Digital Home Thoughts

Digital Home Thoughts - News & Reviews for the Digital Home

Register in our forums so you're ready for our next giveaway contest...


Zune Thoughts

Loading feed...

Apple Thoughts

Loading feed...

Laptop Thoughts

Loading feed...




Go Back   Thoughts Media Forums > DIGITAL HOME THOUGHTS > Digital Home Articles & Resources

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-12-2011, 06:00 PM
Jason Dunn
Executive Editor
Jason Dunn's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 29,160
Default Is Upgrading Your Old Computer With an SSD Worth It?

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-upgrade-hard-drive,2956.html#xtor=RSS-182' target='_blank'>http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews...ml#xtor=RSS-182</a><br /><br /></div><p><em>"It's a foregone conclusion that SSDs are must-haves in performance-oriented PCs, but our testing reveals that solid-state drives are reasonable upgrades in older mainstream machines, too. We build three old boxes to gauge the impact of an SSD on each."</em></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/dht/auto/1313163182.usr1.jpg" style="border: 0;" /></p><p>There are only a few Web sites out there that I trust to tackle thorny questions with the scientific rigour that would make a molecular biologist proud, and Tom's Hardware is one of those sites. They post a fascinating question: is it worth it to put an SSD in an old computer? They reach all the way back to a typical system from 2005, equipped with a 300 GB Samsung hard drive that benchmarked at 54 Mbps, and move forward from there to several newer generations. Their conclusions? SSDs rock performance, even on an older system. The catch though is the price tag; if you need a lot of storage, it starts to make less sense to put an expensive SSD in an older system. One option is to use a smaller, less expensive SSD for the boot drive, then use a large hard drive for mass storage.</p><p>Personally, after years of multi-drive, multi-partition setups, I've enjoyed the simplified approach of a single partition, single drive setup on most of my PCs and have resisted going to an SSD until the price on 200+ GB drives comes down. I might re-evaluate that on my next build...we'll see.</p><p>Have you installed an SSD in an older computer? Was the performance increase noticeable?</p>
__________________
Want to contact me personally? Use this. Want to read my personal blog? Check it out. Want to follow me on Twitter? Here you go.
 
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-13-2011, 02:41 AM
Macguy59
Mystic
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,608

I put a 115GB OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD in the wife's early 2008 MacBook. Big improvement on overall system speed. Much faster boot and resource hog apps like iTunes launch as fast as my MBA. Well worth the $200 (and it got me off the hook of buying her a MBA )
__________________
27" iMac 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 8GB RAM
16GB LTE iPad3, 13" Macbook Air Core i5 w/128GB SSD
iPhone 4S (16GB), AppleTV 2.0
 
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-13-2011, 03:28 AM
ptyork
Sage
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 639

My PC is actually really close to their 2008 machine, 'cept I had a somewhat older 300GB 7200RPM drive as my primary. I installed a 120GB SSD and configured it as my primary OS and apps drive. The change really was night and day. Not only with boots, but with web browsing, app startup, just everything. 50-90% faster. Really.

Especially before I had to "tweak" things. My "tweaks" included offloading the temp files, internet cache, etc. to a 1TB "green" drive. While I kept the documents on the SSD, I offloaded the photos and videos, as well. Really it wasn't a very straightforward process. But it had to happen A) because I was running out of space and B) because I needed to limit my rewrites as much as possible to save drive life, and temp files and especially internet cache are supposed to be really bad in this regard.

And now after the tweaks, my experience isn't quite as good. Still much better, but web browsing is now back to normal (expected since I had to move the cache back to a slower drive). Pretty sad.

I wouldn't go back since it is still a whole lot better. It certainly has kept me from longing for a new PC. But I can understand your reluctance to jump in feet first.
 
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-13-2011, 04:51 PM
djdj
Intellectual
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 137

I've added SSDs to several of my computers, going back to a 2007 model laptop. Amazing difference! They have made the old computers feel brand new and completely usable again. If you've got a computer that you use consistently and can afford a large enough SSD, I say absolutely do the upgrade. It is totally worth it.

On my desktop machines, I've used an SSD as the boot drive, and a magnetic drive for storage, and even software. Since there is a lot less competition for access to the drive, even apps on a magnetic disk load faster when the OS has been loaded from an SSD.
 
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-14-2011, 04:35 PM
Jason Dunn
Executive Editor
Jason Dunn's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 29,160

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptyork View Post
...because I needed to limit my rewrites as much as possible to save drive life, and temp files and especially internet cache are supposed to be really bad in this regard.
It's your gear so it's your call, but I'm pretty confident that with modern SSDs the code they use to control writes is good about spreading it out over the whole of the drive. And even if the life of the drive went from 10 years down to 5 years, is that worth sacrificing performance for? I mean, it's the whole reason you buy an SSD in the first place: performance.
__________________
Want to contact me personally? Use this. Want to read my personal blog? Check it out. Want to follow me on Twitter? Here you go.
 
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-14-2011, 06:27 PM
ptyork
Sage
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 639

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dunn View Post
It's your gear so it's your call, but I'm pretty confident that with modern SSDs the code they use to control writes is good about spreading it out over the whole of the drive. And even if the life of the drive went from 10 years down to 5 years, is that worth sacrificing performance for? I mean, it's the whole reason you buy an SSD in the first place: performance.
Yeah, I've been considering moving the cache folders back, as it really did make a large difference. The other challenge is the size. Too small, more overwrites and less drive life. Too big and my already ALMOST full drive becomes even more cramped. Still debating it.

Note that I also found a couple of corrupt files on the SSD recently. In this case, they were in the install cache (files stored to enable reinstall, uninstall, etc.). That has me a bit worried. Is this simply a couple of bad "sectors" (whatever the equivalent is in SSD-speak) or is this a sign of deterioration? Who knows?
 
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-14-2011, 07:37 PM
Jason Dunn
Executive Editor
Jason Dunn's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 29,160

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptyork View Post
Yeah, I've been considering moving the cache folders back, as it really did make a large difference. The other challenge is the size. Too small, more overwrites and less drive life. Too big and my already ALMOST full drive becomes even more cramped. Still debating it.
This might be crazy, but what about picking up a 64 GB SSD for $80 and not caring if you burn it out in a few years? Put the temporary Internet files, Windows swap file, etc. on there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptyork View Post
Note that I also found a couple of corrupt files on the SSD recently. In this case, they were in the install cache (files stored to enable reinstall, uninstall, etc.). That has me a bit worried.
My first forays into SSD-land have been a bit rocky. I bought an OCZ SSD a few months ago and it died within six days. A buddy of mine bought an OCZ and it died within a few weeks. I've had an Imation SSD corrupt completely forcing a Windows re-install. I've certainly had hard drives go bad over the years, but few and far in-between.

Part of my reluctance to go fully SSD is based on the fact that I don't particularly feel the technology is stable yet...or maybe I've just had some REALLY bad luck that has rubbed off on those around me.
__________________
Want to contact me personally? Use this. Want to read my personal blog? Check it out. Want to follow me on Twitter? Here you go.
 
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-14-2011, 09:12 PM
ptyork
Sage
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 639

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dunn View Post
This might be crazy, but what about picking up a 64 GB SSD for $80 and not caring if you burn it out in a few years? Put the temporary Internet files, Windows swap file, etc. on there.
Hmm, interesting thought. Newegg's got a Corsair Nova 60GB for $75. I may just have look into that. Though I need another dadgum drive letter like I need a <insert favored cliche here>.

Quote:
I bought an OCZ SSD a few months ago and it died within six days. A buddy of mine bought an OCZ and it died within a few weeks <snip> ...or maybe I've just had some REALLY bad luck that has rubbed off on those around me.
Yup, mine's an OCZ, as well. If your bad luck is rubbing off, get the heck away from me!!
 
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-14-2011, 11:02 PM
Macguy59
Mystic
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,608

No problem with the one I bought and installed so far. Been 3 months and counting
__________________
27" iMac 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 8GB RAM
16GB LTE iPad3, 13" Macbook Air Core i5 w/128GB SSD
iPhone 4S (16GB), AppleTV 2.0
 
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-15-2011, 01:41 AM
Bob Christensen
Ponderer
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 76

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dunn View Post
Part of my reluctance to go fully SSD is based on the fact that I don't particularly feel the technology is stable yet...or maybe I've just had some REALLY bad luck that has rubbed off on those around me.
This article from AnandTech gives some insight into some of the issues with SSDs that point to them maybe not being quite ready for "prime time" yet.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4604/t...-ssds-compared

I've got a small SSD with just the OS on it. Yes, a fast boot up is nice, but hardly worth the cost. The next one I buy has to be large enough for most of my applications and the OS... and, darn it, cost about half what that would be today.
 
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 01:55 PM.