Extend the life of your desktop or notebook with solid state drives

Extend the life of your desktop or notebook with solid state drives

Summary: SSDs, now a common option for new tablets and notebooks, can help small businesses boost performance of aging hardware.


Kingston is among the companies lead the push to SSD adoption.

Solid state drives (aka SSDs) have become an increasingly standard configuration choice for new notebook computers. Apple's MacBook Air is just one example of a system that comes standard with flash memory, which helps the ultra-thin notebook boot up more quickly and process data requests more rapidly. 

But did you know that SSDs can amp up the performance of older desktops and notebooks?

I recently interviewed several IT services companies focused on SMBs, and they report that a growing number of their small-business clients are opting for SSDs to get another year or more out of aging hardware. 

For one thing, they provide a workaround for the memory limitations of 32-bit systems. Baroan Technologies, an IT services firm found that the system boot-up time can be shrunk from several minutes down to less than 30 seconds, said Guy Baroan, the founder and president of the company.

Even though SSDs can be pretty expensive -- up to 88 cents per gigabyte compared with 19 cents per gigabyte for traditional spindle hard drives -- your company might be able to help keep costs down by buying a small capacity drive. I mean, seriously, are you really going to fill up a 768 gigabyte hard drive on your notebook computer? Chances are, you can swap out a higher capacity, but slower, hard drive for a smaller capacity SSD.

Oh, yes, another place where SSDs might be able to help is in extending battery life. That's because your system doesn't have to keep the drives spinning to do its job.

Another thing making SSD upgrades more palatable is the availability of free software from Acronis that can simplify the data migration process. It can also help small businesses convert yor current internal hard drives into external ones where older data can be archived, another smart data management strategy.

Topic: SMBs

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  • True

    I first used an SSD drive that was on sale as a quick, easy way to help someone with an aging, very sluggish Dell notebook and I was very pleasantly surprised at the night and day improvement, even in Internet access which I didn't at all expect (but cache files and cookies apparently benefit from fast disk access as well.) Since then I've installed a number of them to help out speed issues, and while performance benefits weren't so dramatic in most cases, there was always a very noticeable improvement. Just be careful of failure rates -- the problems I've run into, from the SSD quickly going bad to bizarre issues with firmware, have been at a much higher rate than traditional drives, but once you get through the first couple of weeks OK, you're generally good from that point on.
  • OWC Upgrade In MB

    Most reasonably geeky folks know that this works very well, but I upgraded my wife's 6-year-old MacBook and it exceeded my expectations. I used an OWC drive, as they have great warranty support and very good reviews. I've heard Intel drives are very reliable, too.

    Performance? This laptop used to boot Snow Leopard in about a minute - it now boots in 25 seconds. It used to lag a second or two when you opened the Applications menu - now it's instant. Programs like Word pop right up. It's great - you could truly say that the computer feels faster now, at the age of six, than it did when it was new back in 2008. This thing definitely has several years of life left in it with the SSD upgrade.

    I don't use the laptop much, so can't comment on the battery life improvement. I can say that I now have more peace of mind about bumps and thumps, though.

    My wife has a hasty habit of shutting down her computer, whapping the lid shut, and thumping it down on the coffee table as she prepares to rush off to some other activity. My protests that shutdown is a bad time to introduce a lot of vibration - as the hard drive is doing a lot of work just then - have usually been ignored. I've had to replace one HDD already, a couple of years ago, which I blamed on her "shutdown procedure". But she's barely moderated her treatment.

    Now, however, not only does the laptop shut down in about four seconds, barely giving her time to shut the lid, but I know that the SSD doesn't care about vibrations or bumps, so we can both stop worrying about it.

    Domestic felicity along with a performance boost - that's a win-win!
  • SSD on 7-year old Dell

    Last year I replaced by two hard drives with one 128 Gb SSD and one 2 Tb hard drive. The SSD is used for the OS and programs only.

    Startup time dropped from almost ten minutes down to about three, including all the time necessary to have all services start and the initial virus scan. The software which came with the SSD did a perfect transfer from my original C: drive, and Norton Ghost did the rest.

    I estimate I will get enough additional time from this change to let me wait until SP1 for Windows 8 comes out, at which point I can consider a new PC.
  • Desktops & notebooks only?

    What about laptops?
    • Laptops and notebooks are interchangeable terms

      for portable computers, at least by today's imprecise standards. Technically "laptops" came first but largely to discourage users from plopping them in their laps (and thus causing overheating due to blocking off fan vents), the industry coined "notebooks" a few years later.

      Some still feel that notebooks refer to (or ought to refer to) a slightly smaller form factor than lappies, since the original ones were a bit more compact than laptops, but really are splitting hairs at this point. Things blur and blend even further today with the advent of "ultraportables" and "netbooks" and so on and so forth.
  • Drive capacity

    "I mean, seriously, are you really going to fill up a 768 gigabyte hard drive on your notebook computer?" Yes, and then some. This is a definite trade off. Looking forward to the days of 3TB+ SSDs.
    • Get en external HDD

      Problem solved then... or go or go dual internal with a traditional platter-based HDD with larger capacity for all your data needs...
  • how is 32bit involved?

    How does using SSD instead of HDD have anything to do with 32bit software?