Yesterday we pimped the laptop of 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 boot from an SSD instead of a slow HDD.
The laptop model is 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 MacBook Pro)! We 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 now launches in about 20 seconds. And thanks to the still-remaining HDD in the UltraBay slot there will still be enough (slower) space to store data like movies and music.
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.
Update: Changed „ExpressCard“ to „UltraBay“ (thanks to Felix for the hint).