If you’re thinking about a new computer because you’re afraid to attempt an upgrade, here’s a few tips, and a video that proves a 5 year-old can do it!
If you have been pondering new versus upgrading your existing computer, here a few things to consider.
Cost: Depending on your current model – age and spcecs, it might make more sense to upgrade.
New technology: The law of diminishing returns – new becomes old quickly.
Ability: Concern about skills required to upgrade.
There are many upgrade options, and we can’t cover them all or you’d fall asleep, so for this article let’s stick to hard drives.
If you’ve done any research, you’ve probably seen the new Solid State Hard Drives (SSD’s.) The advantage of SSD’s is speed and durability, because they work on flash drive technology which means no moving parts. The disadvantage is you get less storage space for your money. But, there is a way to upgrade to SSD and keep your old hard drive as an external drive.
First things first; you have to determine the type of hard drive you currently have. If it is not SATA then forget it, go for the new computer. If it is SATA the question becomes how much storage space do you want and how much are you willing to budget.
Second; with a few basic tools — in this case a set of small screwdrivers (non-magnetic!), a magnifying glass of some kind, and an anti-static band — and a USB cable, you can move your existing hard drive into a case like the one pictured below, effectively converting it to an external hard drive.
Almost every SSD you buy will come will an option of “mirroring software” which will copy your old hard drive onto the new one. Some will also come with the case and USB cable needed to connect the new hard drive while transferring data. The software walks you through the process, all you have to do is remove the old hard drive, AFTER you are sure the data has been transferred. Then replace the old hard drive with the new one, place your old hard drive in the case, and you’re done.
The time frame will depend on the amount of data on your current hard drive, speed of USB connection, and speed of current hard drive connection. Remember, you are transferring your operating system (unless you are doing a new install), and programs, as well as the data. Average time from start to finish is around one and a half to two hours.
Note: SATA has three iterations that relate to speed. The newest and fastest is SATA3. This doesn’t mean you won’t see speed increases with SATA1 and SATA2, it just won’t be as much as SATA3. It will still be faster than your old mechanical hard drive.
Bonus tip: Since you are going to open up your computer anyway, max out the RAM at the same time. It’s even easier to replace. Do the RAM first or make sure you get the new SSD up and running – just in case!
If you think that sounds hard, check out this daddy-daughter bonding project. A 5 year-old building her own computer! (Although she does say that Daddy helped.)