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Technology Today - Building a New Computer

By Robert Sanborn

I have built a lot of computers for lots of folks over the years and up to now, the pricing of the solid state drives has just been too much for people that just don’t need the blazing speed that you get from it.  I have seen a lot of them built into notebooks and that made sense because they often have low power processors and limited memory so having a quick hard drive was worth the tradeoff for reasonable speed especially when you get used to using a tablet that is instant on.  But in the desktop world, you often don’t stint on processor speed and memory especially if you are buying a machine to get some real work, or play some intensive games, on. Also as hard drives got larger and the prices shrunk on them, the price of a comparable SSD drive was way too much money. 

Kingston Memory

Kingston SSD Now UV

So Kingston has introduced the UV500 SSD Upgrade Kit that can either be used as a desktop or laptop replacement drive or as an external USB drive. Everything is in the single kit. The box shows you instantly what is inside, the drive, the external USB enclosure, a mounting plate for those 3.5 inch drive holders, and even the SATA and power cable. Fortunately, the case I selected to use for the new computer from Fractal Design did not need the carrier as the drive tables each had a place for a 2.5 inch drive.  Use the four supplied very small screws, connect the cables from the power supply that were already there, and boot the computer; all very simple. In my case, I am installing a fresh copy of Windows 10 Home 64 bit on the machine and so, it installed quite simply and very quickly.

Usually my go to hard drive has been the Western Digital Black drive for one primary reason; the five year warranty which gives me hope that the drive will stay spinning and working for the life of the computer. These Kingston drives also have a five year warranty and one thing quite cool about SSD drives is that they have the technology to automatically recognize bad spots and move the data away from them. You can read more about the differences of the technology in the Kingston FAQ Page. What that basically means is you get higher reliability as well.

Solid State Drives (SSD) have been with us for quite a few years now and they have proven themselves to be reliable and durable. Not to mention so much more lighter than their spinning counterparts. Kingston has an excellent site to give you all the information you need about the speeds and different flavors of SSD that can be installed in your computer. What I liked about the upgrade kit is that you have the flexibility to simply replace an existing hard drive or to use it as an external storage device.

myCharge GoXtra

Fractal Design Define Mini

The external drive container is terrific considering how much difficulty that I have had in the past removing and inserting drives into other containers that were never intended to easily open up. Unlock it with the easy to move switch and remove the cover by sliding it off. Once off you will find the unique SATA+Power cable you need which is becoming the standard for external drives. I have a couple of older Seagate external drives that use the same cable. I took my old Intel SSD and slid it nicely into place, replaced the cover, locked it and it was ready to go.  Only snag was that it was not recognized on my old Windows 7 computer and I suspect because it did not have a fast enough USB Drive.  Sure enough, move it over to my new machine and it recognized it right away. I would love to see Kingston offer these separately for sale.

In building a new computer, I start with the Intel Processor. Durability and reliability have never been a problem so I stick with them. I also use Asus Mainboards for the same reason plus all the features that are available for plugging things into the computer. Finally, I house it all in a Define Mini case from Fractal Design. I love these not only for the style, but also how solid and quiet the computers are.

Right away, I see the huge performance increase (10X according to Kingston) in the computer. Windows 10 starts up extremely fast and starting applications is almost instantaneous and of course, that is comparing it to my old Windows 7 machine which was quite fast in its day. I am definitely pleased with the performance. The kit that I have above is just $169 from Kingston and if you just go with the drive itself, it is $156. By comparison, the Western Digital 1TB Black Drive is now $75 at Newegg.  For a computer that you will use a lot, think of it as an extra $20 a year for the speed improvement alone and it becomes worth the money. One final plus is that it also comes with a one year for Acronis True Image backup software which for the last several years has been my choice for backing up my system. Sounds like a great time to upgrade or convert to SSD.

Robert Sanborn

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