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Use a SSD to dramatically improve Windows performance

Recently we decided to upgrade the hard drive of one of our 2 year old Sony Vaio laptops here in the office. The laptop was performing admirably considering its components and what was loaded on it. We had a number of programs set to run on Windows start up including Skype, SugarSync (backup), Norton Internet Security, Snagit and a few other apps. Pretty much programs that we want running all the time for convenience. We try to make sure that any applications that we don’t use all the time are disabled from Windows start up.

We had optimized the Windows registry, defragmented the registry, updated the drivers, cleared the temporary files and defragmented the hard drive. In essense we followed the ReviverSoft 9 step plan for improving your PC’s performance.

Even with all these optimizations, due to the applications we had set to load at start time and the normal Windows 7  start up processes that happen when Windows loads, our time from pressing the power button to being up and running in Windows 7 with all applications loaded was 5 minutes. For many of you a 5 minute Windows start time might be a dream come true but for us this was too long. For those wondering, the drive in the Sony laptop was a Hitachi 512GB 5400RPM drive (pictured below), so not the fastest possible but it’s a typical drive bundled in most laptops.

With solid state hard drives (SSDs) becoming cheaper and cheaper by the day we decided it was time upgrade the hard drive in our Sony Vaio and use a SSD. Amazon had a deal on a 256GB Crucial SSD for $199.99 USD so we jumped on it and it came in the mail a couple days later (SSD pictured below).

We will post more articles on the steps (and issues) in changing the drives in future posts but the results of the upgrade were very impressive! We went from a 5 minute Windows start time down to 47 seconds! That is a 6.38 times faster load time than the previous drive. If we start this computer up once a day every day for 1 year we would save ourselves over 24 hours of waiting for our computer to start! Pretty amazing stuff.

The other great side effect of the upgrade was that because the SSD does not have any moving parts in it, it also uses less power. When fully charged and unplugged from power the estimated time remaining on the battery has increased by 2 hours. Not bad huh?

This is a great example of a reasonably simple and not too expensive an upgrade that you can make to your PC that will get you a dramatic increase in performance. This is definitely a very compelling alternative to spending the money to buy a new computer.

With all this said, larger SSDs are still very expensive. While this 256GB drive was only $200, at the time we bought it a drive twice the size costs MORE than twice the amount. In a laptop you rarely have the opportunity to have two hard drives either so you can’t just but two drives smaller and save money over buying one bigger drive. So if you need the space on a drive within the computer an SSD can be a very expensive option. In this situation we decided to move all the media (photos, videos and music) from this laptop to an external hard drive. You can quite easily find a 1TB external hard drive for under $100 which would do this job for most people quite well.

We hope this information is helpful for you when weighing up your alternatives for upgrading your computer vs buying a new one. In this case the upgrade to an SSD has given this laptop a new lease on life and we now don’t even have time to make a coffee while we wait for the computer to start in the morning!


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