SSD (Solid State Drives) are a new technology hard drive. Older style hard drives store data on a spinning disk (like a record player), but the new SSD’s have no moving parts, instead storing the data electronically on flash drive circuits – similar to the way a thumb drive works but a lot more stable.
An SSD can really speed up a slow computer.
SSD’s are faster, quieter, and a bit less prone to damage if you bump your computer while it’s shutting down. I’ve seen boot up time reduced from 3 minutes to 30 seconds when I’ve replaced the hard drive with an SSD – and they are faster to work with from start to finish, not just when they are booting up.
SSD’s are more expensive, especially if you want large storage capacity. For desktop PC’s at the moment you can get a 250GB SSD for around $150, but if you want a 1TB SSD you’ll be paying more like $600-$800. Laptop SSD’s are in the same price range, and with their shorter working life it will depend on the model whether an upgrade is worth it or not. Sometimes an entry level laptop with replacement SSD will end up faster and cheaper than a high end laptop.
NB Prices change week to week, these are ballpark figures for the more stable brands that we recommend.
The best of both worlds – speed and storage!
One way to get the best of both worlds is to use a dual system – keep your main information on the SSD for fast access and use a cheaper (but slower) standard hard drive to store bulky photos, backups and so on. Most desktops can run with dual hard drives, while laptops will need the second drive to be external. If your old hard drive still works when you upgrade then you can use that, or just get a new one for around $100 depending on your motherboard.
External hard drive cases (for either desktop or laptops) are a very cheap investment – and make a great backup solution. We also reviewed some nifty hard drive caddies for laptops in this article. These ones fit neatly into the laptops DVD drive, which most people don’t even use any more.
If you have a slow computer and want both speed and storage a dual system can give you the best of both worlds.
How long does a hard drive replacement take?
We generally do hard drive replacements at our workshop where we have backup facilities, and we don’t have to charge you while we are waiting for the old hard drive to back itself up.
They usually take us around 2 hours to do the work for either a laptop or desktop. We do charge for pickup and delivery, so if you are looking to upgrade more than one PC it’s good to get them done at the same time. You might also plan some other work for us to do while we are onsite – checking your server or running updates and virus scans can help you get the most value out of that time.
For planned work like this you wouldn’t expect to lose the computer for more than a day – we won’t pick it up until we have the parts ready to go.
Will I notice any differences?
If you are only upgrading the hardware (and not changing your software, eg doing a Win10 Upgrade) then the only difference you will notice is the speeeeed!
Keep in mind that speeding up a slow computer doesn’t just boost your staff morale, it can help them work faster, and they won’t lose their train of thought every time they tell their slow PC to “Hurry UP!”