How to Upgrade Your Computer With an SSD

Is your computer performing as slow as you like, or are you looking for a way to boost performance? If your computer is more than two years old, replacing a hard drive with a solid-state drive (SSD) is one of the most cost-effective changes you can make. This will completely change your computing experience. Having said that, there are some practical challenges that you need to consider, so look further into SSD drives.

What is SSD

Historically, most computers have used hard disk drives for permanent data storage. Ideally, hard drives function like old-fashioned record players. They have spinning plaques. A part called the actuator moves a short arm that floats a short distance above the surface of the disc platters. The read / write head on that arm magnetically reads and writes binary data to the disk.

They spin at high rates of disk speed (thousands of revolutions per minute), so there are plenty of moving parts inside the hard disk drive.

They are built to last, but they eventually wear down and wear out. The hard drive can also be noisy and use a reasonable amount of power – especially to consider switching to SSD if you are a laptop user. Harder hard drives are also more fragile and there is a risk of failure if they fall too hard.

By comparison, SSDs have a form of non-volatile computer memory. In other words, the information remains on the memory chip once it is written. This is different than the regular RAM in your computer, which resets when the computer is shut down or restarted. Compared to HDDs, SSDs are more shock resistant and not affected by magnetic fields.

To learn more about the differences between hard disk drives and SSDs, see Hard Disk Drives vs. Solid State Drives: What’s Hard? Or our two-part series, HDD vs SSD: What’s the future for storage hold?

Why upgrade to SSD

The biggest difference between HDDs and SSDs is performance for most people. Replacing a hard drive with an SSD is one of the best things you can do to dramatically improve the performance of your old computer.

Without any moving parts, SSDs operate more quietly, more efficiently, and with fewer parts to break through hard drives that have spinning straps. The read and write speeds for SSDs are much better than hard drives.

For you this means less time waiting for stuff to happen. If you often see the spinning cursor on your computer screen then an SSD is worth watching. Modern operating systems increasingly rely on virtual memory management, which pages temporary swap files on disk. The faster your drive, the less performance you will be affected by this overhead.

If your laptop or desktop has just one drive, you can convert an HDD or a smaller SSD with a terabyte SSD for less than $ 150. If you are a computer user with a large amount of data, then changing the drives that hold your operating system and applications can provide a significant speed boost.

Put your work data on an additional internal or external hard drive, and you’re ready to tackle a mountain of photos, videos, or superside databases. Just make sure to implement a backup plan to keep a copy of that data secure on additional local drives, network-attached drives, or the cloud.

No reason to upgrade SSD

If SSDs are much better than hard drives, why don’t all SSDs drive? The two biggest reasons are cost and capacity. SSDs are more expensive than hard drives. A good 1 TB SSD may cost you $ 135. A comparable hard disk drive with twice the capacity will cost you around half that. SSDs are not yet available with the capacity of the largest hard disk drives, although they are getting bigger all the time. For storing a great deal of data, a hard drive is still the best solution.

SSD prices have fallen drastically in the last few years and will continue to do so. But the hard drive manufacturer is not sitting still. They improve their technique every year. Basically, there is an arms race that benefits you.

Whether or not your computer can use SSD is another question. It all depends on the age of the computer and how it is designed. Let’s take a look at the next question.

How do you upgrade to an SSD

Does your computer make regular use of shelf SATA (serial ATA) hard disk drives? If yes, you can upgrade it with SSD. SSDs are compatible with both Mac and PC. All current Mac laptops come with SSDs. Both iMac and Mac Pro come with SSD. IMacs are available with HDDs, SSDs, or Apple’s Fusion Drive, which combines an SSD with a hard disk drive.

Even if your computer already has an SSD, you may be able to upgrade it with a larger, faster SSD model. In addition to SATA-based hard drive replacement, some later-model PCs are supported with M.2 SSDs.