If you’re anything like me, you’ll know what it’s like to struggle with a sluggish (at best) computer and tell yourself that you’ll have it seen to tomorrow. It just so happens that on that tomorrow you’ll need to work on that spreadsheet, hope that your machine holds up just for a day and succumb to the fact that the IT whizz person will have to take a look at that slow piece of shit some other time. Here’s the thing – while your spreadsheet is opening, saving, or just being completely unresponsive there’s work to be done and so you open up your browser, log into a web-based programme and (slowly) go about your business.
Of course, you’ll need to put together a report for the morning so you open up yet another programme. Between watching the little blue wheel spinning and meeting deadlines, you’ll also need to be in touch with the offspring to arrange carting to and from sporting events and the all-important teenage socials. So you open up your IM app and the cycle of a low-performing machine strained by the ever-increasing number of running applications and programs continue.
Enter 5pm, when you know that you’ll need to save your work and switch off your machine. This anxiety-inducing decision is also left for another day, because shutting down means that you must start up. The thought of the time it will take to boot up your machine leaves you feeling that you’d rather walk home barefoot across a field of broken glass. So this is also put off for yet another day and you close your computer hoping that it doesn’t suffer a stroke in its sleep.
If you’re not too familiar with this situation, let me welcome you to the past three years of my life, in which I’ve had little time for adventure given that most of it has been spent watching the little blue wheel of hell spinning round and round.
I’m no bells ‘n whistles girl. I don’t need the latest, slickest and sexiest machine. What I need is something capable of running a programme when I need it to, saving files, increasing my productivity and functioning as a personal assistant/music and memories store. In essence, I need what I previously thought was a unicorn computer that pooped rainbows.
My HP ProBook, I thought, received good enough reviews and suited my needs fairly well and so I was sold on the purchase of this stable piece of equipment. I have over the years come to expect that a large spreadsheet will at times fail to open, not save without crashing and at times I won’t be able to edit it. That beautiful pitch document? Yes, I have grown to expect that I’m only able to open it when all my other programmes have been closed. I’ve also simply stopped shutting down my machine because starting it up takes up a good 20 minutes of my day. This doesn’t include any of the time spent on update installations, which in itself is proportionate to the time lapsed between restarts.
Click-and-wait was really my status quo, and when my better half insisted that I step away from the computer and allow him to install a Crucial MX500 Solid State Drive (SSD), I wasn’t filled with a great deal of hope. Installation took mere minutes, and really was as simple as unscrewing a panel, unplugging a caddy, switching the drive out and reversing the operation. Darryn could even do it and only set one hand on fire. Sure the installation bits of getting Windows back up and running with your data intact might be more troublesome. If you’re not technically inclined and don’t have somebody to do it for you, then somewhere like Incredible Connection or Matrix Warehouse will do it for you.
It’s worth it. Turns out, installing the Crucial MX SSD (1TB, for interest’s sake) did more than he promised. Not only did it transform my sloth-like computer into a speeding cheetah on the hunt – it changed my life.
That may seem a very bold claim, but I’m not exaggerating in the least. The unicorn machine of my dreams is now at my fingertips. I find myself opening and closing apps just to see how many I’m able to run at once and to feed my amazement at the responsiveness of my machine. Shutting down is now something that I can do as many times as I like, because my computer starts-up in mere seconds. Even my internet speed seems faster, which I know is not the case, but given the increased responsiveness it sure feels that way. Brains are weird.
Files that were sure-fire killers now open at lightning speed and I’m able to edit these without any difficulty at all. I dare say that I’m excited to work, because it really has become a pleasure. Even the most demanding apps now start up and perform exceptionally well, all while I have my music playing and a horde of family and other pictures open in the background.
Aside from the dull stuff like work, I find that I now spend my time organising family photographs and building music libraries. These were tasks that previously were just too time-consuming to consider. It turns out that I do need the bells ‘n whistles, provided that they sound like speed and have the chime of stability.
The techno-jargon and numbers mean very little to me but for the fun of it, and to satisfy my curiosity, I downloaded some performance testing software. I was pretty impressed by the results and with thanks to the boosted performance offered by the Crucial MX500 SSD, I even enjoyed working to format the data and transforming it into something a little more appealing. You see, I’m now able to perform these sorts of tasks without wanting to fling my computer from the twelfth-floor window. If you’re at all interested in the numbers, take a look at my attempt at a numerals to visuals translation:
Last Updated: January 17, 2020