September 9, 2012
On the verge of finally defenestrating my laptop my beautiful friend Tim saved it with the power of SSD.
The birth of my (awesome) son brought many changes to my life, most of them brilliant, some expected and some utterly not so. One change I failed to divine was the effect it would have on my illustration time. I’ve worked from home most of my life and as such have been able to use my work tools (desktop computer) in my own time for my own creative ends. This didn’t work out so well once I had a tiny person depending on me. My option to disappear into another room for a few hours of pixel pushing dissipated somewhat, doubly nixed as I was no longer working from home having moved into an office with the dual purpose of being a bit more professional and converting my home office into a nursery (still work in progress, I am nothing if not inefficient).
The most obvious solution was to get a decent spec laptop so that in the moments my tiny child happened to be sleeping I could pop it open and bugger about with Illustrator to my hearts content. Following a bit of research and advice I went for a Sony Vaio. It’s a nice piece of kit, looks lovely, fairly lightweight but sturdy, has all sorts of slots and ports for all manner of devices, runs like a brick. Right from the start it was a struggle to work with, it took a few minutes to boot, would overheat quickly and crash on a regular basis. If I tried to play games on it I needed to reboot after 45 minutes otherwise they became too sluggish to play. As far as using it for design and illustration went, it would open Illustrator and Photoshop but as soon as I had put together anything of any complexity it would become unbearably slow. I gave up using it for a few months as it was just depressing, it was taking hours to draw something that I could knock out in ten minutes on my desktop at work.
Recently, frustration at lack of opportunity to work on personal projects at work drove me to try it out again, I spent a couple of days desperately trying to make it work by removing anything from it that may be eating resources. I even did away with the desktop background. It made a difference but not enough to render the damned thing actually usable. On the verge of giving a thousand pounds worth of barely used laptop to charity, Tim suggested I try an SSD (Solid State Drive). I was wary, they looked expensive, but he lent me one to try out. It was like a completely different machine, no freezing no overheating, I could open Photoshop and Illustrator at the same time and work on hi-res images. Bit of research later and I picked up an OCZ 480GB Agility3
. Tim kindly fitted it for me and my technical problems have gone, a laptop which used to take a good few minutes to boot is now ready for use in under 15 seconds. The offset is that I have less space to play with but I’m happy to learn to keep my files in order in exchange for a computer that actually works.
All this does beg the question as to why Sony had made the decision to include such a crappy low-spec HD in an otherwise decent quality machine, the SSD is the only hardware change I’ve made but it’s like I’ve bought a completely new laptop. Had I been given the option at purchase to have gone for (and paid for) a decent quality HD, SSD or not I would have done so. Bad call Sony (although your walkman’s still kick arse).
This will not of course stop me procrastinating, I could have been drawing tentacled bunnies instead of writing this whinge, but there’s always tomorrow, plus I appear to have a computer which will run video games now, so might have a bit of a play before I get started.
Yay for SSDs…
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