Windows 10: Dell 8920 - ssd and is secondary below it?


  1. Posts : 16
    Windows 7Pro; Windows 10Pro
       01 Mar 2018 #1

    Dell 8920 - ssd and is secondary below it?


    Could you guys take a quick look at my photo of the drives in my Dell 8920 and explain this arrangement?

    Can I clone my OS and then pull the power and little black plug wire off of what I 'think' is the currently installed SSD and use them for a 1TB replacement SSD? There is a 2 TB drive also here. Is that the small drive underneath what appears to me to be the SSD drive? If It is, it is much smaller than old hard drives I'm accustomed to seeing?

    Well, I hope I've attached the photo properly. I'll post this and see if the attachment can be viewed.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails P1030886.JPG  
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  2. Clintlgm's Avatar
    Posts : 786
    Win 10 pro Upgraded from 8.1
       01 Mar 2018 #2

    What you appear to have there is a SSHD, regardless you can clone or Image and restore the image to your new SSD, Macrium Reflect free is a good program to use for this. Some SSD comes with software to do this. I prefer to do the Image and restore to new SSD with the old hard drive removed. The connect the old hard drive VIA USB and format it.
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  3.    01 Mar 2018 #3

    What I see with the Power plug (P5) and the SATA data cable to the left of the power plug is a hard drive. On many Dell's that have an SSD and hard drive, the SSD is an M.2 type. This would appear to be correct for yours, too. Here is the spec's from the Dell manual.
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    And, here is the M.2 drive from the manual.

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  4. Posts : 16
    Windows 7Pro; Windows 10Pro
    Thread Starter
       01 Mar 2018 #4

    Thank you so much for taking a look. So do I understand the primary SSD drive is actually installed on the MB? The ssd is abt 500 gb and the secondary is 2TB. I don't know anything about M.2 drives. Shoot, I wanted to clone the primary to a 1 TB SSD and disconnect the current primary. But I'm not knowledgeable enough to try my hand at anything other than a straightforward switch.

    So if replacing the current primary drive with my 1TB Samsung Pro SSD isn't a good idea for me to attempt, could I replace the secondary 2TB drive with the Samsung 1TB SSD and direct all my programs to install there? Those two plugs I'm seeing could just be switched to the Samsung 1TB SSD drive? Are these M.2 SSD's as sturdy and long lasting as the 2.5 inch SSD's.

    My sincere thanks to everyone for taking the time to share your knowledge with me.
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  5.    01 Mar 2018 #5

    Dell has been using M.2 SSD's for quite a while. I work the Dell forums (same user name) and don't recall seeing any issues with M.2 SSD's. I have a Dell Inspiron 15 laptop that has an M.2 SSD and a 7th gen i5 CPU. It boots and loads programs as fast as my desktop that is an i7 6700K with a Samsung EVO 850 SSD.

    The M.2 SSD is a plug in card and the connector is on the motherboard. I would leave the OS on the M.2 SSD. I would not use the SSD in place of the hard drive. SSD's (M.2 and conventional SSD's) life span is affected by how much access/writing is done. But if you want to use (apparently you have it) depending on the actual mechanical mounting for the hard drive space you may have to get an SSD "carrier". Some mountings have provisions for the screw holes to hold an SSD and some do not. I don't know what is in your PC, you will have to check. If there are no mounting holes for the SSD you will have to buy an adapter/carrier that will hold the SSD and mount in the hard drive slot.
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  6.    01 Mar 2018 #6

    There is an open slot for a second hard drive. You may want to consider installing the SSD there.
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  7. AddRAM's Avatar
    Posts : 2,089
    Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
       03 Mar 2018 #7

    I would pull the 2TB hard drive and install the 1TB SSD, hard drives just create heat, and if the 1TB ssd is all you need then do it. You actually don't have to remove it if you have room for the ssd. Just unplug it and use the 2 plugs to hook up the ssd.

    And I would not install your programs on the 1TB ssd, keep all your programs on the OS drive if possible. That way you can create proper disk images.

    Post a shot of Disk Management so we can see the size of the M.2

    And do you actually have 64GB of memory in that PC ? Is that correct ?
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  8. Posts : 16
    Windows 7Pro; Windows 10Pro
    Thread Starter
       03 Mar 2018 #8

    AddRAM said: View Post
    I would pull the 2TB hard drive and install the 1TB SSD, hard drives just create heat, and if the 1TB ssd is all you need then do it. You actually don't have to remove it if you have room for the ssd. Just unplug it and use the 2 plugs to hook up the ssd.

    And I would not install your programs on the 1TB ssd, keep all your programs on the OS drive if possible. That way you can create proper disk images.

    Post a shot of Disk Management so we can see the size of the M.2

    And do you actually have 64GB of memory in that PC ? Is that correct ?
    Thank you for taking time to advise. Yes, it reports there is 64GB of RAM: 4 DUAL IN-LINE MEMORY MODULE, 16GB, 2400, 2RX8, 8G, DDR4. It just happened to be in the computer I bought. I don't need that much RAM and wouldn't have purchased this particular unit had I known about the m.2 SSD that resides on the MB. My mistake for not understanding what I was buying. The m.2 is a 256GB drive. I initially believed it to be abt 500GB, so you can see I really didn't know what the heck I was buying. I saw it had an SSD and thought, well, I can just clone or image this smaller drive and replace it. Later I learn it isn't a 2.5 SSD but a m.2 SSD located on the MB. There is only about 155 Gigs of space remaining on this OS drive. That isn't much room when you start installing programs. And I'd imagine Windows needs breathing space to work. I don't know if that breathing space has already been allocated and aside in the drive configuration. Everything has just gotten more technical and I haven't kept up.

    This whole thing began because I was having a problem with my old box. I became apprehensive, fearing it would die before I could get something here and get everything transferred and set up. So I quickly bought this unit. It was a dent and scratch and the cheapest of 3 with Windows 10 Pro that Dell had on their outlet site when I went looking. Probably configured for someone doing a lot of statistical work. I've since done some reading and if I'm understanding correctly, I can purchase a larger m.2 ssd to replace the smaller one if the MB will accept a larger m.2 drive. I don't think I'd attempt to switch it out but surely a computer shop could do it. I've changed out most things in a box but fiddling with the MB makes me a bit nervous. If I keep this box, I will eventually replace the mechanical drive with my 850 Samsung Pro SSD. Switching things around will void the existing warranty on this new box, so that is another consideration.

    I will admit I dislike everything about moving to this new OS and computer. But the old one is dying so I have to do something or quit.

    I think it will cost me about $300 to return this box to Dell and get something else. I'm weighing my options and hoping my old box doesn't quit on me before I get settled into a new computer.

    My thanks again for taking time to comment and help. I would really be up a creek without a paddle without the help and advice I receive here.
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  9. AddRAM's Avatar
    Posts : 2,089
    Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
       03 Mar 2018 #9

    There`s nothing wrong with an M.2 and a 256GB is a great size, you should have no problem having windows and all your programs on that with 200GB to spare.

    In my opinion, 155GB is a ton of space, my OS drives have never gone over 50GB of used space.

    If you approach 100GB of used space, then you are doing something wrong, all your data should be stored on the 1TB ssd, but not the programs.

    There are 3 things you can do to reduce the amount of space used on the M.2

    1) Get rid of the page file, with 64GB of memory you DO NOT need one. Or you can lower it to 1GB, depending on what size it is now.

    2) Turn off Hibernation, if you don't use it you don't need it, sleep is just as good, in my opinion.

    3) Turn off system Restore, or just decrease the amount you use.

    If you create a disk image and update it every week or 2, you do not need to use System Restore at all, but I would leave it on and manually create your own Restore Points.

    Any questions just ask :)

    And Always, Always create a Disk image when you're done and happy with Windows, so you never have to reinstall it again :) That is the best piece of advice anyone could ever give you.

    Macrium Software | Macrium Reflect Free
    Last edited by AddRAM; 03 Mar 2018 at 19:24.
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  10. Posts : 1,846
    Win 10 X64 Pro 1803 17751.1
       04 Mar 2018 #10

    maryeleek said: View Post
    (snip)

    I think it will cost me about $300 to return this box to Dell and get something else. I'm weighing my options and hoping my old box doesn't quit on me before I get settled into a new computer.

    (snip)
    I'm surprised to see such unhappiness with what appears to be a pretty good piece of hardware.

    256 GB is a pretty good size for the SSD to run the OS and applications. 155 GB free is plenty.

    An m.2 SSD isn't harder to deal with than a RAM stick. There's a small screw involved, but otherwise the m.2 device may be easier to seat than a DDR3 or DDR4 stick. If you insisted on cloning it to a larger SSD, the main logistical issue is that there is only one m.2 slot on the board. (There are actually 2, but I'm not sure that the second is compatible with an SSD.) There are inexpensive (<$20 US) adapters that would allow you to connect a second m.2 drive to allow direct cloning to it. The main issue with that would be choosing one compatible with the new SSD type, PCI-E or SATA. (PCI-E is recommended for performance.)

    I'm not sure why the other posters haven't referred you directly to the service manual. http://topics-cdn.dell.com/pdf/xps-8...nual_en-us.pdf It's written in readable English. It goes into detail about the hard drives and the m.2 device.
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