Today we are working with Samsung’s ultra portal and lightweight 900x laptop. This laptop tries to compete directly with the Macbook air in size and shape and looks nearly identical in a side by side comparison. It comes equipped with a MSATA drive, which is a mini SATA drive. This is quickly becoming the standard for lightweight laptops as it is much smaller and lighter than a standard 2.5 inch SATA drive.
We removed all of the bottom screws on the laptop and pulled off the whole bottom plate from the Samsung 900x. This reveals the MSATA drive as seen in the left picture. We had to disconnect one black ribbon cable covering the drive, we then removed the two tiny screws holding it in place and it popped right out.
We put the old 128GB and the new 256GB side by side for a comparison in the right picture. The models are: NP900X32A (Old 128GB) and the new CT256M4SSD3 (New 256GB)
These MSATA drives are much smaller than the standard 2.5 inch drives that go into desktop computers and even other laptops. They still pack a lot of performance into a small package, with many achieving 500+MB/sec transfer rates comparable to the larger standard SATA versions.
They require a special adapter to use with standard SATA power and data connectors. We are using two of them here in order to use them in our test bench desktop computer. It has special software that allows us to quickly and easily duplicate the information from 1 drive to another.
If you don’t have these adapters or duplication software your easiest method of upgrading would be to run a Windows 7 image backup to an external USB drive. You will also need to create the recovery media using an external USB CDROM drive. To restore the backup simply boot from the Windows/recovery DVD and restore the backup. Alternatively you could create a bootable Windows 7 USB thumb drive but this goes beyond the scope of this guide.
We are upgrading the rather small 128GB stock Samsung SSD Drive to a 256GB Crucial M4 SSD drive. Using the two MSATA to standard SATA adapters we are able to duplicate the information from the old drive to the new larger drive.
We found the M4 to be superior in not only size, but also speed in comparison to the stock Samsung SSD drive. The system visibly boots faster, and scores a 7.9 now instead of a 7.4 that the Samsung achieved in the Windows drive benchmark.