For those that have missed the announcement, there will be no Computer Ed this Sunday and no blog entry other than this. Tomorrow I step once more into the breach dear friends and will take Lisa as my wife. I would like to thank all of you that have sent notes of congratulations for your well wishes. I am off now to sleep my last night as a single man.
We have been talking off and on about the various components we used in building the X-Ray but at the end of the day a computer is not it’s parts. As we take this final look at the completed X-Ray we will begin by giving you a breakdown of the final parts used.
- Case: Thermaltake Spedo Advance Package
- PSU: Antec Truepower New 750 Blue
- CPU: AMD Phenom II 1090T Six Core
- Motherboard: Asus Crosshair IV
- RAM: Kingston Hyper-X DDR3 1600, 8 Gig
- Storage: Kingston SSDNow V Series 128 Gig
- GPU: Powercolor PCS+ 5870
- Cooling: Corsair H50
- OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit
The idea was to build the biggest and baddest AMD based computer we could put together. At stock speeds this system flew through everything I threw at it but that was not enough. Since we had excellent cooling with the case the the liquid cooling for the CPU we pushed this system farther by overclocking.
Because the 1090T is a Black Edition processor it has an unlocked multiplier, this means it is easy to overclock. Now doing this has voided the warranty on the chip but with a little caution a safe overclock is possible. To ensure there was little chance of damaging my chip I set a limit to the overclock of not raising the chip voltage. Putting more power in the chip, Tim Taylor style, is one of the techniques used to push an overclock higher. Doing so however can put a nice heat bump on the chip.
With the chip left at stock voltages I was able to push all six cores to 3.8Ghz. However I had to turn off Cool n Quiet as well as Turbo Core to achieve this level. The boost however gives a nice rise in the raw power the chip can deliver.
Testing of the chip at stock and overclocked levels showed no real difference in everyday use, but this is meant to be a lean mean gaming machine. The overclock did give a boost in a few RTS games but overall the boost was not really noticeable without benchmarking.
I chose to run this system with 8 Gig of RAM to push the build beyond the typical build. For a long time I said that 8 Gig would not give a boost over 4 Gig so we out this to the test. We also tested speed. In the picture of the X-Ray you will notice that there is Corsair RAM in the system. This was 1333 RAM and we used it to set the 4 Gig low speed base line. We then tested with 4 Gig of the Kingston Hyper-X and then moved to 8 Gig.
As we reported on the show last week the move from 1333 to 1600 made NO difference in performance of real world usage. I threw quite a bit besides games at the system and could never tell the difference. What about the jump from 4 to 8 Gig? Well again there was no difference until I edited some large audio files and then the extra RAM showed up. The editing process sped up noticeably. However outside of that one application the difference did not exist.
I could talk about the performance advantage an SSD provides but I think you know how I feel on that from the last few shows. I will say however that I was able to do a direct comparison of the Kingston V Series to the Patriot Torqx. Now on paper and in every benchmark the Torqx was faster than the V. However in real world usage the differences did not exit. At no time could anyone see in their use of the computer a difference between the two SSDs, they did however see a huge difference between these and any spindle drive.
The 5870 may not be the pure top of the line for AMD but it is right up there and I have to admit it is amazing. At 1680×1050 this card has a ton of power to spare. There was NOTHING I threw at it that did not run perfect at near maximum detail levels.
In case you not notice yet I did not list an optical drive in the parts. The reason was I had made a comment a bit back that it was possible to prepare your software in advance and then live without an optical drive on the PC. With the X-Ray I have proven this. I was able to install the OS from a flash drive courtesy of a MS utility. Office can be installed via downloads and games can easily be gotten via Steam or Impulse.
So we have all this monster system but at what cost? Well lets compare, the X-Ray comes in at a price of $2100 if you build it yourself. The system was fun to build to be honest, most fun I have had building a system in a long time and it delivers amazing performance. But is it worth the cost?
I have a more mainstream build sitting on my work desk. Based on a 1055T and a 5770 for video this system comes in at $950. Without overclocking, running at stock the 1055T is a very capable chip. I could not find anything we threw at it that it could not deliver good performance on. In fact if you take out the benchmarks it was doing good enough to be indistinguishable from the 1090T except in heavy audio and video editing.
The 5770 of course lacks the horsepower of the 5870 but still delivers a good gaming experience at 1680×1050. Note I said good. The 5770 could not hope to match the detail level that the 5870 could reach and keep up the speed. This resulted in the 5870 presenting a better looking game during play. To more casual gamers the difference was not big enough to justify the cost but to the more hardcore of us we just got spoiled by the better image quality and could not see going back.
The difference in the cases, the mainstream machine uses an Antec Three Hundred was noticeable. The Spedo was a ton easy to build in with a lot more room and an amazing system for cable management. However with the dual 120mm fans in the front of the Three Hundred it did not fall as far behind the Spedo as you might expect in cooling. The Spedo’s massive size though comes at a price, the size makes it hard to find a good place to put it. It barely fits under my desk, in fact it actually fits only well enough for one USB and the ESATA port to be used, the others are blocked.
The Corsair H50 proved itself to be worth the extra cost without reservation. The opening of the motherboard makes it easy to work than the results of the better air cooling systems. In fact I now consider this cooler an essential part of all my future personal builds.
I could go on about the advantages of SSDs but I think over the last few weeks I have made my position clear. I can tell you however that like the H50 if it is a build for me then I will spend the money, the performance boost is just that nice.
The Crosshair IV motherboard is a work of art. It looks amazing and has a great feature set, but like any work of art it comes at a price and I question if that price is worth the results. The board is beautiful but lets face it the case will set under a desk and a work of art that no one sees is meaningless. As for the features many of the same features can be found on less expensive boards and the ones that cannot be found are just not worth the cost difference.
At the end of the day the X-Ray is a great machine. It has enough horsepower to handle anything I throw at it and not break a sweat. I can say as well that this is most fun I have had building a PC in a long time. I took the time to throw in some lights and it has a nice red glow beneath my desk on a dark night. However at the end of the day one question must be answered, if I had been forced to buy these various parts entirely with my own money would I have done so?
I think I am going to leave everyone in suspense on that answer. On the show tomorrow we will be discussing the value of a high end machine over a mainstream build and talking this question, which I promise to answer at the end of the show. For now however I am going to take the X-Ray out for some gaming runs and enjoy this monster build.
Have you been waiting for Office 2010 to release, so have many of us. The changes made are kind of nice plus they are offering a full 64 bit version. So when I was able to use the release version through my Partner’s Subscription with MS I was excited and ready to make the move.
I decided this would be a great time to clean up the work machine so I did a clean OS install, some hardware upgrades I had been planning and pout everything in place. I installed Office 2010 64 bit and made sure to setup Outlook.
Once I was setup I imported my Outlook backup and fired up the program to add some new appointments. I then plugged in my Windows Mobile phone and was all set to sync up my calendar. Imagine my surprise when I got a message that told me Outlook was not installed and I needed to set a default email program.
I figured that Outlook just had not made itself the default so fired it up and checked settings. I made sure it was set to default, rebooted and tried again, same thing. A search of the Partner forums revealed the issue. It seems the 64 bit version of Outlook will not work correctly with the current version of Windows Mobile Device Center, the way Vista and Windows 7 sync with Windows phones.
A further search of the forums found something disturbing. In the Microsoft FAQ about Outlook 2010 they state they are aware of this issue and will NOT be fixing it. Yes you read that right they KNOW this is broke and do not care.
The forums needless to say are in an uproar as so many of us assumed that Microsoft would make their premier product work correctly. The solution from Microsoft is to not use the 64 bit version of Outlook.
Call me crazy but deliberately leaving a broken product on the market without any plans to fix it and having that product be the king of your product line reeks of STUPIDITY! However sadly this is not the first time MS has screwed the Windows Phone users. I will point you to Live. You see when Microsoft updated the Live mail system they purposefully left out support for the Calendar feature. Numerous emails between me and Microsoft on this have confirmed they are not working to fix this despite knowing the issue is out there.
When I pointed out that the Google calendar worked perfectly with Windows Phones and wondered why MS would not fix their own product all emails stopped.
This i really sad when you realize I really like the new Office and think some of it’s features are worth the purchase. However take this warning to heart and know that if you rely on Outlook syncing to a mobile device you do NOT want to use the 64 bit version.
We can only hope that Microsoft has some plan in place to replace the WMDC program. Until then we have to either not make the move to 2010 or do so without the 64 bit support we where promised, unless you do not sync your devices…
As I said last week the idea of the X-Ray build was to take things over the top and see what we could create and then compare the results to the computing experience offered by a more typical build. With this in mind we turn our attention to the cooling we will be offering this build.
From the perspective of the case it is obvious we are looking at a lot of fans, with a 140mm intake along with the 230mm side intake, the Spedo case puts a lot of cool air into the mix. However do not stop there with the intake. The Spedo has a “floating” 120mm fan inside that is repositionable. By removing the HD bays and repositioning them I have given this fan more access to the large side vents for intake and the fan does noticeably pull in air.
To exhaust the warm air of the case the Spedo is equipped with a 230mm chimney fan and dual 120mm exhaust fans in the rear. Now with all this air flow a really good standard air flow heatsink like a Xigmatek 1283 would be more than enough but remember the X-Ray is about indulgence.
Liquid cooling has long been the purview of the enthusiast and something I have sought to avoid. The idea of introducing a liquid into an electronic device just seems wrong to me on way to many levels. However Corsair came up with a solution I can live with, the H50.
The H50 is a closed loop system, it is entirely self contained and there is no need to worry about fluid levels, attaching piping or leaks. The pump for the unit resides within the actual “heatsink” part. Compact and light weight the pump can sit within the heatsink and thus reduce the amount of space the entire unit needs.
Two hoses run from the pump to the radiator . In this picture the pump/heatsink unit is still wrapped up. The radiator is basically just like a car radiator. The liquid heats up and carries the heat from the heatsink to the radiator where a fan, pictured as well, will move air across the radiator and dissipate the heat. The fluid will then move back to the heatsink to repeat the cycle.
In DIY liquid cooling systems this process is a bit more involved for the setup. First you put the water block on the CPU and run pipes to the pump, radiator and reservoir. This would mean you would need to find room for these various components as well as make sure the reservoir can be easily reached to add more fluid as needed. It also means, because these parts are spread out more that the case becomes literally filled with piping. The Corsair H50 has simplified this process a lot.
To mount the heatsink to the CPU you will need to remove the heatsink mounting bracket that comes with the motherboard. This is actually easy to do, just 4 screws and it is off. (This does require in many cases taking the motherboard out if you are doing this as an upgrade.) The H50 comes with mounting systems for AMD as well as an adjustable mounting system for Intel.
The mounting system is a very clever and simple design. The heatsink as a staggered set of small “cups” around it. The mounting clip has a set of staggered spurs that match up. Place the heatsink in the mounting bracket and gently rotate until the spurs are over the cups and then tighten. Be care when tightening as you can over do. A firm grip from the bracket is all that is needed.
The radiator is a little bigger than a 120mm fan and comes with one for use. Both the included fan and the pump system come with motherboard connectors for power. The one on the fan is a four pin and is suggested you plug it into the CPU Fan header on the motherboard. This allows the fan to have a variable speed dependent upon the heat of the CPU and thus quieter operation. The pump has a three pin connector and it is suggested that this goes on a different header that is set to be at max all the time. The reason is we do not want the pump to vary speed, it should keep a constant pressure.
The Corsair instructions say to mount the 120mm fan so it blows outside air into the radiator. The idea is that this will provide better cooling. While this sounds logical I had other concerns about the way this would disrupt airflow within the case. My own experiments within the Spedo case revealed that having the fan blow into the case only made a 1C difference compared to the fan working as an exhaust. My recommendation is if you have a case with great air intake the fan will work fine as an exhaust and preserve the integrity of the case air flow design.
So how does it work, perfectly! The H50 gave me almost a 6C drop over a stock AMD cooler for the 1090T. At idle the processor is right at ambient room temp and even when overclocked to 3.8GHz with Cool n Quiet off the idle temp did not rise more than 5C above ambient. Under load the cooling was even better. No matter what game or task I threw at the processor I never was able to hit 40C.
The unit is dead silent, I cannot hear it at all in when in use, even when the CPU is under load the unit does not ramp up noise.
There is a hidden bonus to this design as well, it is easier to work around. Looking at the picture I think you will see what I mean. With the unit in place I have full access to my RAM and the surrounding board area. There is no massive piece of copper and aluminum standing up covering everything. This means the ambient air flow of the case can now also better reach these areas.
When I first looked at getting the H50 I must admit I was skeptical. I mean $80 is a lot of pay for a heatsink and there are some great heatsinks that will get the job done for less money. However after using it, I now consider it money well spent. Installation was super easy, the unit works silently and delivers outstanding cooling as well as a clean system area.
I would most definitely buy this unit again without question and if I could afford it would have converted our three primary home machines over already! This project will happen by the end of the year.
Okay over the past few weeks we have talked a bit about the motherboard, CPU, SSD, case and cooling so next week we wrap up our look at the X-Ray with a quick overview, look at the overclocking and finally a comparison of the X-Ray to a mote typical build.
Well after a few weeks of playing it is time to talk about Project X-Ray. As any of you that are here often know I am the champion of the everyday computer builder. I look at budget as much as performance and seek a computing experience that is great not high benchmark numbers. However even I sometimes look longingly at some of the amazing parts that exist within the enthusiast segment of computing. You know what I mean those $200+ dollar motherboards, or the monster cases. I see those wonderful lights, and side windows and a part of my cries out, go for it.
So when I was given a chance to look at the ATI HD 5870 and the new Phenom II X6 1090T I decided that maybe it was time to indulge my inner enthusiast. I started calling around and put forward my build idea to a few companies to see what we could get in the way of higher end components for this build. Once I had everything I began the adventure of an enthusiast build, join me now as I describe my journey.
Every computer has to start somewhere and so we began this journey with the case we would use. I called up my friend Ramsom at Thermaltake and told him what I had planned. He laughed and said I have the perfect case for you, a few days later the Thermaltake Spedo showed up at my door.
This case is a BRUTE. A full tower design this thing is huge, barely fitting under my computer desk with clearances of mere fractions of an inch. The case has a stylized front bevel and a large easy to find power button. The front of the case is mesh and very open allowing for great air flow.
In the center of the front is a 140mm intake fan that has a red led in it. This creates a nice red color effect against the silver and black of the case, something I intend to take advantage of as you will see.
The front is lined with foam filtering and this is not easy to remove. However it does allow for you to run the vacuum over the front every few weeks and keep the dust count low, well at least that was the plan.
Above the fan on the front we have 4 bays for 5.25” drives to be mounted, the area the fan is in holds quick release bays for up to six 3.5” drives and then the lower three bays allow for 3 more 5.25” drives.
Now before we get to the rest of the outset let me take a moment here to explain a design flaw I found right away. The Spedo uses a tool less design to make installed the varies drives easy and it does work however for easy access the HD bays are installed across the bay, this creates a wind block for the 140 mm fan. I have comment on cases in the past that while I understand the ease of access this design is dumb because it reduces the very thing these cases are bought for, air flow.
Now the picture I have is a bit fuzzy, but I think it can make the point. Two of these are sitting in the exact angle I am picturing here directly in front of the 140mm fan. As you can see there is going to be SERIOUS airflow restriction.
The good news is that these bays can be removed and Thermaltake thought ahead and included adapters to mount these HD bays into the 5.25” bays. If you fully make the move this will leave you only a single 5.25” bay for use but then again who uses more than a single optical drive anymore? Not me, we are not using one at all on this build.
Getting back to the rest of the case you can see the right side of the case has a couple of vented areas. The front one opens to the area where the drive bays are originally. With the bays moved it opens a nice big area for easy air flow into the case. The smaller one to the rear can be used to mount a 120mm fan to cool the backside of the motherboard. Not sure how useful that is and frankly did not see a need.
Moving to the business side of the case we see the same front vented area as on the right. In this picture you can see the drive bays in their original position through the front vent, those are right in front of the 140mm fan.
You will also notice the large windows area and the 230mm fan than dominates it. This fan like the side fan in the Element G we reviewed, uses a no plug power system. This makes it really easy to get in and out of the case. The fan has no lots on it at all and provides a ton of air over the entire motherboard area.
The back of the case has dual 120mm fans for exhaust as well as water cooling cutouts in place. The PSU is bottom mount and has an opening at the case bottom for an air intake. This intake is filtered and the feet give enough rise to allow decent air intake for the PSU.
Finally we come to the top of the case which has a 230mm fan mounted at the back for exhaust and the front area is opened to allow air intake as needed. You then of course have your standard fair of 2xUSB, 1 ESATA and the Headphone and Mic jacks.
Now I screwed up with my pictures and did not take inside pics of the case until I had mounted some of the first round components for testing. However I can tell you the case is VERY roomy. The Crosshair is a full sized motherboard and at no time did I feel cramp or pressed for space.
The case also comes with a number of plastic pieces to compartmentalize the heat in the case. In this pic of the first configuration run you can see the compartment modules in place. This is with the Crosshair in place, look at the room at the top and the right of the motherboard. The grilled section is covering the video card and expansion slots and the bottom is covering the PSU.
In this shot you can see that I have moved the HD brackets and put them in the 5.25” bays. This creates a nice open area to allow that 140mm intake fan to work for full effect.
The case includes some thoughtful extra’s as well such as an extension cable for a 24 pin and 8 pin motherboard power connector. Also the back of the case comes with 4 easy to use plastic covers. These fit over the cabling you route to the back of the base and clean it up nicely and are super easy to use.
The Spedo case was a pure joy to build in. It has a ton of open room in the case meaning just about any configuration you can imagine can be put in. The open ventilation design gives impressive air flow meaning the cooling your enthusiast level PC should be no issue. The extras with the case just take it up a notch.
On the downside the basic case design has a serious flaw in my opinion with the basic HD placement. However a conversation with Thermaltake revealed they are aware of this and that everyone they have spoken with has done as I have and moved the bays. Hopefully this will mean that the next generation of this case will fix this issue. The filtering in the front seems like a great idea until you realize the side fan has no filter. This means all that effort to cut dust intake is essentially wasted. The fans on this case have no speed control so they run at a set speed all the time. This means the case is louder than some others. However the noise level it creates is subjective. In my home with the family awake the case was so quiet I could not hear it. When it was just me up in the wee hours of the morning the noise was noticeable.
Overall however I have to say the Spedo is a fun build. It is priced right with many other enthusiast level cases is comparable in features and function. While it might be a tight fit under my desk it does fit and the ease with which I can work on the parts if needed make this an awesome case.
I thought I would round out this review with the PSU we are using in the build. I spoke with Antec about this project and they figured I could use some more power than my usual Antec favorite Earthwatt series. So they sent me a Truepower New Blue 750 watt PSU.
If you are thinking I am going to give a long review of this PSU here then you will be in for a surprise. There is a simple truth about the Antec PSUs I have used over the years, they just work.
The TP series is an outstanding PSU that has hybrid modular cabling and is rated as 80Plus Bronze. The 750 watts easily provides all the power I need for the X-ray, the only thing I did not like was the blue light. (What is it with the PC industry and blue lights?)
It is a testament to the reliability of Antec PSUs in the fact that I got it, mounted it and threw out the packaging before I realized what I had done. No pictures, not worrying about needing to RAM, just put it in and go. This is why Antec has been the PSU I have recommended to people for years.
Okay so we have the PSU and the Case, next entry we will look at our cooling solution and begin putting this beast together.
Just a quick heads up for everyone. As you all probably know the Hi Tech Legion website had some major issues over this weekend. The result has been a lot of lost work for the team at HTL. They are scrambling right now to get this resolved and I feel confident that they will get this all up and in place again soon.
As HTL had agreed to host the Computer Ed show recordings this has created a problem in that right now they are unable to get us access to last weeks show (the first one we recorded). Do not fear I have a backup of the show and once HTL has the site back up 100% we will be uploading last weeks and this weeks show.
Please be patient folks, the staff at HTL are really under a load right now but are performing lack champs.
SSDs are making a lot of press over the last few months, even evident here with the second blog entry in just a couple of weeks. The reason for this is simple, CPUs and GPUs are right now giving us more of the same. We are getting more power and capabilities but they are building slowly on an existing structure. Mass storage on the other hand has been stagnate for a long time, essentially getting bigger but not really faster. The SSD has changed that, shifting the focus from size to raw speed and that shift has made many of us realize something. The slow down in a modern PC is not the CPU or GPU but has been the storage system all along.
The problem with SSDs however have been cost. Okay cost and a mentality among computer users that make me believe we could all use an intervention from hoarding. However lets face it, there is a hard sell to be had getting someone to see that 3 times the cost for 20% the space is a good buy. However this has become less of an issue of late as well, more and more SSD makers have begun to introduce reasonably priced models.
When I told Kingston about our two projects for the show, the Laptop Revival and the X-Ray build, they asked to be a part and offered a 128 Gig SSDNow V Notebook upgrade kit. Since the Laptop project called for a sub $200 drive I decided to use the Kingston drive in the X-Ray build.
While it would be easy to get into how the drive has performed in direct relationship to the X_Ray build, I would like in this entry to go a different way. Lets begin by looking at the SSDNow package from Kingston.
While most SSD drives come with a few extras, like mounting rails for putting the 2.5” drive into a 3.5” bay the Notebook Upgrade Kit from Kingston comes with some items that really sets them apart.
You of course get the drive but that little black box you see in the top right of the picture is to me the real winner. That is a 2.5” external HD enclosure. The USB cable that is enclosed allows the enclosure to draw it’s power and move data over a USB connection.
This allows you to take your laptop HD out of your laptop and still be able to pull it’s data later for use. Then once you have all the data that old laptop spindle drive can now be used as an easy backup drive.
The external enclosure is amazingly simple to use. The lid has a simple lock mechanism that you flip to open. The lip slides off and the drive literally slides into the enclosure. Once in slide the lid back on and flip the lock mechanism and there you go, you may now plug in and start using your new external HD.
Now the purpose for enclosing this was to ease the transition from the spindle drive to the SSD in your laptop. The instructions tell you to first remove files and programs from your laptop so that the total disk space used is smaller than the SSD you are about to upgrade to. So for example if you where putting in a 64 Gig SSD you would want your used HD space in your laptop to get down to about say 50 Gig for a bit of breathing room. Once this was done you pull out your old spindle drive and put it into the enclosure. After putting the SSD in the laptop you put in the CD that came with the SSD and plug in the USB enclosure. The CD has a special version of Acronis True Image that will boot and then allow you to transfer your old HD onto the SSD.
This is a very clean and elegant system that works incredible well however if your laptop does not have Windows 7 already on it I would not bother. You see Windows 7 has all the features in place to make the most use of an SSD drive. With Vista or XP you would have to tweak around a bit to really get the drive to 100% work like it should. With this in mind however the real usefulness of this enclosure, in my opinion, comes into play. Once you have your Windows 7 install complete you can now go back to the old HD and easily pull just the data you need. Plus you now have a nice little portable backup to take with the laptop or use around the house. This bundle is for me what makes the Kingston SSD stand out.
The performance of the Kingston drive is what we have to come to expect from SSDs, a serious WOW over a standard spindle drive. This particular model as I mentioned is being used in our X-Ray build so I compared the numbers to a Western Digital Caviar Black, one of the fastest standard HDs out. The Kingston was over twice as fast in read testing as the WD drive. However that does not give the real picture. Boot times where cut by 75% and programs load a lot quicker. How much quicker, every game I loaded did so in HALF the time as with the spindle drive.
Now some people, especially the enthusiasts will note that on paper Kinston is not the fastest SSD on the market, they are correct. However the real world experience difference is not noticeable. In every subjective test putting the Kingston against a Torqx, there was not enough difference for anyone to pick up on. Even going to the benchmarks the difference where not that great. The base testing showed the Torqx had a speed advantage of about 10% or less on average. Yet the Torqx drive came at a 42% price premium. Bang for the buck Kingston is a clear winner here.
While the price drops have been nice the real question is can SSDs now be considered mainstream? Well as I showed for $150 or so you can take a two year old laptop and make it faster than a new laptop costing around $1000. I have also begun to realize the amazing level of hoarding that PC users do and the unrealistic expectations the industry has thrown on them for the use of HD space. Add to this is amazing difference in the way a desktop or laptop feels when moved from a spindle drive to and SSD.
With 64 Gig drives now south of $200 and 128 gig now under $300 the truth is SSDs are becoming a much more attractive proposition for DIYers. I can tell you from my own personal experiences I will not go back to just a spindle drive again. The system feels sluggish and dull compared to the pop of an SSD system. As for the Kingston V series, these SSDs are leading the charge into mainstream. With the lowest prices in their size categories, great bundled extras and the WOW factor they deliver over spindle drives they are without a doubt an amazing buy.
I have to say that of the bundles Kingston offers the one however that impresses me most is the Laptop Upgrade. The enclosure is a great add-on that will give a lot more than just helping with the upgrade of your laptop to an SSD. I would even go so far as to say if you plan to upgrade a laptop to an SSD the Kingston SSDNow V Series Laptop Upgrade kit is the MUST buy!