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How-to: Speed up any laptop or PC with an SSD


So here we are 2020 and the world is crumbling beneath us. Now more than ever we are relying on our laptops and home computers when we are sent packing to work from home. Not a new concept but with to date over 1 billion people already being asked to self-isolate there are going to be some really frustrated home computer and laptop users out there. Here is how you can supercharge the speed of your aging laptop with an SSD for as little as €30 ($35).

It was only recently that I took my 2012 Samsung Series 7 Chronos to Berlin for IFA’19 – Well, that was my intention. At the airport i dropped my bag and rendered the chunky 8 year old beast useless. The old slow HDD had bitten the dust.. My heart sank, luckily I always keep an instant backup with Google’s Backup & Sync so not all was lost. Fast-forward 5 months and I found myself with a colossal 3kg silver Samsung coaster, so I splurged on a 1TB SanDisk SSD Plus. Instantly, it was like a new laptop. No more lag and the Windows boot speed went from zero to hero.

During my time of post-mortem Samsung laptop depression I bit the bullet and bought a Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon my first big “for work” purchase in years. I clearly didn;t know what I was missing and charging on USB-C is a life changer. While choosing specs I settled for less storage, with the foresight of upgrading later. Internal storage media choice is down to personal preference, but when i need new storage media I always head straight for SanDisk or Western Digital for one simple reason, I’ve never had a bad experience. So I thought it would be a great idea to showcase the various storage media available that I trust to improve your laptop or desktop PC’s storage and speed at various price points.

There are many ways that you might want to increase the storage of your laptop or desktop PC maybe a removable SD or MicroSD card is enough with sizes ranging from 32GB to 1TB or you might be looking for something a tad more robust, an Internal SSD is perfect in this situation. Over the past year or two i have been upgrading all my storage media to SSD with a secondary copy on Google’s free cloud backup. I just wish I had done it all sooner, there was always one thing standing in my way. Price.

SSD drives have never been more affordable with prices starting at just €30 for 120GB and they are available from a variety of different brands and in various storage capacities however for the nature of this article I’ll be listing the drives i know i can recommend from personal experience. Namely Sandisk and WD Black from Western Digital. My go to laptop SSD replacement is the SanDisk SSD PLUS 480GB. It costs on average about €60 and I’ve refreshed many laptops for clients and family in recent times with one of these. They range in capacity from 120GB to 2TB so plenty opportunity to pick a size that suits your needs. My mom is currently rocking a 120GB SSD Plus in her seven year old Dell. It cost me around 30 euro on Amazon and to her it feels like a brand new machine.

Since buying the Lenovo Thinkpad i began looking for something to beef up the internal storage, i originally had a 480GB m.2 drive but since starting to edit video more often I needed something a bit bigger to cope with the file sizes, enter the WD_Black SN750 2TB to take its place. There’s something really magical about SSD, no noise or spinning up. Not to mention the boot up times you’ll experience will now be in the seconds rather than the minutes. I had time to make a cup of tea while I waited for my old samsung to spring to life. Really if it’s something you’ve been considering for a while you should absolutely do it.

Next up I’ll adding a 1TB Sandisk Extreme micro SD card to my Thinkpad to store all my cloud drive data from Google Drive and Dropbox. At the moment i have the 400GB Sandisk Extreme in there however I find that I’m having to use selective sync more often with Dropbox because the micro SD has a smaller capacity than my online storage. “First World Problems” i hear you cry, but it doesn’t hurt to make your life easier, right?

If you have noticed that your laptop has slowed down since you bought it, it honestly could be something as simple as upgrading the old hard drive to an SSD. Nine times out of ten you will breathe new life into the old slug and wonder why you hadn’t already made the switch. Swapping out a laptop hard drive isn’t difficult at all but you will need to install a fresh version of your chosen operating system. So, if you’d like to start with a fresh installation of windows 10 check out this article for where to find affordable Microsoft Windows and Office software licenses.

Prices will vary between regions and availability will differ. All prices included in this article are based on finding the product on Amazon, but you might find better deals elsewhere. Here are the prices in Europe (April 2020)

Sandisk SSD Plus30 – €270
Sandisk Extreme Micro SD €14 – €575
WD Black SN750 m.2 SSD €80 – €425

This isn’t a paid article i just really enjoy using Sandisk & Western Digital products. The links contained in the article may provide a commission that contributes to the running costs of Phandroid.

Darren Millar
30 something, ex-nightclub DJ. Currently loving technology. Smart home builder, Small Japanese car fan. Never owned an iPhone. Cat person.

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