Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rejuvenating That Old Laptop With an SSD

If you have an old PC laptop that is slow to start up and slow to open files, but is otherwise fine, you don't have to junk it.  We have a four year old laptop with a 1.3 GHz i3-380M processor that was getting slow.  I expanded the memory to 6GB a few years ago, an inexpensive (under $75) and easy way to speed it up.  However, it was still slow and it would cost about $350-$500 to get an equivalent laptop today and I would have to get used to Windows 8.

So I replaced the 320GB hard drive with a $100 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD) and the performance has improved dramatically.  The replacement took about 20 minutes with a screwdriver to do the replacement and about 30 minutes to reload Windows 7.  There is a large choice of SSD brands and sizes, you can even get a 1TB drive for under $500 if you want.

The replaced hard drive can be used as a backup drive if you purchase an inexpensive hard drive enclosure for the old drive for about $10-$15.  Putting the drive in the enclosure will take about 5 minutes.  Voila, a 320GB USB-powered external drive.

If you have a MAC laptop, none of this applies.  Putting an SSD in a MACbook is possible, but is much more complicated due to the proprietary drive form factor and Apple's efforts to stop you from opening the case (special screws, complicated assembly..).

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