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There are several alternatives available that will move your OS to a new location, e.g. from a mechanical hard drive to an SSD. Several manufacturers include cloning software in the box (or a key to a downloadable version) when you buy a new drive, but you don’t always have this option. Moreover, there are no guarantees that the bundled software actually works.
It’s quite common that cloning solutions fall short in some area, such as being able to convert a larger partition to a smaller one, which is often the case with SSDs due to the significantly higher cost per GB. Another potential problem is when your source drive uses the newer GPT (GUID Partition Table) + UEFI boot mode instead if the old MBR (Master Boot Record) standard. Without going into detail about these acronyms, they can render a newly cloned drive unbootable.
As the name implies, Paragon Software’s Migrate OS to SSD is specifically developed for moving your stuff to an SSD, while also solving the above limitations; it lets you downsize partitions and also handles GPT-associated issues. We have successfully used a previous version of this software for moving our test system from drive to drive, but it didn’t support Windows 8.1 so it was due for an upgrade. Migrate OS to SSD has now reached version 4.0.
Samsung has just announced a new line of external SSDs with excellent transfer rates, but one of the most interesting aspects is the tiny form factor. The T1 series will come in three capacities – 250 GB, 500 GB and 1 TB – and connects via USB 3.0. Needless to say, they are not quite as affordable as the average USB hard drive.
According to Samsung, all three capacities offer speeds of up to 450 MB/s, as well as random read/write transfer rates of up to 8,000/21,000 IOPS. While not on par with a high-end, internal SATA 6Gbps-based drive, it might be enough to claim the performance crown for USB storage.
256-bit AES encryption is also available and some added protection in the form of Dynamic Thermal Guard, which automatically limits performance if the drive gets too hot.
As previously mentioned, the T1 SSDs don’t conform to the standard 2.5″ form factor and the usual procedure of placing a regular drive inside an extenal casing. Instead, Samsung has gone the extra mile to offer maximum performance in a highly portable format. Even the 1TB model is nearly as small, if not as thin, as a credit card.
The price tags match the drives’ performance, being almost on par with the current top-ranking SATA SSD 850 Pro; the 250GB, 500GB and 1TB models will sell for $179, $299 and $599, respectively.