The speed locker

Finweek English Edition - - TECHNOLOGY - Si­mon Din­gle

Since the dawn of PCs, ev­ery­one who owns one has wanted just one thing – for their com­puter to be faster. Ap­par­ently get­ting twice as com­pe­tent at pro­cess­ing in­for­ma­tion ev­ery two years isn’t enough for the de­mand­ing hu­man be­ings who haven’t got­ten bet­ter at much in the last thou­sand years. Once you have a com­puter there aren’t many ways to im­prove its ac­tual per­for­mance, but the best magic trick we’ve learned re­cently is to switch to a solid state hard drive if you don’t have one. It’s l ike putting your com­puter on steroids.

The rea­son for this is that solid state hard drives (SSDs) en­able much faster data ac­cess times, com­pared to the far slower, older hard drives that had spin­ning plat­ters within. Long story short – SSDs are fast, but ex­pen­sive. Prices have come down con­sid­er­ably, how­ever.

The Sandisk Ex­treme II is one of the new gen­er­a­tion of SSD prod­ucts with even faster speeds than what were avail­able be­fore and also of­fers a re­duced price. While things are still con­sid­er­ably more ex­pen­sive than com­pa­ra­bly sized hard drives, the per­for­mance kick may be worth it for many.

In a lap­top with a re­place­able 2.5” hard drive, slip­ping in a re­place­ment SSD is a good move and, in most cases, pro­vides a re­mark­able im­prove­ment in per­for­mance for much less than a new ma­chine.

The catch, how­ever, is that this of­ten means do­ing with less stor­age ca­pac­ity. The drive sent to us for re­view, as ex­am­ple, is 240GB and costs around R2 800, whereas a reg­u­lar hard drive at twice the size costs much less.

In desk­top ma­chines a good tac­tic is to make the SSD your pri­mary drive, where the op­er­at­ing sys­tem and your ap­pli­ca­tions are stored, and then stick pho­tos, mu­sic and other f iles on a larger sec­ondary hard drive.

The other, ar­guably big­ger ad­van­tage than speed, is that SSD drives are more ro­bust and don’t fail as eas­ily as their no­to­ri­ously frag­ile pre­de­ces­sors. Your data is just safer on an SSD.

So if you’re look­ing to im­prove the per­for­mance of your com­puter with­out re­plac­ing it out­right, and you’ve al­ready made sure you’ve got more than enough RAM, then re­plac­ing the hard drive with an SSD is not a bad way to go.

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