I just received a Western Digital Black2 dual drive for review. It has a solid state drive to hold your operating system and a terabyte of space for everything else.
The fast SSD means it should boot a laptop almost instantaneously and run operations much faster than the standard magnetic hard drive that comes with most laptops. It’s all held within a single SATA unit that requires a 9.5mm slot in your laptop.
I’ve now downloaded the installation software (12MB) and the WD disk imaging software (250MB) which requires you to use a provided cardboard USB webkey/dongle (presumably with a built in ID chip). I am now installing those programs so that I clone a hard drive on a test laptop and replace its original drive with the Black2 for testing…
Okay, so the software you download via the link embedded in the web key allows you to clone your old laptop drive to the SSD portion of the Dual Drive. I had to shuffle a few gigabytes of data files off the original on to a backup drive so that there was adequate space, but that’s no big issue, it just takes time. Once you’ve done that you can then replace the conventional drive in your machine (check you’re not voiding your warranty by doing so).
Rebooting into Windows took a fraction of the time that it usually does and everything seems to be in working order. I could then initialise the magnetic part of the Dual Drive to free up a terabyte of space. I then attached my old conventional drive to a USB port with the provides cable and copied across those file that I hadn’t included in the cloning process. Again, it takes time, but that’s fine. Spent the hour or so walking the dog while the devices chugged away.
I downloaded an extra app referenced by the ghacks.net site – Tweak-SSD Free – that includes an optimization wizard for SSD drives and ran that on the SSD. I also need to doublecheck a few points regarding the use of SSDs before doing much more, such as whether they ought to be defragmented or not.
Meanwhile, PCW has an interesting take on whether or not you should defrag an SSD: “The tiny difference that even the best SSD defragger makes is not worth reducing the life span of your SSD. So, don’t defrag your SSD.” Fragging wonderful.
Anyway, so far so good, programs seem to be running properly on the cloned drive. I will do some music and video editing later and see how speedy those CPU intensive programs are on the SSD. After various tests all seems to be working well and fast. Only nit is that while it presumably means the laptop runs slightly cooler than if it had a hard drive whirring constantly and that means the fan fires up less frequently one can more easily hear the intermittent spinning up of the hard drive component when that is needed. It’s a trivial point.
SATA 6 Gb/s, standard 2.5″ format comes with 120 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD