College laptops

Hello, I was recently given a two-year-old, but only slightly used Acer Aspire ONE D260 netbook. I am ultimately wanting to know whether it is worth investing in an SSD for a $300ish netbook. With netbooks going out of style, I would lean away from it unless it would be advisable to use it in my acer, then maybe put it in another laptop in a year or so. I am a junior in high school, and am debating whether I want a netbook for college. I like the size, but it critically under powered even for school use. Would an SSD make it faster and more efficient, or will this intel atom processor still haunt me? Could I later transfer the SSD it to another laptop?

I know that is alot, but any advise is good.
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  1. SSD will make it more responsive (faster load times) but will not increase the processing power. Yes the drive can be moved between computers.
  2. eh well most people would argue against my theory but.....Unless a netbook is brand new, as in just purchased from the store within the last year. Its going to be a little underpowered. I would suggest a Regular laptop. If size and weight is a concern you can get a laptop that is the same size as a netbook but have better hardware. A SSD is nice but you don't need it, unless you just want windows to boot a little faster or open everything a few milliseconds faster
  3. Ok, I'll keep saving my money. I think if I start from scratch, I'll go with a 11-14in screen and a good processor. The question for me is whether an SSD would be worth the money for someone who really doesn't need a whole lot of storage (maybe a 128Gb). Any pc brand advise? Ultrabooks, or just premium line?
  4. I put an SSD in an MSI wind and it speed up general computing tasks dramatically. You could always buy an SSD for the netbook and then move it to the next laptop you get.

    In general, SSDs are totally worth it.
  5. Putting an SSD in a netbook makes the netbook useable. I'd get a value SSD, something in the 70 dollar, 60-80gb range, max out the ram and put on Windows 7...

    The netbook goes from absolutely useless-slow to useable fast. It will boot faster than most people's brand new full sized laptops.

    Doesn't mean that it will be able to handle 1080p magically... But for surfing and writing, and for improving battery life, SSD is so worth it.

    Here is my account of my little SSD/Netbook experiment from last year:

    So, I made the switch from a tablet to a netbook a few months ago. I didn't need the tablet abilities any longer and wanted superior portability and battery life.

    I started off with a refurbished Asus Eee PC 10.1" netbook. My reasoning was that it's keyboard was sufficiently large, and the price was right, at just $200. It came with XP Home, which sucked.

    I was surprised to find out that Asus had optimized XP Home quite a bit. Default boot times were VERY good, despite the slow 5400 RPM hard drive and the slow 1.6Ghz Atom processor. What I learned later was that Asus had factory overclocked the Atom to 1.73 Ghz by default. I also learned that the Atom has a Hyperthreading Virtual processing core. Very cool.

    First thing I did was swap out the default 512 MB RAM to the max 2 GB RAM, as I had a stick laying around from a different machine.

    The default 3 cell battery was light, but didn't even last a class. Unacceptable. I swapped that out for a 9 cell battery from eBay. WOW! I increased battery life to almost 9 hours! It added about 2 lbs to the net weight of the netbook, but it is still more sturdy and lighter than my 12.1" tablet.

    I swapped out the mechanical drive for an OCZ Agility 60GB SSD. I was hesitant to do this, as that SSD almost doubled the value of my little Eee PC. But I had faltered on a desktop project, and the drive was just sitting around. Boy, was I ever happy I installed that little drive! Despite going down from 160GB to just 60 GB, the speed more than made up for the loss of space! Boot up times, after BIOS updates to the Eee PC and firmware updates to the SSD, were about 5 seconds. FIVE. SECONDS.

    I had 1 last thing I had to do. I replaced XP with Windows 7 Professional that I got for 30 bux from school. Improved boot times a bit, and stability.

    After I installed Windows 7 I was looking around if there was anything else I could do to improve my experience. After installing Windows 7, the Flash player was the only thing to get worse. While in XP, Flash was smooth at full screen, W7's Flash, even in Chome, was super choppy. It turns out it was a setting in the Flash Player settings (unchecking Hardware Acceleration setting gave back a small improvement). However, I was very disappointed that XP bested W7 in this 1 very important area, as Hulu watching was this netbook's main functions.

    After searching online, I discovered that the Asus software I got rid of when I upgraded to a clean install of Windows 7 from XP was a part of the performance hit. W7 had my netbook running at the default 1.6 GHz. As soon as I reinstalled the Asus Super Hybrid Engine, my netbook was FLYING again.

    But I was still unsatisfied, being the computer tinkerer that I am. After looking at the thermal profile of my netbook with Asus' mild overclock, I figured there had to be a way to push it further. I found a blog online detailing the exact procedure to overclock my exact model of Eee PC. I was to install a software called SetFSB (Set Front Side Bus, fairly descriptive name, if you ask me).

    The blog called for an overclock from 1.6 Ghz to 1.92 Ghz! Armed with my 9 Cell battery, I was curious to see if my netbook could handle it. It most certainly COULD! Running stable at 1.92 Ghz right now, only dropping the battery life by a couple of hours (totaly worth it, and can be EASILY changed on the fly). I am sure it can be pushed further, but I have no need. For whatever reason, the performance of the Atom processor scales very nicely with boosts to its core speed.

    In all, while I did spend a lot more on this project than I planned, I couldn't be happier. I may put in a few more gizmos (GPS, Bluetooth, etc) but right now, I am happy as a clam and am enjoying a very nice portable machine.

    UPDATE: A few months ago, my fiance stepped on my little netbook. It cracked the screen, but the rest of the device was fine.

    UPDATE: I fixed the screen. Used this as an excuse to switch to a matte screen from glossy. Looks nice. Still working strong as of 2/2/2012
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