Vivobook SSD upgrade

My ASUS Vivobook X202E is an excellent little machine – I really appreciate it’s compact form factor, good keyboard and bright multitouch screen. However, with the slow HDD, display driver and processor it has also its clear limitations. There is not much I can do with the processor or display driver – the reality is that as more and more of people will adopt laptop computers as their primary home PCs, rather than desktop ones, the fixability and maintainability of ICT keeps going down. However, I wanted to try upgrading the HDD into a SSD, since there was evidence online that this could be done.

The first choice concerned identifying the right Solid State Drive to fit the purpose. Samsung’s 840 EVO series was finally an obvious choice, since it was 7 mm thin, so it did fit physically, it was rather fast, and also optimized in terms of power efficiency, so that it did suit the purpose as a laptop upgrade. I picked the 250 GB version, while being tempted also with the 500 GB one; I did consider the cost, however, still being prohibitive in the larger model. Smaller than 250 GB on the other hand did not make sense in terms of fitting in my OS, applications and the necessary working documents.

Samsung 840 EVO SSD
Samsung 840 EVO SSD

The first steps involved re-partitioning the original HDD so that it could be cloned to the SSD. I removed all data that I could later sync from our home server or from the cloud services, deleted the data partition entirely, and tried moving the recovery partition to the middle of the disk. I installed and used the free version of “EaseUS Partition Master” (be careful to deselect all freebie crapware options during its installation, though). As to the actual data or disk cloning, Samsung EVO SSD comes with the necessary SATA-USB3 adapter cable and “Samsung Data Migration” software that seemed to do it job (I have not yet tested the recovery partition, though, so I am not sure whether it made through the cloning). But the new SSD disk boots, it is recognized automatically by the UEFI (Windows 8 BIOS system), and the Windows as well as Office 2013 installations still authenticate as legitimate.

Samsung 840 EVO SSD
Samsung 840 EVO SSD

If your goal is not to clone the old system with its Windows 8 Starter Edition, but rather to install another, more featured OS, Linux, OS X or some multiboot setup, then I recommend doing some further research before going ahead with the SSD operation. People have had mixed success and you need to start by disabling UEFI, disabling “Secure Boot”, then enabling “Legacy Boot” in the BIOS. I am also not sure whether e.g. Linux will have all the drivers to get the touchscreen, touchpad, hotkeys and all the other features working as intented – but I am interested to hear about the experiments in those directions.

Opening the case of Vivobook
Opening the case of Vivobook

As to the actual physical part of opening the Vivobook, removing the old HDD and installing the SSD, there is a good visual guide by Neil Berman here: http://www.durhamcomputerservices.com/theonbutton-blog/asus-vivobook-x202e-s200e-q200e-ssd-hard-drive-upgrade.html

Opening the case of Vivobook
Opening the case of Vivobook

After putting everything back in, the reboot will kick Windows into a prolonged startup phase during which it will apparently install some SSD related drivers or settings. I did also install and run the “Samsung Magician” tool, which claims to provide various optimization options for running the Windows OS over a SSD.

The actual speed gain is noticeable, and the relevant figure in the Windows experience index showed the rise from c. 5 to over 8 when tests were re-run after the SSD installation. But this will not of course magically trasform the 500 euro budget laptop into a 1500 euro ultrabook. The slow processor, bit clumsy form factor, lack of keyboard backlight – all those issues still remain. But the upgrade will definitely make the Vivobook more usable and responsive, which was the main goal at least in my case.

Vivobook X202E with Samsung 840 EVO SSD
Vivobook X202E with Samsung 840 EVO SSD

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland.

5 thoughts on “Vivobook SSD upgrade”

  1. I am getting ready to do the same thing however I am going to clone the existing drive to a Samsung 840 EVO 1TB drive. I am thinking it should be substantially faster. We’ll just have to see. I may even try running a few different VMs under it. Should be interesting. This will hopefully become my development laptop.

    1. Wow. That is one impressive ssd. It also must cost more than the X202E itself. I’d love to hear about your experiences – good luck with the transfer!

      1. Yes the notebook was $379, though newegg.com has refurbished ones as low as $299. The 1TB drive was $598, but of course I can always install it in another laptop later if I don’t like how this one is working. I wish it could be upgraded to 8GB because I like to run VM’s also, but I will deal with it. A Windows 8 machine with a faster cpu than a Celeron or AMD, that has touch screen for under $400 is a steal. I think the SSD will help make the laptop more responsive, etc, but as I said, we’ll see.

  2. “install another, more featured OS, Linux”
    “I am interested to hear about the experiments in those directions.”
    I have a S4000CA Vivobook and exclusively run Linux Mint 16 64bit on it, so I thought I’d throw out my experience:
    My vivobook comes with a budget 24gb SSD 500gb HDD & i5. It has a touchpad and touchscreen
    Secure & Fast boot do need to be off. Legacy CSM mode makes it easier too.
    I installed / (root) to the SSD and /home to the hdd.
    This means that only boot files, system files & binaries for programs are stored on the SSD with my user files on the slower HDD.
    The result is amazing, I get 18 sec boot times, programs load almost immeditaily and I only write to SSD when installing new programs or updating. As for using the touch screen and overall use, I put a video on amazon demostrating this:
    [video src="http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/D1rXBm+YzxS.mp4" /]

  3. Hi. I’m trying to do the same thing but with a Kingston SSD instead. I have one question. I have a USB-SATA adapter, but it’s not compatible with my SATA III Kingston SSD. It is, however, compatible with the HDD my Vivobook came with. So, if I take out my HDD and put in the (blank, unformatted) SSD and put the HDD in the USB enclosure and boot to Windows from the HDD, will Windows see the SSD as a separate drive, so that I can clone everything from the HDD to the SSD?
    Thanks! I hope you see this!

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