Delll XPS 18 upgradeability?

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Denverbuckeye, May 2, 2013.

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  1. Denverbuckeye

    Denverbuckeye Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Since this forum seems to be the best place for this type of expertise, I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on the upgrade path for some of the Dell XPS 18 components -- specifically the mSATA and laptop hard drive.

    Before I sent it back for exchange, I did get a chance to pop the back panel off and look inside.

    • The system seems to use a 32GB mSATA drive as either the boot drive or some type of cache drive. I happened to have a Crucial m4 256GB mSATA sitting around but when I swapped it in the system did not recognize it. Anyone know if there would be some type of workaround to get this to be my boot and system drive?
    • The 500GB 2.5" drive looked easy enough to get to. I wonder if anyone thinks there would be similar upgrade issue if I wanted to pop this drive into it as my secondary drive.

    I used to know my way around the BIOS configuration but I get the feeling that this fancy new technology has passed me by. The BIOS uses some kind of "smart boot" secured boot options that I couldn't seem to configure.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the upgradeability of the XPS 18?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  2. Chiyosuke

    Chiyosuke Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I am about to order a SSD and try to install OS on it. I plan to back up to USB stick using Dell utility. I will let you know if that works.
    By the way, I did not see where the mSATA drive was when I opened up the case. Where did you find the mSATA drive?
     
  3. Denverbuckeye

    Denverbuckeye Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Yes, please come back and update. I am interested to hear your results.

    When you open the back cover, the 2.5" HDD is on the bottom left. Just to the right of that, partially obscured by the black plastic post-it paper is the mSATA drive. It removes easily with two tiny screws. I am really curious about its use since it does not appear in Disk Management and I don't see any utility that configures it as a cache drive to improve performance. But I'm a Windows 8 noob. I sure would like to stick a 240GB mSATA drive in there and use the extra storage but can't figure out how to get that to work.
     
  4. Chiyosuke

    Chiyosuke Pen Pal - Newbie

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    So that's where it was. I was afraid of removing the paper tape. I saw the RAM module though so that's upgradeable as well - although I don't see the real need for the RAM upgrade.

    I am pretty sure the mSATA is configured as cache drive but I don't see any benefits - the computer is slow as hell.
    Last time I did mSATA upgrade, I boot off of CD drive and did fresh install of Win8 (another computer). You will lose some programs (mostly games) that come with the system though.
    Dell no longer provides recovery discs for Win8.
    Ensure you download the drivers beforehand if you are going this route.

    I am waiting for 512GB mSATA or 1TB SSD to become available before I do the upgrade though.
     
  5. tzills

    tzills Pen Pal - Newbie

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    does this computer let you use a stylus? is there a wacom digitizer?
     
  6. onehungwaylow

    onehungwaylow Pen Pal - Newbie

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    So has anyone upgraded the msata drive or swapped the primary hard drive for an SSD drive?
     
  7. Brucep523

    Brucep523 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    So have you actually opened the Dell XPS 18? Are there any videos, instructions, pictures, etc. on how to safely disassemble enough to upgrade the memory and/or hard drive? Note, on the Dell site they discourage attempting to upgrade anything internally (note that will stop me and it might void any warranty).

    I plan on maxing out the memory (16GBs) since I already have the memory. I am thinking of adding a 2nd drive via an external 2.5" SATA to USB 3.0 case with a 1TB drive from an old laptop (not too old). The drive case is about 1/3 the thickness of a deck of cards so I am thinking I can attached to the backside using Velcro so I can store it out of the way but have it so for tabletop mode (lying flat down) it will be easy to move it out of the way. Once the price comes down a little more on SSDs I will add a 1TB SSD internally perhaps. I have tried Windows 8.1 on a variety of computers, laptops, and AIOs and found that it performs best with as much memory as possible (8GBs minimum).

    Take care...
    Bruce P.
     
  8. Alchemist

    Alchemist Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I swapped the HD for a Samsung 840 EVO 120gb and reinstalled Windows from a Windows 8 disk I had laying around. It recognized the windows serial number in bios and automatically validated after installation.

    It flys with the 840 in it. I have an i3 with 4gb of ram. Switching to the SSD added about 50 minutes of battery life. I now get about 6:15 in light use.

    I also updated it to Windows 8.1 with the free update. Worked without a hitch.
     
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