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Solid State Drive Upgrade Improves Performance Significantly

If you are in the market for a new laptop, you may wish to consider upgrading the hard drive and RAM instead of purchasing a new machine. I did it myself for my three-year old Macbook Pro (13-inch mid-2009 model, Intel 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) and it works like a new machine.

My Macbook was running very slow and I completed various maintenance procedures to improve the hard drive that came with the machine. When the hard drive malfunctioned, I brought to the Apple Store and they verified I needed a new hard drive. Instead of having the Apple Store replace the drive out-of-warranty, I went to Fry’s Electronics and purchased a 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD). I would have purchased a 128GB SSD but the store was out. You can get a 128GB SSD for about $150. A 256GB SSD will run around $400. I purchased the Patriot Wildfire 256GB SSD, installed it myself, and it worked great. Performance is much improved.

If you simply wish to replace the hard drive with a conventional HD, and internal storage capacity is important, they are available for about half (or less) the cost of the SSDs. Speed and performance were the most important to me and most of my data is either stored on an external HD or the cloud.

Bottom line, my MacBook Pro with the $400 SSD upgrade now performs at close to Ultrabook speed. A similarly equipped current model Macbook Pro would cost over $2,000. ‚ÄčThe installation was easy and I was able to restore my operating system and software with Time Machine (be sure to prepare a boot disk).

RAM Upgrade

For about $50, I was able to buy an 8GB RAM upgrade that I will be installing next. More on that in a future post…

Update
Upgraded to 8GB RAM on the 2009 Macbook Pro and it complimented the SSD. It’s like a new laptop and I expect to have it now for a few more years.

Also performed the same SSD and RAM upgrades on my 2-year old Dell Latitude E6400 with the same results. Installed a Crucial 228GB SSD, purchased on Amazon.com for about $350.

Overall these component upgrades are much less expensive than purchasing a new laptop or Ultrabook with SSD capabilities. I do expect to purchase an Ultrabook the next time I actually buy new laptops but for now, I am enjoying the enhanced performance on both my 2009 Macbook Pro and 2010 Dell Latitude E6400 with their new SSDs and increased RAM.

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If you’re looking to synchronize your bookmarks across different browsers and devices (including smartphones), so am I! There used to be a program that did this brilliantly, “FoxMarks,” which had an ownership change, and merged with “XMarks.”

FoxMarks used to work. XMarks has limitations, especially across different browser types.

Unfortunately, XMarks does not work across all different platforms well, and creates many duplicates and errors. I integrate across Safari, Firebox, ad Internet Explorer on several devices including a Macbook Pro, Dell Latitude, iPhone, and an iPad. Somewhere in the integration of these platforms and devices, things go haywire. I’ve tried for months to isolate the issue, but today, have decided to abandon XMarks and look for other solutions as it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

Initial solutions I plan to evaluate include:

-Native Firefox and Safari Utilities
-Google Utilities (although it seems may force Chrome use)
-Other third-party solutions (TBD, limited to date)

Check back later for findings and recommendations…

Update on Synch Apps available February 2012:

After researching for a few hours and trying different options, I’ve come to the conclusion, that there are not now applications that can adequately synchronize bookmarks across different browser types. XMarks used to work before a change in ownership. For now, I am using both Firefox Synch and iCloud, and manually reconciling across platforms. I’ve found the manual effort is worth the trade-off of continuously reconciling cross-browser synchronization errors.

Frank DeJoy’s Travel