Increase Computer Speed

By: Nathan Segal

This week we're going to look at other options for speeding up your computer. As with our last installment, we're going to look at hardware options.

Chances are you're working with a lot of images, and over time those files start to eat up a lot of space on your hard drive. You may have noticed that if there are too many files on the drive that it begins to affect system performance. Defragging the hard drive will only do so much - now the issue becomes one of storage.

As I'm sure you've seen, there are many options, such as CD/DVD Writers, etc. In my experience, and especially now because I travel a lot, the single simplest solution is to have not one, but several external hard drives.

There are several reasons, but the most important aspect is that they allow relatively fast data transfer (much faster than writing a DVD - I've tried it and it's mindlessly tedious...

even watching grass grow is more exciting). The other reason is size. If you're traveling, these little drives are really compact, easy to install and weigh almost nothing.

In my case, that takes the form of 80 GB 5400 RPM drives that one can install in a lightweight aluminum case. These connect to my computer by means of a USB 2 cable or Firewire connection. It's important the the drive have a fast cache as well. You can buy drives ready to go, but in my opinion, it's better (and more cost effective) to build one yourself. In addition, some drives have an AC connection, but in my experience, it's not necessary. Other options are the different types of Flash drives that are available. I have one of those. It's small, lightweight, is handy for Internet cafe's and takes up little room in the pocket.

In a home or business office sitution, you can go for much faster drives, such as 7200 RPM (a fast cache is always recommended - and you can make use of an AC adapter, as well. The other consideration is price. The dollar per GB value is much lower these days, making them an attractive alternative to CD/DVD burning. In addition, they're quite stable over time. A couple of drives to consider are Seagate or Western Digital with a capacity of 250 GB.

Future articles will explore computer graphics/photography and will show you how to maximize your productivity.

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