Byte Me Article 383 – Implementing a SSD

Revive Old PC’s With an SSD

Following on from last weeks’ article about what a huge step forward solid-state drives (SSD’s) are over their older mechanical hard drive cousins, this week we look at how and when to implement one of these into an existing PC.  We are pushing the sale of these as standard in new PC’s however they can breathe new life into an existing PC.

So, who should be considering one of these for their existing PC?  Obviously the first step is to see if your existing PC has a mechanical hard disk drive.  Hopefully you will still have a copy of the invoice from your purchase and it will list all the specs of your PC.  If this is the case then it will probably list a Seagate or Western Digital Hard Drive of around 320GB, 500GB, 750GB or 1TB capacity.

If you purchased a SSD originally then the invoice should mention the letters SSD or M.2 to indicate that you already have a SSD.  If you don’t have this documentation, then you could try going to “This PC” for Windows 8 or 10 or “My Computer” for Windows 7 and right clicking on the “C” drive and selecting the “Properties” option.

Next you would go to the “Hardware” tab and here it will tell you the brand and model of your hard drive.  At this same point you could also look under the “General” tab to see how much hard drive space you are currently using.  This last step will be helpful in deciding what size SSD you need to replace your mechanical drive.

The next step is to look at your existing CPU model and power.  Last week I gave some directions here and basically you should have a CPU benchmarked at around 3,000 or better to consider investing in a SSD and keeping your PC for much longer.  If your CPU is benchmarked at less than this a SSD will still speed it up however we consider that you may be best looking at upgrading the entire PC to something more powerful with a SSD from the start.

Next you need to consider if your existing PC has been giving any problems.  As an example, we had a 6-year-old laptop come in the other day which had a CPU rated at 4,600 but the screen was starting to fail.  A SSD will not help the screen, so we sold an entire replacement Laptop – with a SSD from the start.  Otherwise it would have been a prime candidate for a SSD upgrade.

Lastly you need to consider if your existing PC has been having any software-based problems or glitches.  If this is the case, then a SSD upgrade with a fresh install of the operating system and your programs could work wonders for both speed and useability.  If your current install is running smooth but just slow then an imaging process to the new SSD will be the ticket.

The difference between an imaging process and a fresh install is that the former keeps all your existing software, settings and data intact and transfers everything to the new drive.  Alternatively, a fresh install requires all your special programs to be reinstalled from scratch and all your data to be transferred manually.  This last procedure gets rid of any software problems but also takes more labour.

We have already seen dozens of 2 to 4-year-old desktops and laptops that fit the above criteria for a SSD upgrade and the difference in their useability and performance is simply astounding. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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