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Putting an SSD in a build for my mom?

post #1 of 13
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Just wanted your guy's opinions...

Would it be a remotely good idea at all to put an SSD into a build for my mom? She doesn't do much on her current computer. At most it's Outlook, IE, Word, and maybe flash games. Currently she's running on a 1.6Ghz P4 with 512MB RAM, onboard graphics (some Intel GMA from the early 2000's), and XP. But she sometimes complains about it being slow and all that so I'd like to make her next computer "snappier" although I'm not totally convinced she needs a new computer (already reimaged/did a fresh install so it's not the OS itself it's probably the components in it).

I would like to get her something "new and shiny" to play with (small and "cute" is what I'm aiming the computer to look like). I have a few ideas for builds all kind of centring around an entry level SSD to make the computer snappier. Any thoughts? (potential build list below).

- AMD E-350 embedded mobo (one of either Gigabyte, MSI, Sapphire, or Asus). (~$110-130)
OR
- Athlon II X2 250 + GIGABYTE M68MT-S2P nVidia 7050 onboard graphics (~$110)
- 16GB Kingston SSDNow (can't go wrong for $55 and I'm pretty sure her current HDD size is only 20GB and she doesn't even use all of that).
- 1 or 2GB of DDR3 RAM
- all tossed into an miniITX case (or mATX depending on cost for the cases)

I may also spraypaint the case white and pink or purple. I'll also clearcoat to protect the paintjob and maybe stencil in a flower or something as well.
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GISX-R
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post #2 of 13
Unless you were getting her a laptop, I personally wouldn't bother.
Save the money and put it towards the paint.
post #3 of 13
I would just toss in a 7200 drive, personally.
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My System
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post #4 of 13
I know that a lot of SSD users do reimage their machines every so often to prevent drive degredation, so that would incur a lot of extra work for you probably in upkeep of her machine. Those components do sounds out of date, but in the long run sticking with a standard spindle hard drive for her might be the best for ease of use.
post #5 of 13
if she has a faster computer she will probably want to do more with it and therefore need more space. i wouldn't get an ssd maybe just a standard sata drive with more space
post #6 of 13
Budget?

First thing I'd do is buy the SSD, and try it in her current rig. I'd also eBay a little more RAM for it, and see how she goes with that. Chances are if it's slow on a fresh install it's the low RAM & slow HDD that's the problem, not the CPU.
post #7 of 13
I think Dom-inator has hit the nail on the head, with a faster machine, she may well decide to do more. And with 500GB hard drives insanely cheap these days, you may as well fit one of those instead of a tiny SSD which will become full very quickly. Plus a modern HDD is as much a speed increase over the elderly 20GB drive from way back as an SSD would be for me.
Go with the AthlonIIx2, those little Regor chips are very quick, almost as quick as a dual PhenomII. Also pick up a board with onboard, but with the slot for a GPU. You could fit a 9400 or so for extra graphics power if it needed it.
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post #8 of 13
SSDs really aren't that expensive if you go for the right thing, and if she wants "snappy," it's a good path. Just wait for one of the cheaper models to go on sale or offer a good rebate (Amazon had a Kingston 64GB for 70$ after rebate recently). It wouldn't be that much more than a quality 7200 drive. I wouldn't buy a 16GB drive, not worth the money.

That said, pretty much anything you put together is going to be lightyears ahead of her current computer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by the_beast View Post
Budget?

First thing I'd do is buy the SSD, and try it in her current rig. I'd also eBay a little more RAM for it, and see how she goes with that. Chances are if it's slow on a fresh install it's the low RAM & slow HDD that's the problem, not the CPU.
You'd put an SSD in an 11 year old machine?
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post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotso View Post
You'd put an SSD in an 11 year old machine?
Yep. Worked great in my father in law's Celeron D-based machine (which admittedly was only ~7 years old, but hey).

Several reasons:

SSD is the biggest upgrade you can do for general 'snappiness' when things are I/O bound - which is most likely on an older machine with crap disk subsystems and low RAM.

The PC won't take much more RAM (maybe 1GB max), and any RAM you buy will be useless when the machine dies. It's not worth spending any real amount of money on RAM, but if you're swapping to an SSD instead the performance hit is minimal.

If you still decide that the machine isn't fast enough, you can reuse the SSD in the new build with no monetary penalty - so no wasted cash. I wouldn't recommend anyone built a rig nowadays without a small (30-40GB, not 16GB) SSD at it's heart (aside from server-type builds) unless the budget is super-tight.
post #10 of 13
I think your mom's probably a great candidate for an SSD.

I know my mom only uses Word, Excel and Firefox (plus anti-virus in the background). She also has Y! Messenger and Skype which loads on start-up. The biggest file she has are some downloaded PDF forms that are less than 2MB. If I were building for my mom, there wouldn't even be any need for a secondary mechanical HDD (perhaps just an external for back-ups). Even a 40GB SSD would be plenty to store all her files. Since your mom's coming from a 20GB HDD, she's not even going to miss the space. I wouldn't recommend the 16GB Kingston, though. That's just a bit too small for Windows 7. Controller's not so good, too. Get an Intel or Sandforce 40GB for ~$90-100.

I actually think it's the regular folks who would benefit most from SSD's. They're the types to just install a whole bunch of programs that all load on start-up. You know, the ones that have like 50 icons on their system tray. Nearly all the tasks they do are I/O bound. Enthusiasts, in contrast, are often bottlenecked by their CPU or GPU. They also nitpick and go through msconfig to make sure only the essentials are loaded.
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