Last night, my brother bought our forth SSD—another Samsung SSD RBX Series 64GB MCCOE64G5MPP-0VAD1 SLC solid-state drive, disassembled from a Dell Latitude E Series—for $130. Having bought three of the same Samsung SSDs about a week ago from the same shop, the Dell dealer joked with my brother asking “do you have a research lab?!”
The device embracing this newly-purchased Samsung SSD is my sister’s Dell Inspiron Mini 10v (1011). The original operating system on the Mini 10 is Windows XP Home Edition ULCPC, and the hardware configuration comprises an Intel Atom N270 1.6 GHz with 512 kB L2 cache CPU, 1 GB DDR2 667 RAM, Intel GMA 950 64MB graphics adapter with VGA output, and finally a 160 GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD1600BEVT-75ZCT2 HDD. Apart from installing an SSD, I plan to replace its insufficient RAM with a 2 GB module in the future.
The first step was to patch Samsung MCCOE64G5MPP-0VA SSD with the PS105D15 firmware update (dated 3/25/2009) using my PC. Now that the SSD’s firmware is patched successfully, it’s time to view Mini 10v’s service manual, to know how to get into Mini 10v’s assembly safe and sound. Please note the Serial ATA controller in Dell Mini 10 doesn’t operate in SATA II mode, so you’ll see the SSD is detected as a SATA1 disk in Mini 10’s BIOS.
To install Windows on netbooks lacking DVD drive, the best practice is to prepare an external HDD having a few gigabytes of free space. Then you need to make an active FAT32 partition somewhere on the external USB hard disk drive, and copy the entire contents of your bootable Windows installation CD/DVD into the FAT32 active partition. Please note there’s no necessity for the active FAT32 partition to be the first partition. It can be the only partition on the disk, located somewhere between other partitions, or even the last partition on your USB portable HDD.
To clone recovery and OS partitions, I used “Acronis True Image Home 2010”, which I’m happy to announce is much faster, user-friendlier, and stabler than its previous version included in “Acronis Rescue Media” bootable CD. My tests also show not only it operates more supportive over AHCI, but cloning Windows 7 partitions between HDDs and SSDs, it doesn’t cause the “boot selection fail” with status 0xc000000f problem noticed before as “Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.”
After a fresh installation of Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit Build 7600, Windows System Assessment Tool (WinSAT) measured a Windows Experience Index (WEI) score of 6.1 for SSD’s disk data transfer rate. Now to make an SSD vs. HDD comparison benchmark, the Windows 7’s partition has to be cloned. While cloning the freshly-installed Windows 7 Ultimate x86 Build 7600 using Acronis True Image Home 2010 from the SSD (64GB Samsung MCCOE64G5MPP-0VAD1 SLC solid-state drive) into the HDD (160GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD1600BEVT-75ZCT2 hard disk drive) using my PC (ICH8 AHCI SATA 2), I observed True Image unbelievably finishing the cloning job in only 2 minutes!
The following table shows the accurate boot up benchmark for Dell Inspiron Mini 10v (1011) with its original Windows XP Home Edition ULCPC on HDD, Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit Build 7600 on HDD, and Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit Build 7600 on SSD respectively:
|Windows / Disk Type||Windows XP Home Edition ULCPC / HDD||Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit Build 7600 / HDD||Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit Build 7600 / SSD|
|Total seconds elapsed to finish POST||7.77||7.50||7.65|
|Total seconds elapsed before Windows welcomes user||34.72||39.68||29.36|
|Total seconds elapsed before Desktop is shown||42.67||58.48||35.41|
|Total seconds elapsed before tray icons are completely displayed||58.91||1:04.41||42.60|
Having allocated a total of 251MB graphics memory, Windows 7 enables it to sport better graphics comparing to its original Windows XP. Now it plays wide full-HD (1920×1080) DivX/Xvid AVI videos with bitrates as high as 6Mbps without getting out of sync. Tried an 8Mbps Xvid HD video in Media Player Classic – Home Cinema, but after a few moments it got out of sync. Matroska video containers require more processing comparing to DivX/Xvid AVIs while being decoded, so I believe it’ll jitter playing an MKV sooner than a high-bitrate DivX/Xvid AVI.