Upgrades to Stretch the Life Span of Your Workstation

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Are you frustrated by how sluggish your workstation have become? The obvious solution would be to perform a reformat to clear away redundant software or drivers clogging up your system. But what if the problem revolves around increased workload on your part; you're simply doing much more now than in the past -- and the hardware is struggling to catch up.


Be it a laptop or desktop, below are some practical upgrade suggestions that I hope can help you stretch the life span of your workstation.


Upgrade to Windows 7

If you're till struggling with Windows Vista, then an upgrade to Windows 7 will bring some welcome respite. Not only does Microsoft's latest operating system offer more stability, it also boots up faster and has a snappier feel overall.


If you have yet to get acquainted with Windows 7, you might also want to check out the slideshow "Ten Must-Have Features in Windows 7" where I point out the best features in Windows 7. Alternatively, for a limited time, you can also give the free trial of Windows 7 Enterprise RTM a spin to properly evaluate its suitability for your SMB.


Increase your RAM

Upgrading system RAM is an old-time favorite for folks looking to upgrading their workstation, and that works pretty well, too. Systems with 1GB or less will experience the most tangible benefits on Vista or Windows 7. With low RAM prices, it might make sense to just bump memory capacity up to 3GB or 4GB, even if you have 2GB of memory already installed.


Upgrade to a Solid-State Drive

First, let me admit that I am a great fan of solid-state drives (SSDs). Yes, I know that a lot has been written about its performance prowess and energy efficiency in servers and data centers. I use one, though, and I am not kidding when I say that upgrading your primary drive to an SSD would probably give you a bigger performance boost than my other two suggestions.


Of course, it might be tricky if you own a Sony laptop like I do, and have to void my warranty just to get it installed. For most laptops and desktops though, the installation should be relatively straightforward. In fact, the price barrier to an SSD just went down another couple of notches, given that OCZ just launched a sub-$100 32GB SSD, and an Intel X25 Value SSD with 40GB is now available for $125. Not enough capacity? Just retain your existing hard-disk drive as a storage drive while configuring the SSD to run as your boot drive.


Ultimately, only some of the above upgrade suggestions might work for you, depending on the cost in relation to that of acquiring a new, faster machine. In terms of upgrading the operating system, viability would also depend on the licensing cost for the edition required by your SMB.

For businesses that need to stretch the lifespan of their workstations, though, I hope this proves to be a good starting point.