How to give your old computer a new lease of life

January 25, 2022



PAT PILCHER tests a Solid State Drive that could reinvigorate your older PC or laptop for hardly any cash outlay.


If you’ve got a laptop or desktop PC that’s chugging, here’s a sure-fire way to give it a boost for not very much money. PNY’s 1TB (960GB available) CS900 SATA III solid-state drive (SSD) pulls off a great one-two punch by offering acres of storage and by giving older PCs a big performance boost too.

As it’s a 2.5-inch SATA III SSD, it’ll install on a wide range of laptops and any desktop PC with a spare drive bay/SATA port. Installing it is an absolute doddle. Simply mount it into a drive bay, connecting the SATA and power cables. Once this is done, you can use a utility like Ghost to clone the data from your old mechanical hard drive across to the SSD. Not only do you have acres of storage, but you get performance gains that make older mechanical hard drives look pokey by comparison.


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PNY’s blurb says the CS900 will deliver blistering sequential read speeds of up to 535 MB/s and an equally quick sequential write speed of up to 515 MB/s. Putting that into perspective, that’s typically 4x the speed you’d get from a mechanical SATA III 7200 RPM hard drive. Not too shabby, eh?

This translates into super-quick boot-up/loading and saving times. The desktop PC I upgraded used to take at least 40-50+ seconds to boot up with its old-school mechanical hard drive. With the PNY CS900, that was reduced to a mere 18 seconds. It feels almost instantaneous. Notebook PC owners may also notice improved battery life. An SSD doesn’t need to use power to spin a drive platter. Because of this, modest gains in notebook PC battery life are often the case.

If that wasn’t enough of a reason to upgrade, consider this: SSDs are also considerably more durable than their mechanical counterparts. Where mechanical drives spin a platter and skim a read/write head over it, SSDs are electronic. Because they consist of non-volatile NAND memory, there are no moving parts. Bumping or dropping a mechanical hard drive when it’s reading/writing can crash the read/write head onto the surface of the platter, losing your data. This simply isn’t an issue with an SSD.

That said, the non-volatile NAND memory used in SSDs has a finite number of reads and writes that can be carried out, so SSDs do eventually fail. PNY’s specs say that the CS900 has a whopping two million hours of MTBF (mean time between failure), which (in theory) equates to years of use. This is partly due to TRIM support (which is also OS-dependent). With TRIM, your PC’s operating system tells the SSD which data can be erased, reducing the unnecessary deleting of discarded data, which saves time and improves performance. Because the SSD has fewer chunks of data to erase, the life expectancy of the SSD is prolonged.

The CS900 has SMART support too. SMART is an acronym that stands for Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology. In non-geek-speak, SMART monitors the status of hard drives and SSDs, checking for errors to give advance warning if your drive is about to fail. SMART is not foolproof, but it is still useful to have.

If you are looking for a quick, easy, and affordable way to expand and improve the performance of an older PC, the CS900 SSD makes a tonne of sense. The CS900’s reasonable sticker price, ease of installation and huge performance gains means it scores a well-deserved 10/10.

Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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