I recently bought a laptop (i7, 8Mb RAM), not specifically for music, although I reckon it could easily handle most music applications, and installed Windows 8. Well, you ought to try these things…
It’s supposed to start up much faster than Win 7 and it sort of does. You get to the login screen pretty quickly but it can then take a while to come fully online, although it also depends on what apps you’ve got running and which ones start up with the system.
I run msconfig (now integrated into Win 8’s Task Manager) to keep an eye on what’s starting up with the computer. There’s actually not much starting up that doesn’t need to and I really don’t see much increase in speed over Win 7.
The laptop is to replace one which is about 4-5 years old. The screen stopped working so I needed to replace it, but in an attempt to squeeze every last ounce of performance out of it, I replaced the HD with a SSD (Sold State Drive).
The difference was amazing! Startup is very, very fast. More noticeable, however, is the shutdown which only takes seconds. Even now, with most tasks it can give the new machine a run for its money and anything disk-intensive it’s streets head. And the SSD is one I’ve had lying around for a couple of years so it’s nowhere being near state-of-the-art.
(In case you’re wondering how I’m using it with no screen, the video output is still working and it’s currently plugged into the TV and being used as a media server!)
It’s interesting to note that the HD light on the new laptop flashes a lot and is on continuously during startup and shutdown which proves – as if you needed any proof – that the HD is, indeed, the bottleneck in most modern computer systems.
So I’m seriously thinking of upgrading the new laptop by adding a SSD. I don’t need it but I’d really like one!
And that’s probably where most computer users sit – wanting but not needing. For mass storage, external HDs are fine but if you access a disk often, go for eSata or USB 3 (make sure your computer supports this, even now many new ones only offer USB2).
As for music – well, unless you’re doing a massive amount of disk accessing you may not see a great speed increase and, truth to tell, it would be prohibitively expensive to use SSD(s) for recording digital audio. But the day will come when they’re more affordable…
If you want to see what’s available – just out of curiosity, of course! – check out the monthly SSD round-up over at Tom’s Hardware.