Here are a things I like to offer and use.

DEFRAGGLER (link)
It is a free ‘visual’ disk defragmenting program for windows that can show you exactly what files are fragmented and how many pieces each file is in. You can pick and choose what you want to defrag. It has a visual reference for where the files are on the drive. It works with HDD’s, SSD’s. I would really be selective using it on SSD’s, It will not make too much of a difference on SSD. It is good for large outlook pst’s and larger files though just to keep them from sitting. Meaning it is good to “move” files once in a while so blocks can be cleared and moved once in a while to avoid premature burnout on the drive. Scooting files around with a periodic defrag helps move files that may not be used and sitting on ‘sweet spots’ or lesser used spots on the drive.

PASSWORD MANAGEMENT
OMG! I had a few hundred clients, I could spout from memory their usernames and passwords. I was feeling like one of those savants! When it grew to more and more, I simply had to come up with a system to manage this. Roboform was a saving grace because it was really one of a kind. Where it fell short a new system made everything I could have ever wanted come true and at a price anyone could be happy with. Like $25 for the whole Year! Out came LASTPASS (link). Not only can I store my passwords, I could Share them and be able to never release password data if I did not wish to. Works great if there is an outsourcing or secondary support needed. They had to be given the password in the other password manager. This one, I could share the access and not the password. Or share everything. I could give the information or take it away. If I changed a password, I did not have to call 10 people to notify them. They were none the wiser! I could set a primary and secondary password. I could set notes, CVV numbers and security information in secure notes for the shared account if needed. I forgot most of the passwords as we need to these days. I can use it on any computer or mobile device anywhere securely within seconds. Such praise does not come often from someone like me. LASTPASS (link) has earned my respect, trust and business.

HDD vs SSD.
Well HDD is hard disk drive. It is a disk based platter that usually lasts 5 years or 100,000 running hours. It is an excellent storage method for holding your Operating System and files. The brand I have had the ‘least issues’ with and have come to ‘trust’ has been Seagate. The usual con is that to read and write, there are ‘slight delays’ that can make data sometimes slower to place, move or access. The moving parts generate a fair amount of heat in the case. Excessive heat damages the drive and vibrations or bumps can hurt the drive irreparably. A key thing to get is a drive with the lowest Read/write delay and highest caching and buffering system. That is what makes the drive faster and more expensive ultimately.

Upgrading the Hard Disk Drive(HDD) to Solid State Drive(SSD) is usually a great speed up. All drive types have finite lives. Do remember that and it is terrible to run an SSD drive at near capacity for you will ‘burn out’ sections of the drive. So get more than you need, always. The drive will try to manage the IOPS.

SSD (Solid State Drive) on the other hand is more like a permanent ram stick. It is nearly instant access for copying, moving or accessing files. A 1 minute boot time on a regular HDD can be 10 to 20 seconds on an SSD. Speed is incredible. The heat given off by SSD is negligible so it does not add heat to the inside of the case really. Bumps and weightlessness will not affect it. The cons really are the IOPS. Basically you can only read and or write to the same spot on the drive 100,000 times on average. Once that happens the block may or may not be able to store or even access the data that was on that part of the drive. Important to know that is why I do recommend Defragging the SSD’s from time to time ‘selectively’. Just to keep files from sitting on areas and being accessed over and over again, essentially burning that area out of IOPS. Opening outlook of common files daily, you can easily burn drives out without really knowing it. The quality of the storage media is the price normally. Samsung is a really great drive. Intel probably the best.

There is a hybrid drive type that sort of has a really great SSD area for booting and caching. It uses SSD technology to read and write fasted using an ssd portion of the drive to hold booting area data for faster startup and then writing it to the disks to save time and speed things up a little. That is called SSHD for Solid State Hard Drive. The SSD is usually really good quality and higher IOPS because it is a smaller size relative to the whole drive being SSD. Good option.

DUAL DRIVE SYSTEMS
Sometimes it is great to use an SSD drive to boot and operate on and a secondary HDD for the frequently used files. Firstly it saves the SSD from excessive read/write IOPS. Secondly, it makes backups easier. Most of the stuff you care about is the second drive. If the primary drive ever died, you do not lose your valued data. I like DROPBOX (link) too. They give you 2 Gb of storage to start free and 1 Tb of storage for $9.99 per month or $99.00 per year. I make the second drive a dropbox drive. All files are stored in redundancy with that method. There is a file on the hard drive and on the dropbox site accessible and shareable anytime from any and all of your devices. Add in a Seagate backup drive and you have 3 copies of your files and data at any time. Even most laptops can support dual hard drives.

SYSTEM SPEED
Ah the myth. Well congrats, you think that SSD, more ram or defragging controls the system. Sadly that is the least of it all. 90% of the system speed is the processor followed closely by the ram. The application of what you do is a key element in what I would suggest. If your a pure-blood gamer, GO AMD all day long. If your a business, do not ever subject yourself to AMD processors. It may seem insignificant, but lets say integrity is everything.

AMD is about approximation and speed. Let me do it mathematically so you get this point easily. It has been a fact that if you can get a 5 year old to get it, anyone can understand it. Take a calculator. Divide 22 by 7. You will get an ‘infinite number’. the number is PI in circles. that number is 3.14285714285714. Now the number will repeat infinitely from the ‘285714’ over and over. Usually we use ‘3.14’ like as in dollars, we do not use those half cents, they can add up though if not careful. The more of the number we use for a calculation, the more accurate the calculation. Agreed ?

So lets just say using lesser of this floating point will give a lesser accurate processing time but be faster. That is great in gaming. You wouldn’t notice a few out of place pixels here and there anyway. You would not even notice a few frames dropped from a moving video. That’s why AMD is great for gaming. Its more approximations rather than integrity. It is good, yes, but what if your an architect or using extreme calculations? Ever had a program close and disappear with absolutely no reason? The reason sometimes is it just lost the whole thought somehow. Lets just say AMD uses 3.143 and Intel uses 3.14285714285714.

Intel processors are indeed more money, yes. It is because it is better, more accurate and calculates at near astonishing accuracy as compared to AMD. The intel might cost twice as much but its all about the integrity of what is left behind and saved. Also how many cores run at the same time. We used to have issues with file truncation where two files wrote across one another and shared points. That was common among AMD chips in my experience and older intels back in the 286, 386 and 486 ranges. We have come a long way and AMD is really in my opinion just like the old Cyrix chips. Substandard according to my standards. Did not end well for Cyrix. Even Apple said ‘we’re going intel’ eventually and the Risc processor used to be a mac only type system processor became an intel preferred system processor.

MOTHERBOARD
The first component is the Processor. The next is the Motherboard. An intel chip on an intel chipset board is the greatest use of intel architecture and speed.

MEMORY- RAM
Ram is the single most thought through component in the system. Consider all data that flows through the system passes through the ram all the time. It has to be reliable, fast and able to keep that data integrity. The better and faster the ram, the more reliable the system. It is quality not throughput you really want. The best of both within your budget anyway. You will hear and see all sorts of ram. Buffered, unbuffered. different speeds and caches. Best I can offer is the processor you choose should determine the motherboard. The motherboard specifications will choose the ram. Manufacturers usually test hundreds of types of ram on the board and publicly post the results by serial number so you can buy matched memory to fit the board and application. You cannot go wrong with a board matched to the processor and ram. All else is preference from there.

The trio of motherboard, processor and ram is everything the system is as far as speed, reliability and throughput. It is not like the retail systems. Retail is about profits. Some computer shop builds too. It is more than taking an intel chip, slapping it on a board and adding ram. I perform 10 hours of research into the pieces and parts and usually order much by serial number to make sure the trio is matched and certified to work flawlessly.

More Memory is not always something that speeds a system up, not just because you put in an ungodly amount of ram makes it usable even. Mac Example: video editing with Final Cut Pro 10(x) myth – Adding 100 gigs of ram will make it faster. Well the fact is, no matter how much ram you put in, the program can only access and address 4 gigs of ram, So the usual 8 or 16 gig ram system is plenty. The video card and the video ram is usually where you will see a speed difference. Get the best and highest video card and highest ram for that to work best is the real truth.

VIDEO
Of course video is important. The faster it is, the faster things display. The more ram a video card has the more it can grab, process and send to a video display monitor so you can see it in real time as it was meant to be seen. Nothing is more crucial or harder to keep up with than video data. Editing and displaying. the more expensive the card, the better it can run that data in and show it to you. There is also a process of rendering it and saving the output back to the disk sometimes. A good investment, but still yet really preferences from there on.

COOLING
The hotter a processor gets, the slower it runs and heat is the most damaging factor to a crystalline structured chip. Heat a glass up unevenly or too hot and it can explode. Cool it to fast and it can implode. These chips are all made with thin layers of a glass like silica. Liquid cooling and even A/C systems are made to cool or even freeze the processor if needed. Air cooling can only work so well based of course on ambient surrounding temperatures. Taking warm air and just warming it more usually. It is about air flow. Liquid cooling can double cooling effectiveness. And you cant just lock the computer up in a closed space or cabinet where it cannot get rid of the heat. It must breathe. Heat rises. The more efficient the cooling, the longer the system will last. All of my systems have been are tenure tested. Just means I know what I am doing not just a part-monger. Even the type of case you buy has an effect on the temperature and cooling capability.

POWER
Power Supply Units (PSU) are the heart of running clean and efficient. You need to make sure the system has more than enough power because if there are dips in power or variations, the system can choke. You have voltage on one end and amperage on the other. Between the two is wattage. Wattage is a capacity of how much is available. if the system needs 500 watts to run? Get a 750 watt PSU. The more cards and devices you have, the more peripherals, the more power you may want. Now just throwing a 1,000 watt PSU by default is a good strategy, sometimes overkill. It is the higher the rating, the better the materials I have found. I like a modular PSU. I do not need tons of extra or unnecessary cables disrupting the air from getting out of the case.

BATTERY BACKUPS
It is all about quality time. Some power dip occurs? It can straighten it out. Power goes out, it can give you a few minutes to save, close and shutdown. It is not perfect, but I do not run my systems without them.