Like 10 years ago there was a single thing that would help your system most from a performance standpoint–add more memory. This, at the time, meant going from 64MB to 128MB, or maybe from 128MB to 256MB.
The analog today, and for the next half decade at least, is switching from disk based storage to SSD based storage.
First of all there are the book numbers: SSDs have seek times under a single milisecond; in fact, they’re being measured in microseconds now. Disk-based drives are still up around 8ms for extremely fast drive systems. We’re talking factors of 10 here, and the technology is in its infancy.
But that’s not the cool part. The bigger deal is being able to access storage in parallel rather than in serial, which is described here.
If you want a fast computer the next time you’re in the market, do three things:
- Get a 64-bit OS
- Get at least 4GB of memory
- Go SSD