I just realized the other day that my laptop was over four years old. I bought it a few months before our first daughter was born with the hope that it would last for a long time since money would be getting tight. When I was looking I stuck with a brand and model that I knew could take some spills and getting thrown around, Lenovo Thinkpad. Specifically I picked up the T520 model that came with a decent processor and enough memory to easily handle Windows 7. Well fast forward four years and the laptop was starting to show some sluggishness when it came to developing apps in Android Studio or running Firefox with a bunch of tabs open.
The easy solution to fixing the problem would be to spend another $1,500 and pickup a new laptop. But like I said, money can get tight when you have a kid or two running around. So to hold me over for a few more years I decided to upgrade the hard disk from a traditional spinning drive to a new Solid State Drive (SSD). I picked up a new Samsung 850 EVO 500GB for $149 which is an amazing price, great specs, and a worthwhile five year warranty. The drive came with software that transferred everything from the main drive to the new one so that I could easily swap out the old drive and boot the machine right up. One other item you’ll need is a way to attach the drive to your machine when copying all of the files and operating system over. I used a drive enclosure similar to this Vantex NexStar. Once you’ve installed the new SSD you can put your old drive into the enclosure and use it as a backup drive or to transfer files between computers.
After making the drive change the computer is noticeably faster. Booting up took just a few seconds and starting up applications is quicker than before. To help out even more I later upraded my machine to Windows 10 by doing a clean install of it from Microsoft which cleared out all of my old applications and basically gave me a new machine. I’m loving it and hoping I can get another two or three years of development out of the machine.