• Daniel Wright

A Simple Equation...

Just finished work on a 12 year old Acer Laptop that originally came packaged with Windows Vista. The laptop has been well kept and is in surprisingly good condition for it’s age. I suspect the customer would have kept it exactly as it was if it still had a functioning web browser!

The Acer laptop in question clearly had a decent spec when it was made back in the noughties. It had the luxury of 4GB of RAM, well above the standard for a laptop at the time. It also has a 64 bit processor and is probably one of the first to come with a SATA Hard Disk. Which means 12 years later, it can be updated to the latest version of Windows 10 and is now sporting a much faster Solid State Drive.

Sorry to say it, but they don’t build ‘em like they used to!

I upgrade a lot of machines with SSD’s. They’re not usually as old as this one, but it’s a mainstay of the job and will continue to be as long as laptops and PC’s are shipped with HDD’s. An SSD can transform a clunky, underperforming computer and speed it up beyond belief. There are still some questions over reliability in terms of longevity, but it’s a damned sight easier to recover lost data from one than it is a mechanically mangled Hard Disk Drive. I’ve also found users are more likely to backup their data to an external drive with the faster transfer rates offered by SSD.

For the last couple of years Kingston A400 and Crucial BX500’s have been my go to drives for low cost upgrades. Both offer a massive step up from a Hard Disk and the basic 120GB models are £20 plus change. You can scoff at the idea of replacing a 1TB or 500GB HDD with a measly 120GB but the simple fact is, that kind of storage space is wasted on the average laptop user. The 1TB drive in the 12 Year old Acer had 54GB of data on there and most of that was surplus!

The size of the drive I recommend to a customer is dictated by the amount of space they actually use. In this instance bigger is not better, it’s just more expensive and a waste of money!

These drives could be considered a bit outdated, but that’s what makes them so cheap. While there’s still plenty of old stock kicking about, I’ll keep using them. In the last four years I’ve literally installed hundreds of them and only had one fail. At the end of the day, it’s all about knowing your customer and judging their needs in relation to cost. All most of my customers would get from a higher performance SSD is a hefty bill. What they get from replacing an old HDD with a low cost Kingston or Crucial, is a considerably faster and more reliable computer.

When a customer does want or need something better, the Samsung EVO series is as good as it gets. I’m sure plenty of people will take issue with that and blather on about specs and tests and all sorts of other stuff that’s meaningless to real world application. What really matters is no one has ever asked me for their money back or had an issue related to a Samsung SSD I’ve installed.

When it comes to Macs, I wouldn’t recommend any other drive. In saying that, if you’re on a tight budget the Crucial BX500’s also perform exceptionally well inside a Mac.

Where drive upgrades are concerned, it’s a simple equation: Improvement + Relaibility + Low Cost = A Happy Customer.

At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

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