The Seagate Barracuda 2.5” SSD is a great way to extract extra life out of an old PC or laptop. The SATA interface is part of most PCs made in the past ten years, so it is plug and play – almost.
I have an old PC. It has a 5400RPM hard disk. Boot times(from turn on to being able actually to do something)are nearly two minutes. Boot time with the Seagate Barracuda is 25 seconds.
The Seagate Barracuda is compatible with both SATA 3 (3Gbps) and SATA 6 (6Gbps) so speeds will depend on what your ageing PC supports.
Here is the same Seagate Barracuda SSD on the different interfaces.
This over 2x times faster reading and 2.5x faster writing. That is purely the interface – the drive doesn’t really care.
For comparison, I tested my existing boot drive (a typical 5400RPM hard disk circa 2014), and you can see why it takes minutes to boot and is so slow in moving random read/write of larger files.
There are faster SSD drives like PCIe NVMe Samsung 970 EVO, but you need specialmotherboards to attain these speeds.
Setup (Windows only)
You can’t simply swap out the existing hard disk drive because it has all your data on it and buried deep in the Window registry is the Product Key that you need to activate Windows.
Clean setup – the preferred method
A clean install always gives the best results. The downside is that you must reinstall Windows and all your existing software.
With your existing system intact
- Download Magical Jelly Bean Finder(there is a Mac version as well) and use it to find the Windows 10 CD Key – it looks like this DA246-4VFG4-RBS8C-YRZYV-YY49C. Write it down and also put a copy in a plain text file.
- MJBF may also be able to find other installed software keys like Office, Antivirus etc. Also,copy these down.
- Next, go to WindowsISO downloader and download the ISO Tool to make a bootable Windows install USB flash drive.
- Power off and remove the existing boot hard disk.The new disk should plug straight into the cables – if not you can’t proceed and will need to take the SSD back to the store
- Put the bootable USB drive in the USB-A port and switch on. The computer BIO should recognise it as a bootable device (if not you need to go into the bios and set it accordingly)
- It will install a clean new Windows on the SSD –you activate this with the MJBF key.
- Most PCs have two SATA ports so you can put the old drive on the second port and copy data over.
Seagate offers DiscWizard to install your new disc drive quickly, with wizards that guide you through the processes of creating and formatting partitions on your disc drive,transferring and backing up your data.
You select the option Disk Clone, and it will make an exact bootable copy of your existing disk complete with all software installed. In clone mode,you leave the hard disk as is and attach the SSD to the second SATA port. Once done you can swap the drives around, and it should boot from the SSD.
More information is on page 44 of the DiskWizard manual here.
If all else fails then go to your friendly local computer store. Don’t be surprised if they charge a couple of hundred dollars to fix any issues.
GadgetGuy’s take: Seagate Barracuda 1TB SSD
It is a no-brainer to gain a few extra years life out of an SSD upgrade. Faster booting, faster performance and more reliability ad HDD do break down – if it is over five years watch out! Seagate offers a 5-year warranty on its SSDs.
While you are at it make sure you have at least 8GB of RAM – a new stick costs around $100.