Careers and Improving Performance with an SSD

I was fortunate to be in college right as the personal computer revolution was taking off.  The IBM PC had not yet been introduced and the Apple was the king of the desktop.  My undergraduate college work/study job was in fact managing a lab of Apple II computers for the school of Architecture at UT Austin.

After giving Graduate School all of two weeks before calling it quits, I landed a job at the first Software-only store in the country.  I knew it was the perfect job for me before I even interviewed. One of the owners said he hired me because I stuck my foot in the door and wouldn’t let them close it until I gave them my resume.

Since that time I’ve changed careers quite a few times.  I’ve deftly managed to end positions just as they were taking off, making certain that every forward move was averted and maintained a sideways momentum to my career.  While my friends and coworkers gradually climbed the corporate ladder toward three letter titles, I was constantly restarting.

That sideways momentum landed me here as a writer of web content.  A cautionary tale for young readers – stick with something and keep at it until you get really good.  You’ll end up with a long and perhaps satisfying career.  On the other hand, I have gotten to try my hand at a lot of different jobs I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Before writing, my last non-tech job was as the owner of a coffee shop in a small Vermont Ski town.  If nothing else, I learned a bit about humbleness.  There’s no one so cranky as the affluent tourist who hasn’t had his coffee or gotten his favorite newspaper.

After ditching the less-than-idyllic resort life for more profitable horizons I ended up working for Computerland at their National Help Center in Atlanta.  This was the place that launched V.2 of my careers.  Again my timing was excellent and I entered at a time when software/hardware expertise was in short supply and high demand.

Before I got into computer networking I spent much of my time on the help desk troubleshooting DOS memory management issues.  It was something that always fascinated me and provided a decent challenge.  The question of how much memory I could free up for apps was a constant competition between me and the other guys on the help desk.

I got to be pretty good at tweaking config.sys to free up conventional memory.  In fact I got so good that I often ran afoul of the internal help desks of the companies we supported.  My manager would hear from them that we were giving out dangerous experimental configurations that were making their systems unstable and unsupportable.

Muzzled by my manager I ended up moving into the network group to satisfy my need to tinker.  One thing I learned from the overall experience was that as a support person there was only so much I could do to improve performance of my customer’s computers.  To take the next step I was going to need to be working at a different level.  But that’s a story for another time.

Among the things I’ve learned over the years is that computer performance can be improved in a handful of easily achievable ways.  More memory, a speedier processor, better GPU and of course a faster hard drive.

No product has helped in the improve computer performance in the last decade than the introduction of low-cost Solid State Drives.  If you haven’t installed one in your aging (or even newer) computer than you don’t realize the boost you’re missing.

Western Digital has some of the most cost effective and best performing drives.  The WD Blue is among the best sellers in this category and is one I recommend for both laptop and desktop applications.  It’s a 6Gb/s drive and comes with a three year warranty.  Check out the glowing reviews below.


WD Blue 250GB Internal SSD Solid State Drive

Product Highlights

  • Sequential read speeds of up to 545MB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 525MB/s.
  • An industry-leading 1.75M hours Mean Time To Failure (MTTF) and several error-correction technologies for lasting reliability.
  • Optimized for multitasking to simultaneously run resource-heavy applications without system slow-down.
  • Available in 2.5”/7mm and M.2 2280 models to accommodate most PCs.
  • WD FIT Lab™ certification for compatibility across a wide range of laptop and desktop computers.

With superior performance and a leader in reliability, the WD Blue SSD offers digital storage that is optimized for multi-tasking and ready to keep up with your high performance computing needs. Available in both 2.5″/7mm cased and M.2 2280 form factors and WD’s Functional Integrity Testing Lab (FIT Lab), the WD Blue SSD is compatible with a wide range of computers, so you can be sure you are making the right choice. Combined with the free, downloadable WD SSD Dashboard and a 3-year limited warranty, you can confidently upgrade your system to the WD Blue SSD.

Some customer reviews

Drive works perfectly. In fact, it doubled the performance of a very unimpressive cheap PC. For the longest time I could barely stand to use the PC that this drive went into. But now, while it’s not a top shelf speed demon by any means, it is much more tolerable to use.

Normally I don’t write too many reviews but felt this one is worthy. First I am a IT tech with 20 years of corporate experience. All you really know is it’s crazy fast. Popped in the WD drive SSD and I basically have enough time to turn my head for a split second before it boots. Less than 3 seconds.

If you think I’m going to parrot what everyone else seems to saying about this drive….you’d be right. I was going to dump a 5 year-old gen 3 i7 laptop because it had become exasperatingly slow. Then I dropped this drive and another stick of RAM into the case, and it screamed to life like a warbird. It’s now booting in about a third of the time it used to take.