Today’s cool tool is not free, and not software.  If you’re looking for free software, look elsewhere.  If you’re looking for a tool that will seriously speed up your computer, keep on reading.

Today’s free tool is a solid state drive.  Specifically, this one from Kingston.  In general, any of them would work.

Bettie’s PC had been having problems for a while, slowness, unresponsiveness, just a generally bad user experience.  It seemed to me as if there might be some problems with a disk, with the long delays occurring while the bad drive tried to read that nonfunctioning sector.  We did some looking using Seagate’s SeaTools, but found no problems (although I found out later that S.M.A.R.T. monitoring was turned off in the BIOS.  Haven’t tried since turning it on.), so we looked to a hardware solution.

Getting the SSD was part one.  Installing Windows 7 was part 2.  Dropping in a new 2T drive to hold everything else will be the final part.  We’re not pushing too hard on that, though, because we are flat-out, jaw-on-the-floor flabbergasted by the speed of her “new” PC.  It’s a dual-core box with 3G of RAM.  Under XP it scored a user rating of “Ooooooh, this frustrates me so much!!!!”.  With the dual change of SSD and Win7, the new rating is “I likes it!!”.  Same CPU, same memory, same on-mobo video.  This is not a gaming machine, by any means (it’s about 4 years old), but it’s one seriously fast box now.  It seems quicker than my quad-core 8G machine running Win7 (both 32-bit, so it’s only using 3.X gigabytes of my memory) that’s two years newer, has faster memory, and a decent video card.

A new SSD is not something you pick up over lunch.  For the price, we could have gotten almost 4T of spinning disk.  That’s about 64 times as much storage – nothing to be sneezed at.

But if somebody comes to me asking advice on building a system, I’m going to recommend a SSD for the operating system, and then spinning disk for picture/music/video storage.  Because the SSD is so fast I think I’m in California, and, like, you know, totally wow.  Man.

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