I just upgrade my old computer with a SSD drive and 16GB of RAM. It is the best upgrade I have ever had, I feel like getting a new computer. My 2 years old i5 is performing faster than a brand new i7 with old fashion hard drive. After installing the SSD, Windows boot up in less than 20 seconds, much faster compare to 2-3 minutes before I got the SSD.
The Crucial M4 SSD got a very good rating from Tom’s Hardware SSD review. Although it is slightly slower than Intel or Samsung, but it deliver the best value for the money. Actually, there isn’t much noticeable difference in all the latest generation SSD from the big brand names. Most of them use the same controller from Sanforce and the same NAND flash technology. I bought the Crucial M4 only because it is on sales at NCIX.
I am too lazy to reinstall my Windows, so I bought a SSD big enough to copy all the files of the OS and the installed programs. My SSD comes with a data transfer kit, it is just a USB to SATA cable with the hard drive imaging software. You cannot just copy the files from your old HDD to SSD directly, because SSD use 4k partition. The transfer is pretty simple, shrink my original hard drive to less than 256MB by moving music and video files elsewhere, then run the program to clone the remaining files. With the USB transfer kit, I can make sure the is new SSD is alive before I open the case and messing around with cables.
Windows 7 boots up without any trouble in the new SSD. However, my Windows was installed on a HDD, I have to change a few settings to optimize the OS for SSD following the easy steps in SSD Optimization Guide. The general idea is pretty simple. SSD is flash memory, it has a limited write life cycle, so you have to limited unnecessary write operations to extend its life span. For example, the optimization includes disable disk defrag utilities, get more RAM and turn off the page swap file, enable TRIM to mark delete data, move the indexing file to a HDD, etc.
I am very happy with the new SSD. My computer is running lightening fast. If you haven’t got a SSD, I strongly encourage to get one. Price of SSD had fallen a lot in the past year, it is now within an affordable range. Upgrading to a SDD will be the best upgrade to your computer ever, you will get more performance than any other upgrade.