MB cache), but not as fast as it did in the MSI. But it was a low spec PC in every way to begin with, it's going to take more than a SSD to speed it up. It also needs more CPU & RAM.

    Cat

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Upgrade Dell Inspiron 1721 to a SSD?

    Thanks Cat for responding to my post,

    You are correct that I lack experience with this subject. I'm afraid that I would mess it up. The 180GB Intel SSD through Newegg.com sounds like a good one to get.
    Now about the extra 1GB of RAM. I bought 3GB of RAM a couple of years ago. Put 2GB in the accessible area on the bottom. I felt uneasy about putting in that 1GB
    stick under the keyboard. But I suppose that it should just do it.

    I don't expect that the 1721 will be a speed demon even with more RAM plus an SSD. It has only a 1.9GB CPU. But I think it will help some.

    BTW, I tried putting RP on that computer. No go! It has Vista drivers. What held it up was Catalyst Control Center-Branding. I downloaded the new version. Sleep worked but I received an error message when on the Desktop. I then removed RP and went back to 7.

    Duffy

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    Default Re: Upgrade Dell Inspiron 1721 to a SSD?

    It could be that your computer may be too old to run Windows 8, which is the beauty of the betas. You can try them, if they run good, buy them, if not, skip it. At least you did know before you dropped $40 on it.

    Some computers are better off leaving 7 on them, but I recommend anyone who has Vista to move forward to 7, there's no reason why a Vista equipped computer won't run 7. Most, but not all, will run 8.

    Actually, I consider myself kind of lucky, as my CPU is only 1.5GHz, & have 4 GB (2x2) PC2-6400 DDR2 RAM on it. It's actually notebook style RAM in it. That's probably what you're running, is the same or close to it. I believe that PC2-6400 is the end of the line for DDR2 notebook RAM.

    And that's why the M4 SSD isn't as fast as it was in the MSI, what's under the hood. But it is faster than a SATA 2 HDD. You'll see improved performance, but don't expect a 15 second boot to having a usable browser. You have to have a little more muscle under the hood.

    As far as your current notebook, it should last through Windows 7 if cared for, after then, it'll have some age on it. But those Dells are stout, some knocks them, but mine ran fairly well. Just keep the dust out of it so that it'll cool properly, you've still got some life left in it. At least another 5 years.

    Cat

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