I usually replace my laptop every three years as things tend to start getting a little long in the tooth around this time. Everything starts slowing down, there almost always seems to be dust everywhere and productivity starts to falter. As the proud owner of a 15-inch Macbook Pro I run my life/business(sometimes very little difference) on it so productivity levels need to be high. April would mark the three year anniversary of owning my machine and since Iâ€™ve been lusting after a Macbook Air or some cool new Windows 8 Ultrabook it was a perfect time to upgrade. Iâ€™d had ideas about getting an SSD for my laptop in order to speed things up but couldnâ€™t really quantify whether somewhere between R1000 and R2000 was worth spending to get essentially very little benefit and I could have rather spent that money on buying a new machine. On a whim I decided to buy a Samsung 830 128Gig SSD drive and swap out my old hard drive.
For those not in the know, an SSD is basically a large flash drive that replaces your hard drive. A traditional hard drive uses a spinning platter to store data while an SSD (Solid State Drive) has no moving parts meaning less chance of failure as well as the benefit of speed and battery life. I was the most skeptical, how could this really speed up my computer so substantially?
To get a little technical, an SSD operates at transfer speeds anywhere between 200MB/s and 500MB/s for the top end drives. What this means is fairly irrelevant but to compare to a traditional drive youâ€™re looking at the top end, server grade hard drives hitting 200MB/s at absolute best.
I backed up everything on my old drive, performed open heart surgery to remove the old drive and installed the SSD; the whole process took me about 20 minutes. If youâ€™re looking for a great resource on disassembling your devices take a look atÂ iFixit.
My computer would previously take around 2-3 minutes to restart, even longer if I had an insane amount of tabs open like I usually do. Take a look at the speed in this video:
Also notice how quickly Excel (which is probably the slowest piece of software I have on my computer) loads; itâ€™s immediate. Photoshop and Adobe Audition load within 5 seconds.
Now for the downsides: itâ€™s a simple issue of space. Since I wasnâ€™t that keen to spend money if I was going to be buying a whole new laptop I cheaped out and bought a small drive compared to the 320 gig hard drive my computer came with. As someone with 20 gigs of pictures and about 50 gigs of music this is a terrible idea. Bear in mind the likes of Dropbox and your iDevices backups also get stored on your laptop and youâ€™ll quickly run out of space. Iâ€™m going to have to get a new, larger SSD already in order to solve this problem but since Iâ€™m not going to have to buy a whole new computer the price almost seems irrelevant. Do yourself a favour and get the biggest drive you can afford in order to not have to spend more money later on.
If youâ€™re looking to extend the life of your old computer, want to make sure your new computer is super speedy or are in the market for a new computer then make sure there is an SSD running your machine. Iâ€™ve saved countless amounts of time as well as money on buying a new machine by replacing one part; I couldnâ€™t recommend it more.
As a final comment: I usually buy my tech gear from Takealot and theyâ€™ve got a great range here:Â http://www.takealot.com/computers/all?qsearch=sata+iii+2.5+inch+ssd&gclid=CMPZ0q-P5bQCFWbKtAoda2kAWw