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

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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.

Solo Cup WiFi Signal Extender

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OK, this one isn’t a solution that I’m positive is really making much of a difference but it’s worth mentioning. Ever since my Airport Extreme Base Station partially bit the dust due to a power surge I’ve been using an inexpensive ASUS wireless router at home. Signal coverage isn’t as good as it was with the Apple device but it covers most of the house, at least to some degree.

Last night I experienced issues with Xbox Live. The cause may have been an issue with my ISP or the Live service. I wasn’t sure but I decided to attempt to extend the wifi signal a bit.

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CM15A (ActiveHome Pro) Antenna Boost

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Earlier I was using a CM15A connected to a Windows computer located in the far corner of the house in conjunction with an RR501 Transceiver. The CM15A stock antenna is very weak – it can’t pickup a signal half-way across the house, which is why I had the RR501 setup about mid-way in the house. It did a good job of picking up the remotes (and I never seemed to experience conflicts between the CM15A and the RR501 so it appears that only the RR501 picked up the majority of RF signals).

However, I didn’t care to have a transceiver sitting in a hallway when it shouldn’t have been needed anyway. I decided to look into boosting the CM15A antenna. I tried several suggestions such as placing heavy gauge wire on the antenna or a coat hanger. Several experiments didn’t provide much improvement – the reception may have been boosted from about 10 feet to twenty feet but that wasn’t anywhere near enough to pickup signals on the other side of the house.

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