Finding the e-Fountain of Youth

When I got impatient with my desktop computer’s performance, I was able to install a new SSD hard drive. My old machine is faster than a new one would have been, and it was a lot less expensive. Can changing a few parts help your computer find an electronic fountain of youth?

The short answer is: yes. How much you can do depends on your computer’s age and its internal systems, and it also depends on a cost-benefit analysis to determine if it makes economic sense. And, of course, I did mine on my own time, which was not an out-of-pocket expense. I knew my time would include reloading all of my software, which is the biggest chunk of time, and I also knew that if I didn’t like the way the new hard drive worked, I’d simply swap it out for the old one and buy a new computer.

The project cost me $300 for the new drive, and the process took four hours. Most of the time saving was the result of new hard drive’s speed.

While prices are coming down, SSDs are still several times more expensive than HDDs in terms of cost per unit of storage.

I decided to install the new drive on a desktop computer that went into service in December 2011. I found my computer was running slow by my standards. It was taking two to three minutes to load up all of my key programs at startup; that’s tolerable for some, highly annoying for others and exasperating for some users.

For me, it was a good investment. However, every computer is different, and every user has different needs. Here are some guidelines for deciding whether to upgrade an older computer and what steps to take.

  • You have many, many options for new hard drives. In addition to technology options, there are size options, all of which affect the cost of the drive.
  • You might want to add new RAM (random access memory), which can speed up performance considerably. A Client’s old computer runs Windows 7, and the 2 GB of RAM was dreadfully slow. The amount of RAM you can add varies with the age and quality of your computer.
  • Whether you have a 32-bit computer or 64-bit computer will affect your options. I have a 64-bit computer, and it made sense to add the speedier performance options. If I had a 32-bit computer, I would have replaced the machine.
  • If you have a desktop computer, an upgrade such as mine generally makes more sense because the case has room to hold a faster processor. A later-generation processor also can take better advantage of a bigger, faster hard drive.
  • If you are replacing an old computer, you may also need to replace the software. That’s another expense to factor into your decision.

We can help you make an informed decision by pricing out viable options based on your system and present and future computing needs. Technology always changes, and prices always come down. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to discuss where you and your computer are and where you’d like to be. If you don’t make changes now, you can start to budget your next move.