OCZ Technology Neutrino Netbook Review

Installing SSD, RAM and OS

Here's a section you won't often find in a netbook review: the one that explains how to install a hard drive, RAM and operating system in order to get the darn thing to turn on. In fact, this is the first netbook review to have such a section. As we explained earlier, OCZ ships this "DIY" machine without a hard drive, OS, SODIMM or multicard reader. It's up to you to select those, crack open the rear and install them once it arrives.

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For our testing, we selected an OCZ Apex Series 60GB solid state drive (2.5"), a 2GB SODIMM (there's only one slot) and Windows 7 RC1. We didn't bother installing a multicard reader, as it's a well known fact that those work as advertised. The Neutrino comes with the above pictured drive tray as well as screws to fix your HDD or SSD of choice into it. It also comes with the pictured battery, guides and AC adapter.

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OCZ provides a great, picture-laden guide to removing the back panel and installing your hard drive / RAM. It was easy to follow, and there are only six screws to remove before you have access to the internals. Unfortunately, those screws require a diminutive screwdriver like the one shown below, and OCZ didn't think to include one.

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Removing the back cover and installing the RAM and hard drive was as easy as could be, though we should caution you to make absolutely sure your HDD / SSD and SODIMM are securely seated before bolting everything back together. Our SSD was ever-so-slightly out of place initially, forcing us to remove it and re-seat it before the Neutrino would recognize it. On the bottom of the image below, you'll notice a SIM card slot. OCZ doesn't really promote the built-in WWAN functionality, but there's definitely a slot here. We didn't have a spare data card to try in it, but as we mentioned earlier, experienced modders may be able to squeeze some extra utility out of their machine with this.

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Once everything was reassembled, we fired it up for the first time and proceeded to install Windows 7 RC1 via a USB flash drive. We must caution you that this was far and away the most time consuming part of the setup. We needed another PC to download Windows 7 RC1, ready the USB drive and transfer the files. Your life will be made much easier if you have a spare USB optical drive laying around along with Windows XP, Vista, Ubuntu or any other operating system on a disc. If you've never installed an OS yourself before, you'll be on your own; OCZ provides no help here. We're only pointing this out in order to make sure you understand that you'll need to provide your own legitimate operating system before this machine ever does anything. That's an unusual requirement for notebooks these days, so we feel it deserves the elaboration.

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