Speed up your PC or Laptop with Solid State

Solid State saves the wait

Solid-State hard drives could be a cost-effective alternative rather than buying new replacement kit.

When times are hard you need to be efficient with your IT budget. This post explains the alternatives open to you if your PC or laptop is a bit tired.

So what is a solid state drive? Basically they will become common place in time as the efficiency of the manufacturing is improved. Probably within the next year most PCs and laptops will be solid state. The iPad uses a solid state drive today.
Image of SSDA standard hard drive has a spinning drive that spins very fast usually 7,200 RPM or up to 15,000 RPM. Solid state drives have no moving parts. They use memory chips instead. The same type of chips you use in digital camera cards. The pictures (or data) are written and stored very quickly much quicker than on standard drives.
PCs and laptops spend much of their time reading and writing data. So if the data is stored on a solid state rather standard, it improves the speed of the machine considerably.

You can replace your existing drive with one of these for around £200.00 for 160GB drive. An engineer will image your existing drive to the new solid state using specialist software. They will usually charge around £50 to do this.
We are £250 in so why not just buy a new machine? A new machine will cost around £400-£500 for a good one. The £299.00 deals are a waste of time. Then you have to buy the software again, and install it all, and before you know it you’ve spent nearly £700 as opposed to £250.00. Now if you have a number of machines it soon adds up to a significant saving.

The PC needs to be using SATA type drives rather than IDE. If the PC is less than 4 years old there is a good chance they are SATA type. Just ask your engineer and they will be able to tell you. If you want me to take a look just email me. My guys can look at the PC remotely and advise for free. If it turns out the your PC or Laptop is IDE based, then solid state IDE is possible but I believe they are cost prohibitive at time of writing. (Around £400)
160GB might not be enough for some but for most it will be. You can buy bigger solid state drives but they get very expensive today. They will come down in price considerably over the next year or so I have no doubt.
There are Hybrid drives which are much cheaper and are a combination of both. I put a hybrid drive in my workstation at the office but to be honest it did not make much difference. I am now planning to fit a full solid state drive. I was doing that anyway but bought a hybrid as an experiment just to see the difference which was disappointing.
You should buy fully solid state rather than hybrid.

I have made many generalisations here and you need to get your IT guys to check out your PC / laptop before you buy anything. Also there are cheap models of solid state – stay clear of those. The ones I’ve used where Intel 320 Series which perform well.

As a further experiment, I bought two identical brand new laptops, identical in every way.  I then replaced the drive that came with one of them with a solid state drive. I’ve uploaded a video showing the difference between the two laptops.

The one on the left has a solid state drive; the one on the right is as it arrived from HP.

The one on the left has a solid state drive; the one on the right is as it arrived from HP.

Watch the video and see the difference for yourself.
You should also consider upgrading your RAM this can also make a big difference.  I recommend 2GB  – 4GB for most systems. Ram is much cheaper than it used to be. My favourite site for this is www.orcalogic.com where you can scan your machine with their memory scanner tool and it will tell you exactly what RAM you can buy for your PC. You can also buy it from them.

Subscribe to this blog to be sure to receive the second part of this entry. Other tools to speed up your systems.

About Paul G Howes

I'm the founder of itauthority in the UK. I started this company to help small businesses make better use of the IT they purchase. Many buy tech for the wrong reasons or buy something and then realised they don't have the time to make the most of it. How many unused programs are installed on your system? So I'm all about getting the most from IT. My other interests: I love music above most other things, I'm a pilot, I'm building myself a recording studio, I'm a magician - member of the Ilford Magical Society, as well as a runner & cyclist.
This entry was posted in 2011 Sept Issue 2, Hardware Advice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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