As with most technologies, SSD is actually becoming affordable. There are several entry level drives that vary from $80 to $120 in price and 20GB to 60GB in size. However, I strongly advice to step it up to a bigger drive because you are going to run into several issues and annoyances if you go with a small capacity SSD.
First of all, since the drives are so small, the OS will most likely take half the space of the drive. You then install Office, Visual Studio, Photoshop, or any other big app that will benefit from the performance gains and you’ll start running out of space.
Putting media in a mechanical drive should go without saying. Then take a look at hibernation, if you are not on a laptop, you might want to consider disabling it. Hibernation uses an amount of space equivalent to the amount of RAM you have on your computer. 4GB is pretty common and 8GB is starting to become the norm, meaning that would be space you will have to live without. To disable it in Windows 7, open a command prompt and type
powercfg -h off
Next, if you already have something in place to regularly back up your computer, consider disabling system restore. Go to the Control Panel, select to view by Large Icons instead of Category, pick System, and then System Protection. There, you can click on the Configure button, and you will be able to disable System Restore for your booting drive.
After that there is Pagefile.sys, a file in Windows that acts as virtual memory. If you have a large amount of RAM, you can easily do away with this file, make it smaller, or move it to another drive. Simply, go to System again, click on Advance System Properties, in the Advanced tab, click on the performance section the settings button. That will open the Performance Options window where you should click on the Advance tab, then on the Change… button in the Virtual Memory Section. Some sources advocate these changes for small performance gains or to extend your drive’s life, but the jury is still out on that. For certain, they will save you space in your drive.
However, the latest intel chipset on the market, Z68, has a clever way to handle these small drives. It will allow you to use Smart Response Technology (aka SSD caching). It acts as cache for a mechanical drive. It will speed up your system automatically without having to deal with all the nuisance of a small SSD maintenance or SSDs in general.
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