Lenovo T420S: HDD vs. SSD

January 26, 2015

Yesterday we pimped the laptop from my good friend Nicolas: in order to improve its performance we replaced some hardware components so that the laptop could now access twice as much RAM (4 GB –> 8 GB) and start from an SSD instead of a slow HDD.

The laptop model was a Lenovo T420S and I must say upgrading its hardware was very easy – it took us less than 5 minutes to replace RAM and HDD (no comparison to upgrading a 2010 MacBook Pro)! We eventually put the SSD in the primary SATA slot and moved the original HDD to an UltraBay cartridge in order to gain maximum performance and keep the HDD easily exchangable. The performance boost was massive, of course: instead of taking nearly 2 minutes to power up the system decided to launch in about 20 seconds with its new SSD. And thanks to the still-remaining HDD in the UltraBay slot there will still be enough (slower) space to save data like movies and music.

So if you consider giving your laptop (or desktop computer) a speed boost, switching to an SSD for system-relevant applications definitely does the trick – especially with SSDs getting cheaper and cheaper nowadays.

Another surprising (or rather annoying) fact though: Windows 8.1 took an awefully long time to finish doing random stuff like installing apps (that nobody likes) on its initial launch – the installation that happened before with a bootable USB stick only took a few minutes though! Hopefully Microsoft will streamline this process for Windows 10 and maybe let users decide if they want bloatware like “Contacts”, “Calendar” and “News”. Aside from being a usability nightmare Windows 8.1 is at least a fast and reliable Operating System.

You'll see this for hours, days or even months.

Update: Changed “ExpressCard” to “UltraBay” (thanks to Felix for the hint).