Computers & Electronics

Old Desktop w SATA I interface, worth to upgrade to SSD?

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 9th, 2019 1:14 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 2, 2013
39 posts
5 upvotes
Montr

Old Desktop w SATA I interface, worth to upgrade to SSD?

I have a pretty old desktop computer, and from what I can tell (specs here on HP site) it has a SATA I interface.

A SATA I interface has a throughput of only 150MB/s (SATA II and SATA III are faster). A new SSD today might have something like 500MB/s throughput. I may have answered my own question, but in this scenario, does it make sense to even try and upgrade to an SSD (since my SATA interface can only handle 150MB/s)?
39 replies
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 17, 2006
6545 posts
5156 upvotes
North York
No. Too old. Take it to the barn and shoot it.

You should possibly get the decent, used comp with i5, i7 2nd gen for $100-150, then add ssd.
Deal Addict
Jul 26, 2004
2917 posts
603 upvotes
Hmm looks like its an old AM3 AMD system circa 2009/2010?. It could possibly be sata2 . It really depends on what you intend to do with the computer. But with SSD prices so low give it a whirl with a cheap SSD and see if you like how it performs. Just don't expect it to be running AAA games well .. even with a good GPU, at max it'll be a office work machine.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
17013 posts
3867 upvotes
Toronto
Yes, that machine is worth an upgrade with an inexpensive SSD. You can even leave the HD in place for data and just install a 128-256 GB SSD as the boot drive. Prices are really low these days on those.

The main benefit of an SSD over HD is faster random access speeds, and those speeds are often under 150 MB/s anyway.

The main issue though is the Athlon X3 425 CPU is not fast. I upgraded my 8 GB Athlon X3 435 machine to SSD and it felt adequate after that. However, to really make it shine, I also eventually upgraded the CPU to a Phenom II X6 1055T, and that gave an extra kick it needed, to bring it from merely adequate to actually pretty decent for an office and surfing and Netflix HD machine.

I see that your machine can support Phenom II X4. A Phenom II X4 965 would give it a nice boost, but you'd have to get it from eBay and deliveries from Asia for these things takes eons these days unfortunately. Too bad too, since those chips go for less than CAD$50 on eBay from top rated sellers. You might also want to check to see if the latest firmware for your HP supports Phenom II X6, but I wouldn't count on it.
Deal Guru
Jan 27, 2006
11493 posts
4742 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
Yes it is - especially when drives can be had for about the same amount of money as it would cost to ship it across the country - ie $20 for 120 GB. Sometimes people miss one very important detail of SSDs over mechanical drives - the random access times - ie the wait time when the hard drive's head moves from one part of the disk to another. In mechanical drives, that measured in milliseconds while SSDs are almost instant (basically as fast as accessing the memory location). This massive reduction in access times will be there regardless if it's SATA or SATA1 or SATA2...
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 2, 2013
39 posts
5 upvotes
Montr
Obviously, no gaming is planned for this machine. It's mainly being used as a second PC for web surfing, emails, some light office work, and YouTube. It's actually not too bad for web surfing considering its age...(Having said that I just started hearing some squeaking sounds, but that's another issue altogether...hard drive dying?)
Deal Expert
Feb 29, 2008
23170 posts
2781 upvotes
Montreal
Just to clarify, even on SATA 1, SSD would offer a performance upgrade. HDDs don't come close to saturating SATA, and faster read and seek times of an SSD will definitely be noticeable.
Deal Addict
Oct 3, 2012
1382 posts
413 upvotes
Hamilton, Ontario
bargainhunter514 wrote:
Jan 29th, 2019 4:45 pm
I have a pretty old desktop computer, and from what I can tell (specs here on HP site) it has a SATA I interface.

A SATA I interface has a throughput of only 150MB/s (SATA II and SATA III are faster). A new SSD today might have something like 500MB/s throughput. I may have answered my own question, but in this scenario, does it make sense to even try and upgrade to an SSD (since my SATA interface can only handle 150MB/s)?
Yeah. But go for ultra cheap. Like that 120GB that was on sale yesterday for $20. You should see another special like that within a month. Just use it as your boot drive and your old drive for data storage. You will notice a performance improvement, and not have over paid for it.
Deal Addict
May 17, 2005
4845 posts
661 upvotes
bargainhunter514 wrote:
Jan 29th, 2019 4:45 pm
I have a pretty old desktop computer, and from what I can tell (specs here on HP site) it has a SATA I interface.

A SATA I interface has a throughput of only 150MB/s (SATA II and SATA III are faster). A new SSD today might have something like 500MB/s throughput. I may have answered my own question, but in this scenario, does it make sense to even try and upgrade to an SSD (since my SATA interface can only handle 150MB/s)?
if its working and good for your "needs" then YES get a cheap ($20) ssd ... this "only" 150MB/s will be big a improvement ...
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 2, 2013
39 posts
5 upvotes
Montr
Thanks everyone! I'll be on the lookout for a cheap SSD. I was initially thinking maybe a 500GB SSD, but for something so old, investing in a 120GB (or maybe 240GB) should be enough.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
24772 posts
10198 upvotes
bargainhunter514 wrote:
Jan 30th, 2019 8:24 pm
I was initially thinking maybe a 500GB SSD, but for something so old, investing in a 120GB (or maybe 240GB) should be enough.
Age has no relation to size.
I have a bunch of C2D with 2TB drives in them.

It's more about what you're using it for.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
17013 posts
3867 upvotes
Toronto
bargainhunter514 wrote:
Jan 30th, 2019 8:24 pm
Thanks everyone! I'll be on the lookout for a cheap SSD. I was initially thinking maybe a 500GB SSD, but for something so old, investing in a 120GB (or maybe 240GB) should be enough.
Do you need 500 GB? In my case I removed my 640 GB HD and replaced it with a 250 GB SSD, but I don't even need that. I have used less than 50 GB, as it's just an Office, VPN, surfing, and occasional Netflix machine.

If you do need 500 GB, how fast do you need that access to be? Cuz if it's for data storage like archived video clips, usually you don't really need SSD for that. You can install a 120 GB boot SSD, and keep your hard drive in place for extra data storage.

BTW, don't go too cheap. Some of the cheapest ones have comparatively slow random access times. Still noticeably faster than hard drives, but slow enough that it won't feel as fast as SSD "should" feel. A lower mid-range SSD should be fine though.

And once you have the SSD installed, do consider a CPU upgrade. For example, for most business use, my Athlon II X3 435 was fine, but on really complex websites and with activation of menus in Netflix, I could feel brief slowdowns. That all disappeared when I installed a Phenom II X6 1055T. Now it feels like a modern machine.

Passmark scores:

2316: Athlon II X3 425 (Your current machine)
2475: Athlon II X3 435 (My original machine)
3928: Phenom II X4 955 (One of several available upgrades for your machine)
4961: Phenom II X6 1055T (My upgraded machine)

Your machine can take CPUs up to 125 Watts apparently, although I think your current one is 95 Watts. I'd probably stick to a 95 Watt model so you can reuse your heatsink and fan, and keep fan noise down. The Phenom II X4 955 comes in a 95 Watt version for example. I did the same with my upgrade. There are both 95 W and 125 W versions of the X6 1055T, but I bought the 95 W version since my slim profile machine with tiny power supply doesn't support the 125 W version. Even if it did, I'd still take the 95 Watt version so that my heatsink and fan would be adequate, and fan noise would remain minimal. After the upgrade, the machine remains effectively silent with the 95 Watt X6 1055T for 99.9% of the stuff I do on that machine.

The Phenom II X4 955 is about $35-$40 on eBay, including shipping.

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