My laptop is one of the few possessions I’d be unable to live without, especially as a college student. I’m also in no position to break the bank, which is why I’ve been using an HP Folio 13 from 2012, one of the first Ultrabooks. It’s a testament to HP’s design that, in the face of all-new MacBooks, ThinkPads, and Surfaces, my Folio is still thinner than a good number of laptops and a workhorse. But it’s hard to get by on only 128GB of space. So, I decided to buckle down and extend my laptop’s life by giving it a new faster and larger Kingston SSD hard drive and upgrading it to Windows 10. But was it worth the effort?
The Folio’s original hard drive was a Samsung 128GB SSD that, over the years, had filled up entirely. Burdened by the years of files and photos and documents, it was running very slowly. It also didn’t have enough space to install Redmond’s latest, Windows 10. So, with Kingston’s help, we set out to install a brand-new Kingston 240 GB mS200 mSATA SSD to replace my tired one and install Windows 10. To find the proper hard drive for your laptop, Kingston has a handy tool called the Memory Search, in which you enter your devices make and model, and the perfect components for your device will appear.
The thing about modern laptops is that they’re much more difficult to take apart and mess with than the laptops of yore. They also tend to run specialized components, which is why it was very difficult to find an mSATA converter just to make sure I didn’t lose all of my stuff. One particular difficulty was finding the right kind of drive and then an adapter to transfer data. Surprisingly few companies sell mSATA SSDs, and even fewer sell reasonably priced USB to mSATA adapters. Originally I ordered one from Amazon, but it wasn't the right product, luckily we found one at a local computer reseller, MicroCenter. Finding the adapter allowed me to clone my existing internal SSD to the new Kingston unit, so that after I installed the Kingston SSD, my computer fired up without a hitch, all my old data and settings intact. This was our first experience with the mSATA form factor, which is essentially a very small circuit board, that you insert into the socket on the motherboard. Unlike most SSD's, which are in a case that resembles a traditional Hard Drive, the mSATA is components and a board only to save on space and footprint.
Despite the comparatively compact and crowded design of newer laptops, it was still fun to take my Folio apart. The internals of Ultrabooks look less like computers and more like bombs waiting to be defused. Replacing the hard drive in this laptop is the single most difficult thing you can do to it, and requires that just about every other component be disconnected first. YouTube came to the rescue, as there were great videos demonstrating the sequence and process to dismantle, remove, install the Kingston memory, and reassemble successfully. My recommendation is to find a clean, well-lit workspace, and use your phone to photograph each stage of the process. That way, you have the photos to fall back upon during the reassembly process. Best of all, I didn’t end up with any extra screws when I was done!
That said, this upgrade was wholly worth it. Not only did the Kingston provide double the space of my old drive, but it had measurable improvements. Crystal DiskMark showed increases in Read/Write speed, and the complete results are attached. Interestingly, Windows 7 scores were sometimes higher then Windows 10 scores, but in differing Read/Write categories, so the OS does have a demonstrable impact on performance.
I can also safely say that having Windows 10 justifies the time and effort I put in. Maybe it’s the increased space, the faster Kingston SSD, or maybe it’s a testament to Microsoft’s new OS, but ever since the upgrade, my machine has felt faster and more usable. The system moves incredibly quickly, the menus are responsive, and even applications like Firefox seem to run significantly faster. And Cortana is the sweetest personal assistant this side of Jeeves. There are more in-depth discussions of the OS on the net, so we don’t need to get into that aspect in detail here, but my experience with Windows 10 has been mostly positive, aside from Microsoft Office compatibility and hard-to-find settings.
The ultimate verdict is that if you have an older laptop that you’re just not willing to part with yet, then a new Kingston 240 GB ms2000 mSATA SSD and a new OS install can give it a new lease on life. The Kingston 240 GB mS200 mSATA SSD comes highly recommended.
Thomas Fogel-Burlan, with additional reporting by Harris Fogel, posted 11/27/2015
For more information on the Kingston 240 GB mS200 mSATA SSD, visit http://www.kingston.com/us/