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I have an office Pentium D PC that i have to use for work, and it is .. very slow. The only "enhancement" i can to it is perhaps to install an SSD for use as its primary drive. May i know if this can considerably speed up the whole machine as a whole?

This is a developer machine running eclipse, browsers, windows XP and some toad clients.

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migrated from serverfault.com Aug 6 '11 at 13:46

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes, adding an SSD to an older PC often makes sense. The 'long' waits in desktop computing often come down to disk I/O -- for example booting Windows, launching Virtual Machines, compiling code.

Tom's Hardware recently had an article about just this: "Could An SSD Be The Best Upgrade For Your Old PC?", which I think you should read.

However, I would not invest a dime in a Pentium D (Intel Pentium 4 / "Netburst" derived architecture). That CPU is simply too slow.

Coincidentally Tom's also recently had a good article in which old and new CPU cores are normalized to the same frequency, to illustrate the Instructions Per Cycle differences. See the summary table here -- any P4 based PC is simply not worth investing in; a modern ~100$ Core i3 CPU will run circles around it. With both CPU's clocked at 3 GHz the P4 based CPU finishes their full benchmark suite in about 4 hours, while the modern "Sandy Bridge" based CPU only needs ~1½ hours.

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Hi Jesper, i really can't upgrade the CPU for my case. Should i still consider an SSD upgrade for my case? – Oh Chin Boon Aug 6 '11 at 13:41
    
My personal answer is no; get a new PC, even if cash is somewhat short. See above; and read the Tom's articles to see why. Only you can decide what's right in your situation... – Jesper Mortensen Aug 6 '11 at 13:48
    
Just don't use solid states with Windows XP. They are unsupported. – Amicable Apr 5 '13 at 13:10
    
SSDs with WinXP works perfectly fine. – Yuhong Bao Dec 8 '14 at 0:38
    
And yes, at least upgrade to the 65nm Presler (if you hasn't already) to cut down on the power consumption and to be able to upgrade to 64-bit Win8.1 or later. – Yuhong Bao Dec 8 '14 at 0:40

Yes it will speed it up. Probably a fair bit.

Is it the best thing you can do to speed it up? Maybe, maybe not. What's the constraint that you hit most often? Disk, memory or CPU?

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I have installed 3GB of ram on the machine. It hangs at least once a day, i am guessing the symptom may be due to paging to the disk. Will it actually speed it up 30% in average cases? In my case where i use it to do Java development, running weblogic server 8.1? – Oh Chin Boon Aug 6 '11 at 13:25
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@Chin: When you say "it hangs", do you mean it locks up / blue screens/ reboots? If so it sounds like a fault, and I doubt an SSD will fix it. – Daniel Lawson Aug 11 '11 at 1:42
    
What Daniel said. Plus, instead of guessing, use the performance monitors to figure it out. – MikeyB Aug 11 '11 at 2:37

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