Seagate Momentus XT 500gb installation

I thought I’d let people know about my current experience with replacing my laptop hard drive, it may well be useful for others.

The
starting configuration was a Seagate ?? 500gb 7200rpm – pretty standard
laptop hard drive.    I like to replace my hard drives every 12 months
because I find they are one of the largest sources of issue and heat
death with a laptop.  For the princely sum of $100 it’s normally a
pretty good investment.

I really wanted to get a 500gb SSD drive,
but there’s none of those, and if there was, it would be retardedly
expensive.    The next option would be to get a second drive, and use
the SSD for boot + games – needing about 120gb, but laptops have a
limiting factor of only 1 drive.  During my research I found that I
could get a drive bay to replace the DVD, but that would be just messy –
but a possible consideration next time around as I’d put the 128gb SSD
in the primary drive spot, and use the “DVD bay” as my mechanical drive
bay.

So, after dicking around for a bit and procrastinating I
ended getting a Seagate Momentus XT 500gb hybrid drive.  It allegedly
has a bunch of SSD cache in the drive which make it perform amazingly. 
(More on that later).  All the reports indicate the startup, seek etc
times are more indicative of a 10k rpm drive than a 7200rpm drive.  One
of the downsides of putting a 7200rpm drive in the laptop is the
additional heat it generates over a 5400rpm drive, but as we all know,
more rpm = faster disk access = faster loading into Dalaran !

Now,
rather than my previous upgrade paths which have been a “install new
drive, install current version of windows and then copy everything over”
I really didn’t want to go down that path as my Win7 install is an
upgrade, so I’d have to fuck around with getting Vista on first, then
upgrade etc, etc.  So, I did some research on drive cloning and ended up
using R-Drive Image.  I’d had enormous success in using the R-Drive
recovery software and really liked their stuff, so off I went and cloned
the drive.

Took about 4 hours, but it wouldn’t boot – FUCK YOU.  I
did some searching around and tried the Win7 repair – but still didn’t
work.  Some fuckery with geometry and stuff and I was running late for
work and yeah – found out I probably could have recovered using some
command line bootmgr re-installation.  I might try that next time.

So,
during my searching I found that most HD manufacturers have a cut down
version of HD cloning software with support for their drives, so I
downloaded Seagate DiskWizard.  Installed, ran and off it went and
changed my current drive so it would reboot into the supervisor style
mode for doing to raw disk copy.  As it rebooted it couldn’t find my
original disk.  It’s 11pm, the house is sleeping – choke-a-bitch-index
of 11.   I try repair, I try and be calm, and the Win7 repair disk did a
fine job.  Which was really fortunate for the Seagate team, or I’d be
on a plane right now to stab some fuckers.    I’m starting to think some
of my original issues might have been minor issues with my current
drive that was cloned over.

Restarting the process at about
midnight it takes about 7 hours to copy 100gb of system disk, 42gb of
photos, 150gb of games and 50gb of random crap.  I wake up the next
morning and it’s just finished.    I swap around the drives and have the
new one installed in my laptop.  I rename the partitions so all my
current shortcuts etc are still working fine and boot up WoW to check
things.  The Win7 boot sequence is a lot faster – probably 50% of the
previous time.  I didn’t do any timings (sue me) but I remember
“watching Win7 start up”, and now it’s “hurry up and log in” – so
probably down from 20 seconds to 10 seconds.

First thing I notice
is how quiet the new drive is.  I check the temperature and it’s running
about 15 degrees cooler while WoW is in “normal mode”.  That’s a good
sign (65 degrees down from 80).  The next thing I notice is how much
faster it is.  WoW starts in about 50% of the time.   There’s no
delay/lag on the login screen (which is all local).

So far – so
good, and for the premium of $60 it seems like it may have been a good
investment.  (Standard 500gb was about $100, this was $160)

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XIII – The Game

My beautiful wife really understands how to make her husband happy. For Christmas she gave me a copy of the game XIII by Ubi Soft. It’s based on a comic and has been converted into a first person shooter (like Quake). However, the conversion has retained all the style of the comic, with the whole world being rendered as comic scenes, and with “inset” sequences to show off-screen action from things like grenades, or enemies walking around. Explosions are also rendered with a “BOOOM”. While this may seem like a really campy way to develop a game, it’s just awesome.
The cut scenes are fantastic, the story is great and more importantly the game-play is really good. The story is dragged along by a solid sequence of red-shirts followed by the occasional “boss” monster. The only down-side (for me) is the save-game feature is based on reaching milestones rather than being able to save the game at any time. While some might revel at the need to play a level perfectly to finish it, I’m more interested in continuing on, and on one particular level (involving a submarine in a bay) I fell to my death after dispatching all the bad guys. It was rather annoying to have to go back and kill them all again.
Favourite weapon: Crossbow. Mostly for the really cool headshot scenes that show in 3 frames the death of the enemy. And what’s more the frames are rendered each time differently showing the bolt sticking out of the bad guys head. Woot!
Go and buy it. It’s great.