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M.2 SSD Drive Upgrade and HD Clone with Macrium Reflect

I recently performed an SSD hard drive upgrade on a Dell Inspiron 5680 gaming desktop that was long overdue. The desktop was running an old 3.5” HD and was just too slow at booting up, opening apps and just too darn noisy. Now, there are several reasons why I replaced the old 3.5” HD and went with SSD drives, which I’m going to cover here in a bit.

The PC originally came with a 3.5” 1TB HD and I installed two new SSD drives, one of them being an NVME M.2 drive that I made the new bootable drive. The other SSD drive was a 2.5” drive that I used primarily for storage. To replace the HD with an SSD drive I used a free version of Macrium Reflect to clone the old 3.5” HD into the M.2 drive. I know there are a few HD cloning software tools out there, but I have used Macrium Reflect before and comfortable with that program.

Watch the video on the SSD upgrade here.

m.2 ssd drive upgrade

Before I cloned the 3.5” drive, I did analyze and defrag the drive before using the Macrium Reflect software. It’s always good to clean up the drive being cloned and the eliminate any open sectors of the drive so that when we clone, you bring over all data & files in one continuous segment. This process did not take too long, maybe 20 minutes. The cloning process however did take a bit longer, around 1.5 hours to clone the 3.5” drive. The Macrium Reflect software is very easy to use and makes the cloning process a snap.

Let’s talk about the benefits of moving from a traditional 3.5” HD to the new SSD drives. One of the biggest differences between these two types of drives is that 3.5” drives are big and clunky and have about 6 moving parts (platters, spindle & actuator components) inside the drive. SSD drive are simply made of flash memory, with no moving parts. There are many benefits here because of this. Your first benefit is pure speed. SSD drives (2.5” SSD’s) will give you about a 5X improvement over a 3.5” HD and M.2 SSD’s will give you an additional 5X improvement over a 2.5” SSD.

Speed Test Results

3.5” HD has an approx. read speed (MB/s) of 180 and a write speed (MB/s) of 170.

2.5” SSD has an approx. read speed (MB/s) of 560 and a write speed (MB/s) of 520.

M.2 SSD has an approx. read speed (MB/s) of 3,400 and a write speed (MB/s) of 2,600.

Not only are Read/Write speeds so much faster on the SSD’s, but your boot up times will improve dramatically. I went from boot up times on the 3.5” HD of 2.5 minutes to 35 seconds when booting to the NVME M.2 SSD drive.

Your SSD’s are also more reliable as they have no moving parts over a 3.5” HD. The chance of an SSD going down due to component failure is probably less than that of a 3.5” HD. Also, since no moving parts, less noise, which you will surely appreciate. People who have 3.5” HD’s can understand the amount of noise they can make as they boot up and read and retrieve data from the platters. One last benefit is that since SSD’s are small and require less power to operate them, your PC will therefore run at cooler temperatures.

The entire process of opening up your PC, hooking up the new drives (either by cable or right onto the motherboard via M.2 slots, is not that labor intensive. Once you have the new drives installed, using the Macrium Reflect software was also very straightforward and easy to clone your existing drive. The speed and performance improvements that you will get in the end will make your PC experience much more enjoyable.

As a last step here in your SSD upgrade, make sure that you are protecting all your new data and PC with top rated security software from the following vendors: McAfee, Trend Micro, Sophos or Symantec.

Enjoy those new SSD’s!!