One of the most popular questions I get is “What is the ONE thing I can do to increase my system performance?” My answer is usually add more memory. However, a lot of times now, they’ve got plenty of memory so they are looking for something else.
With that being said, I think the one thing that would really increase the performance of the system is to upgrade from the old-style spindle hard drive to a new solid state drive, or SSD. While the cost of these is more than a typical hard drive, the performance improvement is pretty significant. A client came to me a few months ago and wanted to replace the hard drive in his laptop with an SSD. Because of the age of the laptop, and the slower transfer speed, I wasn’t sure he would notice an improvement. He told me he had noticed an improvement. I can also tell you that with newer systems, you will notice a bigger improvement because these systems can transfer data much faster than typical hard drives can read and write.
Personally, almost all of my systems use SSD now. I also recommend upgrading to an SSD, or rather starting out with an SSD, with the purchase of a new computer. Over the lifetime of the computer, the difference in speed is well worth the additional cost.
At this point, for most people, I really don’t have one that I recommend over others. For the most part, I use Crucial, Intel, and Samsung. On my everyday system (which is a Lenovo laptop), my main hard drive is a Samsung Pro 1TB and I also have a Samsung 960GB (the second is not the Pro series). In this same system, previously I used the Samsung 960GB as the main drive, and for my “real world” experience, I have not noticed a difference between the two. It could very well be that the laptop cannot take advantage of the additional speed of the Pro, or it could be a number of other factors.
In summary, the “one thing” that you can do now is to upgrade your hard drive to an SSD.