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Installing new SSD in Dell Inspiron 15z Laptop

RUsum1 9,537 1,696 January 13, 2014 at 01:01 AM More Microsoft Store Deals
I purchased the Dell Inspiron 15z Laptop [microsoftstore.com] from Microsoft Store but have yet to open it as it's a gift for someone. I have questions regarding this laptop

1) It comes with 32GB SSD + 500GB HDD. Is this a hybrid drive or is there space for two hard drives (one SSD and one HDD)?
2) If it's just one hybrid drive, is it worth it to "upgrade" to a 90GB SSDnow 200 V+?
3) If I do upgrade it, what's the best method to get a clean Windows installation onto the hard drive? I don't want to reinstall whatever added Dell software may come with the computer so I doubt doing an image backup of the C drive would be best

*please quote my post so I know when people respond.

Thanks for help

41 Comments

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#2
Your SSD is a caching SSD, meant to speed up performance, much like the hybrid drive you mentioned, only in two separate parts and more efficient.
The mSATA caching SSD goes into a slot, similar to a laptop's wifi slot.
The SSD itself is generally around 1 inch by 1 1/2. (approx.)

There are people who have managed to install the operating system onto the mSATA drive, but they had to up the size, as 32 gigs is a wee bit too small.
If all is normal, that laptop should be plenty fast as is and the only thing that needs to be done is to tweak it a bit, just like any other laptop.
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#3
Quote from RockySosua View Post :
Your SSD is a caching SSD, meant to speed up performance, much like the hybrid drive you mentioned, only in two separate parts and more efficient.
The mSATA caching SSD goes into a slot, similar to a laptop's wifi slot.
The SSD itself is generally around 1 inch by 1 1/2. (approx.)

There are people who have managed to install the operating system onto the mSATA drive, but they had to up the size, as 32 gigs is a wee bit too small.
If all is normal, that laptop should be plenty fast as is and the only thing that needs to be done is to tweak it a bit, just like any other laptop.
So that 32GB SSD is a mSSD? And it's a basic 500GB hard drive that contains the OS? Could the mSSD be swapped?

How easy/difficult would it be to install the OS onto that 32GB mSSD instead of the HDD? Would that speed things up even more than it's current configuration? How much space is remaining for the necessary programs on that 32GB drive? (antivirus, internet, VLC, maybe iTunes although the music would obviously be stored on the HDD)
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#4
Quote from RUsum1 View Post :
So that 32GB SSD is a mSSD? And it's a basic 500GB hard drive that contains the OS? Could the mSSD be swapped?

How easy/difficult would it be to install the OS onto that 32GB mSSD instead of the HDD? Would that speed things up even more than it's current configuration? How much space is remaining for the necessary programs on that 32GB drive? (antivirus, internet, VLC, maybe iTunes although the music would obviously be stored on the HDD)
There isn't enough space on that mSATA SSD to hold the full OS, plus the programs, plus the apps, plus the App Data.
My touchsceen laptop is using 39.2 gig, of which only 2.2 gigs are my data, so call it a total of 37 gigs.
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#5
Quote from RockySosua View Post :
There isn't enough space on that mSATA SSD to hold the full OS, plus the programs, plus the apps, plus the App Data.
My touchsceen laptop is using 39.2 gig, of which only 2.2 gigs are my data, so call it a total of 37 gigs.
There's no way to reduce that? Seems rather large but maybe I'm wrong. My Windows 7 installation takes up under 30GB but it has some other programs installed on it as well. I guess I would have to really look to see what programs are on my C drive. Wasn't XP incredibly small in size? like 15GB or less?

So now I guess I need to find a deal on an mSATA drive.
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#6
Quote from RUsum1 View Post :
There's no way to reduce that? Seems rather large but maybe I'm wrong. My Windows 7 installation takes up under 30GB but it has some other programs installed on it as well. I guess I would have to really look to see what programs are on my C drive. Wasn't XP incredibly small in size? like 15GB or less?

So now I guess I need to find a deal on an mSATA drive.
I don't think so.
It's bloody fast the way it is.
But.... if you really want to install 8 on the SSD, you will need a bigger drive.
I'll take some screenshots and post them shortly. They will help you evaluate what size you would need.
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#7
This is a system that was installed a week ago and hasn't had time to bloat.
We can deduct 15 gigs of personal data that you wouldn't store on the mSATA SSD, as well as the 37 gigs of recorded TV, so it would be 80 gigs minus 52, leaving only 28.
That would barely fit on a 32 gig SSD and would have no room for more apps, programs, app data, bloat, etc.
I would say that an 80 gigger would be the bare minimum for your type of set up.
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#8
This screenshot is from one of my laptops running 8.
It's closer to 5 months old and has had a chance to bloat up a bit, although it's smaller than most, as it was a clean install, as opposed to an OEM, and I keep it clean.
It is using almost 38 gigs and my own data is only occupying 1 gig of that space, so there's no chance of a 32 gig SSD doing the job.
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#9
I was going to post the TreeSize screenshots for yet another machine running 8, but has no touchscreen, so it uses a lot less space as it has no user added apps, but the fact of the matter is that your machine does have a touchscreen and the OS simply cannot be properly installed on a 32 gig SSD, but there's a greater obstale in front of us.
The question of it being possible to do on your laptop.
So far, the only mSATA OS installations that I have seen, were done on PC's, which have much more flexible and diverse bios settings, and I'm not sure that your laptop's bios will allow you to install onto your mSATA disk.
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#10
32GB isn't big enough for a comfortable Windows 8 installation and it's a lot of trouble to replace the mSATA drive on your Dell. Your easiest option would be to replace the 500GB hard drive if you wanted to upgrade. I would look into a minimum of 120GB if you decide to do so. They can be had for ~$60 but even that capacity may be too small depending on your needs.

Personally I would leave the machine as is. A 32GB caching drive combined with a 500GB disk drive is a good mix of storage capacity and performance for casual users.
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Last edited by heero884 January 14, 2014 at 03:55 PM
#11
I recently installed and upgraded to win 8.1 from a win 7 OEM setup. The clean install was ~20GB. To reduce size please run disk clean (select clean system files option also) up as there is 5-10 gb of crap after the install is over. First was 5 gb of window.old files : remnants of win 7 files. Then if you are on win 8, there are tons of fixes and then ~3gb of Win8.1 install. Instead of doing all the fixes and then install win8.1, you need to install just 1 fix on win 8 (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-u...date-store) and then win 8.1 becomes visible for install. Once you install 8.1 it install all the other fixes too as it is a cumulative upgrade.

plus I believe, keeping disk snapshots/restore points will also take space.

Defrag your HDD, then use Admin tools to shrink HDD and then use the empty space to create new disk to store your personal files.
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#12
I suspect that Dell is using Intel's Smart Response Technology, or something quite similar, to cache the most-used data on the SSD. The software analyzes usage patterns and determines which files are accessed most often and will copy them to the SSD. It was tested here: http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/...ching-148/ and found to be very close to the same speed as having the OS installed on an SSD. Looks like you should stop worrying, save your money, and enjoy your blazing fast new laptop. Wink
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#13
Quote from HarryH3 View Post :
I suspect that Dell is using Intel's Smart Response Technology, or something quite similar, to cache the most-used data on the SSD. The software analyzes usage patterns and determines which files are accessed most often and will copy them to the SSD. It was tested here: http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/...ching-148/ and found to be very close to the same speed as having the OS installed on an SSD. Looks like you should stop worrying, save your money, and enjoy your blazing fast new laptop. Wink
All the good brand laptops that I have bought with caching SSD's, seemed every bit as fast as if they had a regular SSTA SSD.
I've only ever found one that didn't work right until I rebuilt it around 20 times. Big surprise, it was an Acer, kings of the cheapos.
The Dells, Asus, HP machines with caching SSD's work like a charm and need no further improving, IMO.
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#14
Quote from RockySosua View Post :
All the good brand laptops that I have bought with caching SSD's, seemed every bit as fast as if they had a regular SSTA SSD.
I've only ever found one that didn't work right until I rebuilt it around 20 times. Big surprise, it was an Acer, kings of the cheapos.
The Dells, Asus, HP machines with caching SSD's work like a charm and need no further improving, IMO.
Ah, Acer. Company motto: "Our stuff may suck, but it sure is cheap!" Wink
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#15
I have this same laptop and am loving it so far. Got it on the $399 pre Black Friday deal. I'm just a casual user and it's fast as it can be for me. I know, not any help, but just was excited to see a post about my laptop....LOL! I love the touchscreen!
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