I made a few upgrades today, this time in the X60s. It’s been about six months since I bought it, and I have yet to be disappointed in anything it does. Start to finish it has been a wonderful machine.
And an evaluation like that means it’s more than likely going to be around for a little while to come. With that in mind, I went ahead and spent US$100 or so on some upgrades: a 7200rpm SATA3G hard drive and the largest memory configuration it can handle, 3Gb.
Now the first thing I get to say at this point is, the machine didn’t run faster with three gigabytes of memory in it. I swapped the 512Mb out first, while I still had a standing Arch Linux installation in place. And you’ll probably be quite disappointed to learn that the boot times and the general “snappiness” of the machine were the same.
I don’t cling to the myth that dumping gobs of memory into your machine will arbitrarily make it run faster. I have in the past, but I never will again. Yes, under certain circumstances you will see improvements with more memory, but a clean boot to a lightweight desktop does not improve by sextupling a system’s memory. Not in this household.
Swapping out the hard drive, on the other hand, made a huge difference. The old one was an 80Gb 5400rpm drive, and while I bear it no ill will, there was a big improvement once I had an identical system in place. No comparison.
But that makes sense. The new drive simply reads and transfers faster than the old one could, by virtue of its technology. And subsequently, anything that relied on drive access (like boot times or installing software) was improved as a result.
The only downside — if it is a downside, which I suppose it isn’t — is that the smallest drive size I could find with those transfer and read rates was a whopping 320Gb. Good grief. I have no idea what to do with all that space. I’m not even using the first 10Gb of it, with system files and a home folder.
Pricewise I think I did pretty good for myself. An online retailer sold me the drive for less than US$60 with a USB enclosure as part of the deal, and the memory was only US$40 for a 2Gb stick of PC2-5300, and US$20 for a 1Gb stick of the same. All in all, I think the total was around US$140.
Money well spent, I say. I didn’t truly need the extra RAM or disk space (definitely not the disk space). But I am in the habit of pampering the machines I like — like the maxed out memory and giant 120Gb drive in the Thinkpad, or the 80Mb of memory and the 8GB CF card in the Pentium I’m typing on now.
And so long as I intend to keep this machine, it’s worth the extra money put into it. And the speed I get out of it.