Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New laptop or upgrade?

For a number of years I have had a core i3 laptop, that I bought refurbished on the cheap.

At the start of this year I felt that it was starting to get a bit old, slow and a random overheating problem kept occurring.  I could do with something a bit more beef, especially since I was having issues running some Linux distros in Virtualbox.

Having spent a while looking for options and working out which spec would be ideal for me, I had drawn up a list of things that I would like to have.

1.  Preferably 17", minimum 15.6" (the current is 17").
2.  Minimum 8GB ram.
3.  At least one, preferably 2 USB 3 ports.
4.  SSD or at least a hybrid drive.

Having looked around for a while and pricing up a number of possibilities I could never find the right one for me, definitely not in the price range that I was expecting to pay.

I had also always toyed with picking up a Chromebook for the road, but that would not be on the cards if I purchased a new laptop that would be unjustifiable for a while.

One night I looked at the possibility of what I could do with my current laptop, by upgrading the memory and changing the HDD to an SSD.  Whilst thinking about this, remembering that it was a 17" laptop I decided to check the specs on the manufacturers website to check what upgrades were supported.  The real watershed moment was when I noticed that there were not one, but two slots for hard drives, a quick shut-down and opening up the panels on the underside revealed the truth that staring me in the face was an empty hard drive slot.  A quick search on SSD reviews and the timely appearance of PCPRO's feature how fast a PC do you really need spurred me into action and off I roared to the websites to purchase the two things I felt I wanted.

1.  A Samsung 840 Pro SSD (80GB).

2.  8GB of RAM.

Whilst I was out set a backup of the 500GB HDD that was in the laptop and then headed out to purchase the goods.  On my return, excitedly, I inserted the RAM and the SSD, and set about installing Windows 7 on the SSD.  Once complete I did a quick reboot and was shocked that one of the main causes of my previous annoyance the boot time had dropped to around 20 seconds - WOW.  Although some of this could be down to the fresh install and the extra RAM, but still - WOW on an over three year old cheapish laptop.

A quick format of my old HDD, pointing the documents links to the old HDD and off the SSD before restoring my files taking the time to put them in better order and after a few more months of use I am still happy.  Additionally an overheating issue that used to exist has yet to rear its ugly head yet.

Overall these updates have been a huge boost to my current laptop and will keep it going till the end of Windows 7, at which point I expect whether to stay with windows or move across to Linux (I do have access to a Window 8 PC that I can make my decision then).

This freed up the cash to purchase a Chromebook which I use on the road (Chrome Remote Desktop is useful to access the grunt of the home PC when I need it).

How I remain connected on the road will come in a later post.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

New Forest walk near Lundhurst.

Today we had a short walk in the New Forest.

Following this route on the website, a site that I have found useful in the past to find walking routes.

One thing to be aware of on this route is that it heads through an area that is identified as a WW1 training area, and which may have military ordnance within, ordnance clearing operations are ongoing and the area is extremely well marked.  You can avoid this area by extending the walk by a short distance.

There is one crossing of the busy A35 road.

A nice walk through a variety of terrain, heathland and woodland.