About four months ago, around September 2014, I replaced my Samsung ATIV Pro tablet with a weird looking ultrabook from Acer; the Aspire R7 model 572G. It is well known for it’s cool EZEL HINGE concept of folding the screen of the ultrabook to become tablet mode. This particular model however, suffers from a design flaw which is the positioning of the trackpad is on top of the keyboard rather than below which is super weird and unpractical. Anyway, that doesn’t really bothers me as, I’m an avid high precision mouse user.
The specs is roughly the same as all modern ultrabook to date.
- 15.6″ Touch screen with Ezel hinge.
- 141 ppi @ 1980 x 1080 display resolution (very sharp and close to retina)
- 1 mini display port output. Comes with also free vga out adapter courtesy from Acer.
- 3 x USB 3.0 ports.
- Volume rocker and power button.
- SDCard slot
- Dedicated Geforce GTX 850M with 2GB VRAM
- Free standard NTrig stylus that works with the screen.
What got me so interested in this particular model is not so much as mentioned above; it’s actually what lies within. Before buying it, I did a background check on the internal hardware of this device and how far can I upgrade this beast at later stage. I found out that, the hardware compartment makes it insanely easy to upgrade – not to mention it’s also spacious. You can easily upgrade the following:-
- Upgrade your RAM to 16 GB (Takes 2 x 8GB of 1.3 Low Volt SO-DIMM DDR),
- On top of that, you get can even place a SSD M-SATA at the left corner of the compartment, which you can then transfer your OS there for even faster loading.
- Upgrade the existing 1 TB Standard 2.5″ drive to SSD counterpart.
Here is what it looks like internally.
Here’s the upgrade I did months ago, I’ve added MSATA slot and move the O/S Windows 8.1 from 1TB HDD to a faster MSATA SSD Crucial drive. To unscrew this set properly, I strongly advise to buy a T8 secure screwdriver, available in hardware stores. I bought mine at Ace Hardware Store inside Ikano Power Center PJ.
The unscrewing process look very similar to the video found in Youtube right below here.
I placed it here for your reference. Take note, the model he uses was the R7 571g which is a older model but, nevertheless the placement of the screws and the harddrive remained the same.
This is how my Crucial Solid State (SSD) MSATA looks like, it’s actually quite small about 2 x 20 cents size stacked horizontally. My objective is simple, install the MSATA and clone the content of my slow 1 TB drive to it. Then, once the OS is successfully transferred over – Format the 1 TB drive as storage drive.
Like the video above, I just install my MSATA to the slot there and make sure is fasten with the screw. Boot it up (the bios won’t be able to detect it – but don’t worry). Next you just need to format it in Windows 8.
Head over to This PC> right click select Manage. Select Storage > Disk Management. You will see a new harddrive which is unformatted and drive is unassigned. Right click and format it as NTFS. Once done, all I need next was to get my harddrive cloning software ready.
The cloning software I used was Macrium’s Reflect.
Steps I used prior cloning was as below :-
- Defrag my 1TB harddrive. Making sure all the file allocation are placed near to each other to optimize the space. We do this because, we are cloning content from a larger drive to the smaller ones and we need to place our files as close to each other as possible to smoothen up the cloning process.
- Create acer’s recovery and support disk to 2x usb drive for safe keeping. Just follow the instruction provided by Acer how to create both.
- Install Macrium’s reflect software. Clone only the main harddrive image (Windows one), skip the recovery and support portion. We don’t need those anymore. Since we already created those two with steps above.
- Clone entire Windows to the newly installed MSATA.
- Reboot, press F11/ F12 cant remember which, you should be able to see two windows like drive. Select the newer one with the MSATA brand name (for me it’s my brand name is CRUCIAL). It should boot using the MSATA’s content.
- Once you do, check all the features like accessing explorer, making sure wifi and sound and display drivers works to make sure everything is ok. Next, you need to delete all the 1 TB hdd content then format it to maximized your storage. Doing so makes this drive non-bootable and the bios will now load on default MSATA’s boot.
And there you have it – my Acer Aspire R7 upgrade tips!