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Kingston convenient SSD upgrade kits  

Now that SSDs are becoming more affordable it is a now a good time to enhance the performance of one’s PC. The SSDNow 300 upgrade kit from Kingston Technology provides the parts together with the necessary instructions to upgrade either a laptop or desktop.

Kingston Technology 240GB Solid State Drive V300 SATA 3 Upgrade Kit
click image to enlarge

Solid-state drives are more robust than hard drives as well as being faster, quieter and consume less power. While these are all key factors for the laptop user, speed is the major benefit in a desktop. While these SSDs are claimed to be 10 times faster than a hard drive, one never achieves this ideal as there are many factors involved.

As there are great similarities in upgrading both types of machines, each Kingston kit contain the parts required to upgrade both types of machines. These kits are available in capacity from 60 to 480GB. However, the 240 and 480GBwill be the ones of most general application.

One gets a very favourable view of the kit as soon as you open the box. Everything needed to upgrade a desktop or a laptop is packed in one neat cardboard box. As well as the SSD, the kit contains the 3.5inch drive mounting bracket together with the necessary screws, the SATA signal and power cables for fitting the SSD in a desktop machine, plus an external drive enclosure with its USB cable. This latter, in addition to being required for a laptop upgrade, can afterwards be used for the hard drive once it has been removed from the laptop.

The cloning software CD in the kit also contains the SSD install guide as well as videos showing how to install the SSD in either a laptop or a desktop machine. It is worth playing the appropriate video two or three times and reading through the SSDNow Install Guide while looking at your own machine. Doing this prior to starting the upgrade will ensure that you can understand what is involved and identify any possible snags that might hold up the job. Do you have the right size screwdriver(s)? Do the cables look long enough?

The videos and the install guide make the point that the SSD must have a greater capacity than the used space on the original hard disc. Once having confirmed that this was the case it was just a matter of switching off and fitting the new SSD in the desktop and connecting it up. If a laptop was being upgraded, the SSD would have been inserted into the provided external drive enclosure which would then be plugged into a free USB port.

In both cases, the provided clone software was used to transfer image of the hard drive onto the SSD. Know that this would take an appreciable time (probably a matter of hours) I left the machine to get on with it overnight.

From this point onwards, the procedure differs for the two different types of machine as, in the case of the laptop it was just a matter of removing the hard drive and replacing it with the SSD which now has been imaged. Then, once the hard drive is inserted into the drive enclosure one has an external USB drive that can be used for system backups.

With the desktop machine it is then necessary to re-boot the machine and go to the BIOS settings and make the Kingston SSD the boot drive instead of the hard drive. Once boot-up is complete it is a simple matter to use Windows Explorer to check that the change has been carried out and that the SSD has become the C: drive and that the existing hard drive has been re-allocated with a new letter.

Although it is possible to buy just the SSD and then source separately the cloning software etc. it much more convenient to buy a kit. In fact, despite it being a relatively straightforward task, without the kit I would probably have found it a daunting task.

Although it is only really worthwhile if your machine supports SATA III with its 6Gb/s interface, rather than the older 3Gb/s, the improvement in boot-up speed and in the starting of applications was definitely worthwhile and give a much faster and smoother “feel” to the way one works. In addition, whereas I previously left the machine on overnight because of my impatience with the time taken to get started in the morning, I now regularly turn it off at the end of the day.

Although there are 60 and 120GB drives (and the latter is only £50.79 on Amazon), the 240 and 480GB are really the preferred options. Part numbers SV300S3B7A/240G and SV300S3B7A/480G they are priced at £84.95 and £177.80 respectively on Amazon -- not too high a price to rejuvenate one’s machine.

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