Blade M.2 SSD Performance Review / Swapping Instructions / Cloning

Discussion in 'Razer' started by hfm, Feb 13, 2015.

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  1. hfm

    hfm Notebook Virtuoso

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    NOTE: THIS IS THE 2014 BLADE. I understand the 2015 is very similar for swapping.

    Completely redoing this thread as I have a third drive in the mix now (Micron M600 thanks @kingcow ) and I switched to Macrium Reflect v6 paid(thanks @wawawa). I'm going to normalize on Anvil's Storage Utilities for the benchmarks as well since it has a nice display with both bandwidth and IOPS as well as a bunch of system info. I ran each of these benchmarks multiple times and they were all within tiny error margins apart for multiple runs, so I just took the best of the three, not that it mattered. Also turned off my virus protection and made sure indexing wasn't running.

    Samsung PM 851 512GB M.2 (came with 2014 Blade):
    [​IMG]


    Transcend MT800 512GB M.2
    [​IMG]

    Micron M600 512GB M.2
    [​IMG]

    From the above, I would say the best of the three drives is definitely the M600. The Transcend MT800 isn't bad for the $203 (Wow. $225 already, prices change fast) it currently costs on Amazon for 512GB, but I would only get it if you don't have a 512GB drive in your Blade already. The Samsung PM851 in the 2014 Blade is an overall better drive than the MT800 due to a better controller (more IOPS). The M600 I got from ErwinComp for $259.

    Here is a table of known available 512GB M.2 drives and their on-paper specs.
    [​IMG]


    Quick Tutorial to swap the M.2 SSD on the 2014 blade.

    WHAT YOU NEED:

    • T5 driver for the bottom cover screws
    • Small Phillips driver for the SSD retention screw
    • Micro flat tip (or something similar) to carefully flip the ribbon cable retention bracket to remove and replace that cable.

    NOTE: If you're like me and some of your chassis screws were slightly stripped, pressing the micro flat tip into them worked for me. It catches across two of the grooves on the torx socket somewhat easily. Just be extremely careful removing these as they strip easily and be careful not to try to tighten them too much. I would gather using some weak blue loctite screw bond would be better option than stripping them all trying to tighten too much.

    EDIT: I procured a higher quality T5 driver, it seems to do a better job not stripping, I think the driver itself was part of the issue here. Check iFixit store.


    1. Annotated Pic before removing cables:
    [​IMG]


    2. Cables unplugged, easy part, remove the OLD SSD
    [​IMG]

    3. TADA, just carefully put the cables back now, close latch on ribbon and
    push the other cable back in.

    [​IMG]


    CLONING (OR.. NOT CLONING, BUT BACKUP RECCOVERY)

    Thanks to @wawawa mentioning it, I grabbed Macrium Reflect v6 (paid for it) to try it out as I was using Acronis. I have to say their WinPE recovery creation is much better (actually looks correct at 3200x1800 to boot!), and it's backup features are very comparable to Acronis, so I've switched to using that for backups now. If you want to know more, read the TL;DR down below, I have Macrium now configured close to what Acronis was doing. Most of what I said applies to Macrium as well (updating WinPE USB Key etc..)

    EDIT: 05/24/2015, I'm completely changing this as it seems the best way is just to do a backup and restore it onto the new drive. True cloning with UEFI is a total pain.

    How I cloned to these drives:

    1. Use Macrium to create WinPE bootable recovery USB key flash drive.
    2. Use Macrium to create a FULL PARTITION BACKUP of your Blade's original drive onto an external USB drive that can hold it.
    3. Put the new empty drive in the blade, as above.
    4. Boot the Macrium WinPE USB key: (hold F12 on boot when prompted to choose boot drive)
    5. Select "Restore", Choose the backup file on the USB drive from step 2.
    6. Choose the empty drive you installed in the Razer as the destination.
    7. Restore away, will take some time depending on the speed of your USB drive.
    8. Power down, disconnect all the USB stuff and try to boot.
    9. If it works, YAY, if it doesn't.. I had to do this other stuff as well...
    10. Reconnect your Macrium USB recovery KEY, boot from that again, this time without the old drive connected over USB
    11. Attempt to fix the Windows boot problems again (same menu option). This time, it should actually work with all green checks.
    12. Try to boot again, should work this time.
    13. Thanks @mario64, they had to use AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition 5.6 to extend the new partition to the full free space of the drive.
    Have fun!
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2015
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  2. Pcguy07

    Pcguy07 Notebook Geek

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    2015 Razer Blade QHD+ with 256GB M.2SSD:
    [​IMG]
    Hope this helps!
     
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  3. wawawa

    wawawa Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for the tutorial. Do you have any experience with Macrium Reflect Free Edition for cloning?

    Also, do you have any pictures that shows how to replace the drive? I found this on youtube but it appears to be for the 2013 model. Is the 2014/2015 model similar to the 2013 model?
     
  4. hfm

    hfm Notebook Virtuoso

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    I haven't used Macrium, sorry. I do know there's many clone and backup applications and processes out there and there's definitely more ways to do this than I did (I probably even made a mistake somewhere). I just finally found a process that works with Acronis for the Blade so I'm going to stick with that.

    I updated the OP with images for swapping the SSD. I had taken a few images just didn't update it yet. ;)
     
  5. wawawa

    wawawa Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for the speedy update =). These pictures will be very helpful once I get my hands on the Blade.
     
  6. Sdot

    Sdot Notebook Consultant

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    2014 256GB, is there a reason why my write is a bit lower than you guys numbers? Edit: I'm sorry, idk why the picture is so big.[​IMG]
     
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  7. hfm

    hfm Notebook Virtuoso

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    The 512GB drives have a much better write speed than the smaller drives due to more NAND onboard creating parallelization of writes. Think of it like a larger striped RAID array. This probably has something to do with the controller as well.

    I just noticed the benchmarks provided for the 2015 are a 256GB drive as well. Consider that LiteON probably has smaller and higher number of NAND, the reason that same capacity drive has a higher write speed.

    I wonder what the 512GB drive that comes with the 2015 performs like? I tried to find those LiteON to buy, but they are not easily findable for consumers to purchase. Crucial really needs to bring back the M550. :( Also, Razer really needs to go PCIe for the 2016 blade.

    As an aside, it looks like the Transcend 512GB is down to $203 on Amazon!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
  8. hfm

    hfm Notebook Virtuoso

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  9. Pcguy07

    Pcguy07 Notebook Geek

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  10. rimark

    rimark Notebook Enthusiast

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    Super informative post hfm! Sorry you had to go through all that trouble to clone your SSD over haha. I'll definitely try your last method if I ever get to this point in the process.

    By the way, I watched that video that wawawa posted, and it seems like the guy disconnected three cables instead of just the one that was overtop of the SSD. Do you think that this is necessary? (I'd like to mess around the last amount of cables if possible) - Like say to disconnect the board from the battery before disconnecting the SSD or something that I'm not aware of...
     
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