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Top 5 most upgrade-worthy internal drives of 2013

CNET editor Dong Ngo picks the best internal drives for 2013 that make excellent storage replacements for your your aging computer.

If you have an aging computer, the best way to bring new life (speed, that is) to replace its internal hard drive.

Older computers generally run on a regular hard drive, whose performance degrades over time, just like any mechanical parts. Replacing that with a solid-state drive (SSD) will prove to be the most satisfying update you ever make to your system. In fact, the outcome is often better than getting an entirely new budget computer.

While it may seem intimidating to open a computer's chassis, this process is quite easy.Check out this How-To post if you need more instruction on opening a laptop, and it's even easier on a desktop. The hardest part is actually picking the right replacement drive.

To make that easier, following is a list of the top five best internal drives I've reviewed this year, sorted by review order. Any of them would make an excellent candidate and if you still have a hard time finding the right one, take a look at the top drives of 2012, most of them are still available for purchase and should do the trick.

Finally, if you want to find out more about digital storage, don't forget to check out my series on the basics.

Dong Ngo/CNET

Samsung 840 Evo
The Samsung 840 Evo has everything you care about when shopping for a solid-state drive: performance, capacity, and price. With up to 1TB of storage space and a cost of much less than $1 per gigabyte, it's very hard for you to find any other SSD that offers a better deal. In my testing, the drive's performance was also excellent. On top of this, the included Samsung Magician software turns the 840 Evo into a very versatile internal drive, including the ability to use a computer's system memory as its cache to further enhance its performance.

Read the full review of the Samsung 840 Evo.

Dong Ngo/CNET

Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme Plextor wants to categorize the M5 Pro Xtreme as the luxury line of SSDs by making it not only fast but also good looking -- and expensive. For this reason, when the drive was released at the beginning of the year, it wasn't very welcome. However, its price has come down significantly, making its great performance that much more attainable, and valuable.

Read the full review of the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme.

Dong Ngo

Seagate 600 The 600 is the first SSD from Seagate, a storage vendor more known for making regular hard drives. Still, the drive comes with the advantages of Seagate's decades of research and development in digital storage. It offers a very fast speed and is one of the few on the market also available in 5mm thickness, as opposed to the 7mm of other SSDs. This means the drive can fit in more computers, including some ultra-portable laptops.

Read the full review of the Seagate 600.

Looking for specs and pricing? Compare these SSDs head-to-head.