Home > DIY, Technology > Toshiba R830 laptop SSD retrofit upgrade

Toshiba R830 laptop SSD retrofit upgrade

My Toshiba R830 laptop weighs 1.43 kg. Pretty good mobile laptop with an i5 processor. The specs are pretty decent, with 6GB of RAM, a decent video card and more importantly a CD drive at that weight!!! Full HDMI, VGA and USB 3.0 ports. My only gripe was that the hard drive was a bit of a let down with only 5400 RPM. Furthermore a friend of mine dropped my laptop and it was acting up. Instead of buying a new laptop with a new HDD. I spent £130 to get a Samsung SSD 830 with 256GB capacity.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-2-5inch-Notebook-Accessory-Norton/dp/B005OK6VLS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345484724&sr=8-1

It is the standard 2.5-inch SSD that will fit most laptops. Double check first if in doubt. The Samsung SSD comes with a USB transfer cable and Norton Ghost to mirror your existing hard drive. As with good practice, I restored my HDD to its factory setting. It is never advisable to replace your HDD by just copying it as a mirror image to a new HDD and swapping it out. Your operating system will be unstable. However, my laptop did not come with a Windows installation CD. Most laptops now ship with a hidden restore partition that is not accessible and which contains all your installation files. In order to get around this problem of having a fresh Windows installation on my new Samsung SDD, this is what I did:

It is advisable to backup all your files or just use Dropbox!

Step 1: Restore my laptop to factory setting from its original HDD.

Step 2: Use Norton Ghost to mirror the entire HDD (together with the restore partition) onto the new Samsung SSD using the USB cable provided.

Step 3: Replace the HDD with the SSD. And power up. This is relatively simple, just unscrew the back panel of laptop. Unscrew the HDD and remove the cable. Replace it with your new SSD and reattach the cable and screw everything back.

Step 4: Power up with your new SSD and Windows 7. Mine loaded fine, I could proceed to reinstall all my software and Office suite. But using the restore partition, I again reinstalled a fresh copy of Windows 7. This will create a stable system as the OS is installed on a fresh location in the SSD.

Now it takes me seven seconds to boot up Windows 7 and even less time to shutdown. Everything is a breeze. I can now open multiple applications and windows with no noticeable delay. Everything is instantaneous. My battery life has also improved, albeit marginally. I also do not have any problems with sleep, and hibernation with this new solid-state drive. I cannot imagine going back to a normal HDD.

Lastly, what do we do with our old HDD? I got myself a USB 3.0 HDD housing/caddy

http://www.amazon.co.uk/IB-231StU3-G-External-Enclosure-inch-SATA/dp/B004OXY1TU/ref=sr_1_1?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1345485601&sr=1-1

Put the original HDD inside it and connect the USB 3.0 cable. Since my laptop already has a USB 3.0 port. Now I have the original 320 GB HDD as an external drive with USB 3.0 support. Even at 5400 rpm, transfer of huge video files is extremely fast.

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  1. December 12, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    That is a really good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very precise information… Thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

  2. Tony
    December 20, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Hi David,
    I have the same laptop but with a 7200 hdd. I was thinking o doing exactly the same thing but i wanted a SATA III drive. Do you get SATA III speeds?

    • December 20, 2012 at 11:31 am

      The specs say it does support SATA iii, however users have commented they are still getting slightly below sata iii speeds, claiming bios or firmware update is needed and may be blocked by toshiba. Nonetheless, I have not personally tried to changing anything. I use my laptop only for business, with no heavy usage of applications, hence it is good enough for me. In reality, we don’t expect to achieve SATA iii advertised speeds anyway… Samsung has come out with the SSD 840, which is 250gb instead of 256, they are slightly cheaper and with lower speeds. I have not tried with other vendors like crucial… with laptops as cheap as they are now… if you haven’t already done it, might as well consider getting a new one? I really dig the new Samsung Series 9 15 or 13 inch with 256 GB. Unfortunately, in the UK that variant is only available as 128, which I think samsung dropped the ball on this one.
      With only 256 GB of space almost half of which are taken by applications, one wouldn’t expect to move large files in and out of the SSD. As such, given the specs of an R830 laptop, the minute difference between achieving SATA iii advertised speeds may be mute as even though it may speed up applications, bear in mind other factors like processor, ram speed and video card have an effect too. The video card still leaves a lot to be desired… but I guess I am happy with it as I only use it for work. It would really depend on your cost consideration and what you use it for.

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