I am headed back to the US next month for a short visit. I’ll be there mostly to continue work on my Mexican visa applications. But because electronics there are so much less expensive than here in Mexico I’ve been considering and winnowing my critical purchase list.

I am after all running on some real old technology. My smartphone (the original Google Nexus One) just turned five years old. And both my netbook and workstation are about the same age.  Everything is running fine but entropic forces continue their grind.

I replaced the batteries in both the netbook and my phone about a year ago. Those were the pieces – given their age – that were most likely to further degrade and fail. I continue to be unimpressed by the current new releases of phones so I see no reason to upgrade until such a time as there is something or some feature that I truly need.

My netbook (a nice old Lenovo) – in light of my workstation and 30″ monitor – I view merely these days as another data back up device that also conveniently has a CPU, monitor, and keyboard attached. I did upgrade the OS from XP pro to Win 7 pro 32-bit a few months ago not long after Microsoft pulled the plug on XP in April. I also upgraded the speed by enabling ReadyBoost via an inexpensive 8 GB SD card.

So that leaves the almost 5 year old workstation for me to critique, where believe it or not, the bootdrive on it is a tiny 40 GB SSD. It holds Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit and the entire Microsoft Office suite as well as some other applications. Surprisingly, those only take up 28 GB of storage. But Windows, the way it manages updates, likes to write the older, replaced versions to this root drive so I have to be ever vigilant with disk cleanup as otherwise the remaining 10 GB of free space slowly disappears with each new update.

The workstation has 3 other drives – HDDs – that all add up to 4.5 TB of storage. One of those is bound to fail sooner or later as the average life expectancy of an HDD is 5 years. But if a drive did fail anytime soon there would still be sufficient storage to support my needs.

All that said, it seems to me that weakest link of my data network is the SSD powering the workstation. It’s not imminently prone to fail anytime soon but it was a compromise – the size – that I made back when I was building the system and SSDs were so expensive.

So the plan is to buy a Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB SSD which on Amazon cost about $230. I am buying the 850 (instead of the 840 model) because the 850 features Samsung’s latest technology by way of what they call 32-Layer 3D V-NAND. It utilizes what I imagine is the same technology that Intel has been using since 2012 in their latest generation CPUs. The improvements that come with 3-D are smaller form factors, increased reliability, performance, and smaller power consumption.

So when I get this new 500 GB SSD back to Mexico I will immediately image it to look exactly like the 40 GB which will effectively make it a hot swappable drive should the 40GB fail.

And because it is in a 2.5″ package, it could just as easily slot into my next laptop that I intend to buy in Jan. 2016. That will be when the magic forces of Windows 10 will combine with Intel’s mid-2015 release of their Broadwell quad-core laptops.

Oh yes, my friends. Windows 10 running on an Intel Broadwell quad-core laptop.

PS – And if you buy before Jan. 2016, you’ll be just throwing away your money.

PPS – Know your Intel CPUs

Intel CPUs