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Old Laptops Become Usable Again With SSDs

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 37 comments

Breathe some new life into your notebook with an SSD.

While we continue to covet the latest and greatest CPU and GPU at the top of computer parts most valuable for upgrades, SSDs could actually be the part that most significant in real world gains – especially for one currently sitting with older hard disk drive technology.

SSD maker RunCore had a CES booth with an interesting concept, where older laptops were outfitted with SSDs that transformed them to once-again usable machines. Included in the demonstration were a Dell Inspiron laptop with Intel Centrino, which includes a Pentium M CPU and an Asus Eee PC 900.

Both machines scored fairly low overall Windows Experience Indexes, with the Dell pulling in a 1.0 and the Asus a 2.1, but both scored outstanding hard disk scores of at least 6.8 thanks to the SSD.

Ars Technica described the SSD-equipped old-timers as "running Windows 7 like champions." But of course, such an upgrade would only make sense if the cost of the SSD weren't expensive to the point where buying an entirely new machine would make better sense.

A 16GB RunCore SSD costs $99 while a 32GB is $159. Would you upgrade your older laptop with one of these to give it new life, or would you prefer to put that money towards a new entry-level replacement?

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  • 20 Hide
    blackbyron , January 13, 2010 6:46 PM
    I'll wait until SSD provides a lot more capacity with much affordable price just like the regular hard drives.
  • 12 Hide
    cknobman , January 13, 2010 7:13 PM
    Well my pentium M laptop is an IDE hard drive and not serial ata so i doubt I could find an ssd that would work with it.
Other Comments
  • 20 Hide
    blackbyron , January 13, 2010 6:46 PM
    I'll wait until SSD provides a lot more capacity with much affordable price just like the regular hard drives.
  • 5 Hide
    HavoCnMe , January 13, 2010 6:50 PM
    They should of used a DMV center as the testing environment instead of CES. Maybe it could of sparked some much needed updating at most DMV's.
  • 3 Hide
    radiovan , January 13, 2010 6:54 PM
    At $2 per GiB yes; but, at the current prices that is a definet no... laptop works just fine. Who would not like some extra speed, but not at 500 CAD for a 128 GiB SSD - don't consider 64 GiB SSD a practicle upgrade.
  • 2 Hide
    seraphimcaduto , January 13, 2010 6:56 PM
    you mean my dell 2650 could come to life again? This would be the 4th time I believe, since I gave up after the 3rd rebuild.
  • -1 Hide
    Honis , January 13, 2010 6:57 PM
    I'd get a 7200 RPM hard drive with more space for the laptop. At least when it finally gets to the point that I can no longer stand how slow the basic experience is I can turn it into a storage server.
  • 7 Hide
    alexmx , January 13, 2010 7:05 PM
    so, an SSD is going to compensate the lack of ram and cpu?
  • 1 Hide
    jeverson , January 13, 2010 7:07 PM
    Well... for $130 I can get a sweet 40Gb Intel SSD. So if I were to invest in a longer lifespan on my old laptop that would be it. Otherwise, that money may be better spent on a new nettop or entry level laptop. Am not really concerned with storage on a laptop/nettop since my desktop is my main PC and all my stuff is stored there. My nettop is mainly just for doing presentations for my business and only has a few docs and whatnot on it.
  • 12 Hide
    cknobman , January 13, 2010 7:13 PM
    Well my pentium M laptop is an IDE hard drive and not serial ata so i doubt I could find an ssd that would work with it.
  • 1 Hide
    cadder , January 13, 2010 7:26 PM
    I think most people would want more than a 32GB drive. When the 64's drop below $150 I think this would be a good upgrade.
  • 0 Hide
    Regulas , January 13, 2010 7:33 PM
    I don't know about Winblows but I will put a SSD drive in my Linux laptop when the original drive dies, by then they may actually be big enough and cheap enough to be worth it.
  • 1 Hide
    aford10 , January 13, 2010 7:49 PM
    It's a good thought. But if the laptop has an ancient hard drive, it's also likely got ancient RAM and CPU to go with it.

    I would consider doing this, but it'd be on a case to case basis.
  • 0 Hide
    dark_lord69 , January 13, 2010 7:52 PM
    Ya, I need an IDE SSD...
    The only ones that exist worry me that they might have the jmicon controller issue. I want a good one that I know will work. All of the good ones though are made for SATA.
  • 2 Hide
    eurodj , January 13, 2010 7:52 PM
    I believe at laptop prices nowdays SSD still makes no sense unless economically you can justify the upgrade IE.Autocad,rendering work,Gaming if thats ur thing,or any other way in which the ssd will proove itself usefull as for everyday normal people use i think not. SSDs will become chepaer and thus i will upgrde then but as to upgrade older machines i believe not. Im pretty sure my wife was better off getting a 500 dollar vaio with a Dual core CPU bigger HD and windows 7 than putting a ssd on her aging compaq with a pentium m and windows xp. Just my 2 cents
  • 1 Hide
    dark_lord69 , January 13, 2010 7:59 PM
    All you need is a mini PCIe slot... which old laptops don't have...
  • 0 Hide
    sliem , January 13, 2010 8:21 PM
    Why spend $100-$200 to revive old slow laptop where you can get a decent BRAND NEW one for $400-500?

    It's like buying a $20 ink for an old printer that only prints where new one is $60 comes with ink, that prints, scans, copies AND faxes WITH warranty.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 13, 2010 8:29 PM
    Would you be hampered at all if your laptop only supports Sata 1.5GB/s?
  • 0 Hide
    bak0n , January 13, 2010 8:32 PM
    Since about all I do is gaming, an SSD in my laptops is the least of my financial concern.
  • 3 Hide
    carpwrist , January 13, 2010 8:55 PM
    The SSD can be put into another piece of hardware once you're done with the laptop, so it's actually a pretty solid investment.
  • 1 Hide
    wildwell , January 13, 2010 9:44 PM
    I'd consider upgrading to a new SSD over a new laptop.
  • 1 Hide
    beayn , January 13, 2010 10:12 PM
    For $100 I'd put a 30gb in my old Compaq laptop and run Windows XP on it. I wouldn't run Win7 so I'd also want drivers to support TRIM.

    I wouldn't pay the prices listed here at $100 for 16gb. That's just too small.
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