Using vZilla's most important VM, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, has its advantages. It allows me to easily do a network boot for a bare metal restore to new SSDs, for example. No need for USB to SATA adapters, or migration/cloning utilities. Just restore the lasted automated daily backup.
So I began with an easy upgrade to a visiting distant family member's 4 year old ThinkPad T500, simply replacing the lousy, slow spinny drive with a new Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD. Much improved speed, and a drive that is less likely to die. Full 3 year warranty on the drive, if it does go sideways. This substantial upgrade gives the laptop new life, hopefully for another year or two. Also finished up the work by moving from LogMeIn to TeamViewer, so I can continue to help remotely, if the need arises.
Next up, a ThinkPad T60 under my own roof. Upgraded with another Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD, ordered just a 2 days after the first, for $20 less, a mere $120 this time.
I then configured Samsung Magician RAPID mode to bring this SATA3 speed-hampered system about double the speed for everything, even loading 7 Chrome tabs. Excellent. Loading from RAM instead of over the SATA2 bus really helps with cache heavy operations, especially on older, slower machines.
This Samsung SSD, pictured at right, is well-loved on Amazon, a #1 best seller, and 3500 customer reviews. Oh yeah, 5 stars.
Finally, refreshed gZilla, a Core i7/Z68 system with a Samsung 830 Pro. Took a bit of elbow grease to move it from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1, but ultimately worked out great. Finished up by finally wired up the front power switch and LEDs, using some custom cable harness adapters, and dressing up the cables a bit, to make that re-purposed IntelliStation case look neater. Works great, and implemented a way to increasing the GPU performance, at half the overall watt burn, idle, and under load. Finally, got a new CyberPower PFCLCD UPS for this system as well.
More to be published about these projects soon, with more photos, right here at TinkerTry.