A few months ago, I needed a new field laptop.  The laptop I was using had died, but I really didn't want to purchase a new one because I often used the unit in bad environments, like rooftops or computer closets.  On the other hand, I wanted the computer to boot up quickly and have a decent battery life.  Sitting on my shelf was an old Lenovo laptop with Windows XP and a bad hard drive that had outlived its purpose as a business laptop - or so we thought.

Time To Resurrect An Old Laptop

Since the laptop's hard drive had crashed, it was necessary to replace the drive.  Instead of installing a new hard drive - one that contains platters and spindles - I ordered a solid state drive - one that contains flash memory.  Solid state hard drives (SSDs) work completely differently than previous style hard drives.  The technology in them is similar to what is used in for storage in cellular phones, tablets and other mobile devices.  They generally have extremely fast data read times and have no mechanical parts.  This allows computers to access the data stored much faster than hard drives.  Additionally, because they have no mechanical parts, they can have a much longer life span than hard drives, especially for mobile use.  Finally, SSDs require far less power to operate than hard drives because there is no energy used to keep a disk spinning constantly inside the drive.

SSD Performance In An Old Dog

In addition to installing a SSD, I upgraded the RAM to 4gb and installed Windows 7.  With those 3 upgrades, my new (old) field laptop that was originally manufactured over 5 years ago performs its functions nearly as good as a new laptop I could have purchased.  The boot time is less that 15 seconds, has a 4 hour battery life, and most applications open up instantaneously.  The only downfall to using an older machine is the CPU and video performance isn't anywhere near as good as hardware that you can buy today.  This means that watching high-definition videos or playing games on it is out of the question.

The moral of this story is that SSDs can add a huge performance increase for your computers.  They are generally more expensive and hold less data than a traditional hard drive, but their performance is very impressive.  The bottom line is that if you can spend a few extra dollars and do not need to store much data on your PC, SSD is the way to go.  If you are looking for a less expensive option or need to store a large amount of data, hard drives are the best choice for you.