Upgrade Impressions: Replacing MacBook Pro and ASUS Eee PC Hard Drives with Seagate Hybrid Drives

Early last month I replaced the hard drive in my ASUS home automation PC with a Seagate Hybrid Drive (1 TB, 5,400 RPM, 2.5″). Since then I’ve noticed a slight improvement in performance.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to replace the drive in my work laptop with a Seagate hybrid drive as well. I was so impressed with the performance boost and wake-from-hybernate speed that I decided to purchase two drives for home use (one for my laptop, which is a mid-2012 13″ MacBook Pro and one for my wife’s laptop that is probably a 2010 13″ MacBook Pro).

For the personal laptops I purchase two drives (Seagate Momentus XT 750 GB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s 32 MB Cache 2.5 Inch Solid State Hybrid Drive ST750LX003) from Amazon for around $100 each.

I’m very impressed with these hybrid drives. I never expected to see a noticeable improvement in performance. It’s comparable to the difference experienced when adding a significant amount of RAM to a system. Even my wife’s older MacBook Pro seems a bit faster.

Plugable USB 2.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

USB-Ethernet-USB2-E1000

Several months ago I lost some network ports on different devices due to a power surge from a nearby lightning strike. Unfortunately, one of the devices that took a hit was the ASUS system I’m using for managing home automation. After the surge I configured the system to use wifi but it was struggling to keep up with network traffic (the system does more than just manage my home automation setup).

After I while I decided to purchase a Plugable USB 2.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter. It’s worked great ever since and as far as I can tell I haven’t had any new problems with the system (and bandwidth has clearly improved over the wifi connection). The device retails from Amazon for about $25.

Case Star Clamshell Earbud Case

Earbud-Case

Tangled earbud wires is a frustration you’ve probably dealt with many times. I was always surprised at how easily small wires would become tangled around other things in my backpack. One of the ways I dealt with this was to store them in an empty prescription bottle. This method worked very well but it did draw the odd question or stare once in a while.

To avoid these relatively minor issues I ordered a couple of Case Star Clamshell Earbud Cases from Amazon, which only cost about $7 each. I don’t have any complaints – they serve their intended functions quite well.

Updated 07/06/2014: There isn’t much to state about these other than the fact that they’ve held up just fine and they’ve also helped preserve the condition of my earbuds.

Anker Astro3E 10000mAh External Battery

anker01

The Monoprice battery has worked very well since I purchased it but I wanted to have a battery with a greater capacity (and it doesn’t hurt to have an additional battery as well). I always have my iPhone with me and I often carry a mifi and the 3DS as well. In addition, sometimes I’m traveling with others that have a device that could use a recharge.

Last March I purchased an Anker Astro3E 10000mAh External Battery.

Functionality of the device is similar to the Monoprice battery so I won’t bother with describing the minor details. Overall, it’s similar but clearly does provide greater battery capacity. It’s been used several times and I haven’t had a problem with the device itself.

I have noticed an odd issue with my portable Powermat charging mat – when the battery is fully charged (or nearly fully charged) the mat will turn the charging on and off repeatedly, which can be very annoying if the charging sound on the mat is enabled and it happens in the middle of the night. However, this isn’t an issue with the battery and I’ve experienced a few oddities with the portable charging mat and other devices.

Updated 05/22/2013: I’ve been using this battery for a while and so far it has worked great. I’ve had the opportunity to use it on several trips and I’m actually using this battery more than I am the Monoprice battery.

Updated 07/06/2014: This battery still works great and is extremely useful when traveling.

anker02