Byte Me Article 384 – SSD for Warren

Do You Repair or Replace?

As often as I can, I like to talk about fresh events that happened at the shop during the last week and this will again form the focus for todays’ article.  On Thursday I greeted a new face to business in the form of Warren – a typical home PC user.  Warren had a Toshiba laptop that was around 8 years old, however he was interested in upgrading it with a solid-state drive (SSD).

Warren’s CPU was an Intel Core i3 370M which we found online ( ) had a score of 2,017 which I consider to be on the low side for modern computing.  The laptop also only had 2GB of ram and a 320GB mechanical hard drive of which Warren was only using 65GB.  Otherwise it had a 15.6” screen, a number entry pad on the RHS and it had obviously been well looked after as it was still in pristine condition.

Warren was not at all keen on purchasing a replacement laptop but was still very keen on upgrading what he already had.  He explained that it was only used for limited Internet browsing, sending a few emails and keeping some photos.  He just wanted it to be a bit faster and was worried about the remaining reliability of the original 8-year-old mechanical hard drive.

Other problems that I identified were the fact that it had been upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 without a fresh install, it still had all of the original Toshiba junk software (the stuff they add to try to make a laptop look great when on display), it had a year 2000 version of Microsoft Office & he was still using Windows Live Mail which Microsoft has not supported since 2012.

We can’t upgrade the CPU but everything else could be fixed.  So the official quote was to upgrade the ram from 2GB to 8GB, install a 250GB SSD, perform a fresh install of Windows 10, install the latest Open Office (free) to replace Microsoft Office and still access all existing files, install eM Client for emailing (keeping all previous emails and contacts), get all of Warrens’ other data across, install Avast Anti-virus home edition as well as our own security tweaks, install other essential software and have all patches and updates complete.

The total for the above was $500 – which I again thought was a lot to spend on an 8-year-old laptop.  So, then I started to compare this with the option of a replacement laptop.  This turned out to be the hardest part of the exercise as an extensive search of new consumer grade laptops from the popular chain stores with similar resulting specs showed no bargains.  I was looking for a 15.6” laptop with 8GB ram, a SSD of at least 250GB and a CPU with a benchmark of at least 2000.

I was surprised by how many brand-new sub $1000 laptops had AMD CPU’s with benchmarks below 2000, or only 4GB of ram or mechanical hard drives.  A few had SSD’s but they were only 120GB in size – which leaves very little free space for user data.  As a side note when you see a laptop spec quoting a mechanical drive (HDD) at 5400rpm, give it a wide berth as it should basically read – ‘SLOW’.  HDD’s that spin at 7200rpm are noticeably faster in use if you still must have a HDD.

In the end the cheapest laptop matching the above specs that I could find was $898, however that is not the end of the story.  To match the $500 upgrade quote we would need to spend at least $360 on the new laptop to remove all the extensive manufacturers junks software, install the essential stuff that Warren needed, configure and update everything and transfer all his data. 

This in fact, became a decision between a $500 upgrade vs a $1260 new purchase so next week we’ll see what Warren decided as well as the results.  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.

No backup system – so he had at least tried to sort something before the hard drive failed

He had picked the time to upgrade or replace rather than the laptop picking the time itself.

Warrens CPU

Closest Laptop to the upgraded specs at $900

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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