about We are Akila and Patrick. Our minds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
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gear review: samsung 840 pro ssd + how patrick broke my computer
upgrading a laptop

Samsung contacted me back in May --- yes, almost two months ago --- about reviewing the installation of a Samsung 840 Pro Solid State drive .  At first, I said no: besides having a two month old who preferred my lap to any other sleeping surface, what sort of crazy person willingly opens up their perfectly functioning laptop to fiddle around with the delicate interior?  But, the Samsung people were very reassuring.  They told me that the process was very easy, wouldn't take much time, and would make my computer race.  Anyone can install a Samsung SSD, they said.

Except for my husband.  I am totally opposed to stereotyping of men and women --- especially now that we have a little girl, I'm trying to ensure that we speak in gender neutral terms and enforce the idea that women and men can do everything as well as the other.  But, you know that stereotype about how men refuse to ask for directions?  Yep, that's Patrick to a tee.  That's the reason our car bears ugly gashes from driving through Europe and why Patrick got conned in Turkey .  Because the man --- much as I love him and think he's brilliant, funny, and fun --- refuses to ask for directions.

We finally sat down to do the install about three weeks ago because once Amara turned three months old, she decided that bedtime should be at 6:30 and she should sleep in her crib.  Hallelujah and amen.  I was working on my old Sony Vaio, which I purchased three years ago after I lamented the demise of the road warrior's electronics .  We started unscrewing it but couldn't lift the bottom off the case.  Within moments, I realized we were in trouble and might not be able to replace the hard drive with the Samsung SSD (it turned out that the hard drive was soldered to the motherboard).  I left the room to tend to Amara, and as I left, I said to Patrick, "This doesn't look good.  I think we need to read the instruction manual or watch some videos on how to get into the hard drive area for the Sony Vaio."  He nodded.  I repeated myself, "Seriously, don't break my laptop while I'm gone.  Do not break it."

And, I returned from the other room ten minutes later to Patrick sitting shamefacedly at the dining room table, tiny pieces of the inside of my Vaio sitting in his hands.  It's a good thing that we've been married for 12 years because, people, Patrick's getting really tired of me saying over and over again, "I told you so."

So, we cobbled my computer back together as best as I could, though it's not by any means fully functioning, and I immediately started searching for a new laptop.  Amara's probably thinking that Best Buy is her second home because we are there ALL THE FREAKING TIME.  The other day, a salesman stopped me and said, "I thought you purchased a laptop already?"  Here's the dilemma:

  • I hate Macs and, frankly, I have over a $1000 in software that I would have to replace in order to get a Mac.
  • The new Windows 8 is best used with a touchscreen laptop.
  • Most laptops that have touchscreens are either over $1,000 (more than I want to pay for a laptop) or are the tiny Ultrabooks with only a 128 GB hard drive.

Let's be honest here: a 128 GB hard drive is a joke if you do any type of photo and video editing.  Windows 8 takes up about 60 GB, so I would only have 60 GB of space to keep my own documents, photos, and videos.  And, Patrick and I can easily take 32 GB of photographs in five days traveling.  To upgrade to a 512 GB hard drive would cost around $800, twice the price of the laptop itself.

And, then, the skies opened and the clouds started pelting down lollipops and rainbows.  We were at Best Buy AGAIN and what do I see but a brand new Samsung Series 7 Chronos (now rebranded as the Samsung ATIV Book 8) on clearance for $957.  This is a sweet computer: gorgeous 15.6 inch HD touchscreen monitor, Radeon graphics, quad core Intel i7 processor, and JBL sound system.  The most comparable computer on the market is the $2,200 Retina display 15 inch Macbook Pro.  But, the downside is that the ATIV Book 8 contains a 1 terabyte HDD.

One terabyte is a lot of space but the computer booted up slowly.  Turtle slow.  Paint drying slow.  Flying to New Zealand slow.  It took me over a minute to boot up my computer.

So, last night, we migrated all of the data over to the Samsung solid state drive and I --- not Patrick --- opened up the laptop and replaced the drive.  It was easy: 30 minutes and I was done.  Now, I've got a super speedy laptop.  Roadrunner fast.  Mario Andretti fast.  Shakira's hip shaking fast.

Patrick looked at my computer after the install and said, "Wow.  I want one of these.  Next computer I get, I'm getting a solid state drive."  And, I'll be doing the installation.

The video above is me installing the Samsung 840 Pro Solid State Drive and regularly butchering the word "Samsung," which just goes to show that I really shouldn't be a video blogger.  Samsung sent me the SSD to review and it retails for about $500, but, if you've been here a while, you know that I rarely take gear reviews (the last one I took was almost two years ago) and only accept products to review when I feel that I will be impressed with their performance and is worth it for you the reader to purchase.  Though we had an initial hiccup with the installation on our Sony Vaio, I truly feel that anybody can replace their HDD with a SSD and it's especially worth doing so if you do a lot of heavy photo and video editing, as long as you're careful AND read the instructions on how to open up your computer.  As always, every single opinion on this blog is mine and mine alone, regardless of sponsorship.