Hard drive upgradeLast week, we started looking at upgrades that can make an older computer feel like new again. We covered the benefits that adding RAM to your computer can provide. This week, we look at hard drive upgrades and how upgrading this vital component can make your older computer feel livelier again.

Whereas RAM provides temporary storage on your computer, the hard drive provides a more permanent home for your data. Information has to be constantly written, rewritten, and overwritten to the hard drive while your computer does it’s work. Given that, a slow hard drive can really impact the performance of your computer. A faster hard drive will make everything quicker – the computer will start in less time, programs will launch more quickly, and the whole system will be more responsive.

Most hard drives these days use the SATA standard, whether they are laptop or desktop drives. You’d need to check your computers’ user manual – or consult with a technician – to ensure that is the kind of hard drive you need. Current SATA3 drives are backwardly compatible with older implementations of the standard and can still provide a healthy performance boost. A traditional hard drive that operates at 7200rpm and has a SATA3 interface can provide a nice boost in speed.

Faster yet are a new type of hard drive called SSD, or solid state drives. In some cases these can be dramatically faster than a traditional hard drive. Adding an SSD to an older system can really improve performance, making startup and program loading several times faster. The drawback is that SSDs are considerably more expensive than traditional hard drives, as well as having lower capacities. We do recommend consulting with a computer tech before diving into a hard drive upgrade, just to make sure everything works together. As always, if you need advice on an upgrade, bring your system into IMSInkspot, and we’ll give you a quick, free recommendation!

Next time, we’ll look at another important upgrade for desktop systems – the video card!