Since I needed a new laptop for law school, I figured I would link to the exact Asus model I'm going with and blog about what I'll be changing on it. The image below is linked to the laptop I just purchased from Amazon if you want to see the full specs:
This laptop has a 14" LED touch screen, an i5 processor, 6 GB of DDR3 RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, and around a 5 hour battery life. Most of the laptops I was looking for with something around these specs that included an SSD were closer to $1,000 whereas this one is only a little over $650. In addition to the Asus laptop, I ordered one of these:
This is a 250 GB SSD made by Samsung currently going for $130 (it's also linked to Amazon if you want to check it out.) SSDs are way faster than a typical hard drive, make less noise, and have no moving parts. I plan on cloning the 500 GB hard drive in the Asus on to this 250 GB SSD and then using the SSD in the laptop. Yes, I'm finally going to have a computer with Windows 8. I was heavily leaning towards putting Windows 7 on the SSD, but Windows 8 supports the touch screen capabilities of the laptop (and I may occasionally use touch screen.) So by purchasing my own SSD and moving Windows 8 over myself, I'm saving myself a couple hundred dollars over most comparable laptops that have an SSD and the specs of my Asus laptop.
There are lots of programs that can clone your current hard drive over to an SSD. In fact, the top review on the Samsung SSD that I linked to above informed me that the Samsung SSD comes with cloning software. It really is a smart move if your current computer is really sluggish / hurting for speed. Every computer I plan on using in the near future has an SSD (or will have one if I need to build myself a new one from parts at any time in the future.) It will make more of a difference than upgrading RAM and SSDs are finally coming down in price to the point where they are affordable. I'm going to start recommending this as an option more often now when people tell me about speed issues their computer is having.