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Turbo start your computer with SSD

Many of you are probably aware of SSD [Solid State Drives] by now, for a long time I’ve considered getting myself an SSD after reading blogs, forums and articles citing the incredible speed improvements offered by SSD.

Cluttered mishmash of startup applications

If you’re anything like me you probably have several dozen applications that all try to load up at once when you boot up your computer. Over the years you accumulate more and more applications that you “just can’t do without”, so it just keeps on piling up and adding to your startup times.

I finally reached a pivotal moment when my computer was taking 5 whole minutes to get to a usable state where I can begin working or browsing the net.

Soluto

There’s a freeware app called soluto which puts some of your non essential apps on delayed start up, such as your spotify player, torrent program, skype or snagit screen shot utility. I used it for a while but cutting down your boot from say 5 minutes to 4 minutes, for me isn’t really a huge accomplishment. You might appreciate it at first but sooner or later 4 minutes still feels like a long time to wait to use a computer.

SSD

I always wanted to get my hands on some but the cost of a realistically large SSD seem to be a be prohibitive. Recently though, while the ageing mechanical drives have been shooting up in price, the cost of SSD was falling.

For instance the cost of Crucial 128GB M4 SSD costs a mere $210 today. Just a year ago the same would set you back at least $350. So I finally decided to take the plunge as all the teething issues of the technology have been ironed out, and the price is acceptable.

After installing the crucial m4, restoring the image clone of my drive and aligning my parition, I manged to get an easy boot of around 1 minute to a usable desktop, and that’s not even the fast. I’m using a SATA 6Gb/s SSD drive on a much reduced 3Gb/s SATA interface, when I upgrade my motheboard with a SATA 6Gb/s interface I should get 25% more speed on boot out of the drive.

Teething issues

SSDs aren’t perfect, while they arguably reduced power consumption [a point of debate], decrease system boot times by at least 5 times [I managed to get my boot down from 5 minutes to just one minute], there are a few drawbacks to SSD.

Old style mechanical drives can write and rewrite data virtually unlimited amount of times, where as SSDs can only rewrite a thousand times or so.

This is easily solved though by move your frequently rewritten data such as your search index, browser cache and other frequently updated information onto a secondary mechanical drive.

Need for backup

It’s up to you to work out whether an expensive SSD drive with it’s limited rewrite operations is worthwhile for you, it isn’t uncommon for SSDs to fail as well. the M4 is more reliable than others which is why I picked this.

Thankfully most SSDs come with warranties which protect you, and entitles you to a replacement drive. So it’s should go without saying always backup your data, I use online backup as well as LAN based backups for double security. Read the online backup reviews page for full recommendations.

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