Many times I've extolled the virtues of solid-state drives, which can seriously boost a laptop's performance and battery life while reducing heat and noise.
Ah, but you're not convinced. Before you spend a big chunk of change on one of these drives (they're pricey, to be sure), you want to see this for yourself. You have an older laptop that's kind of on its last legs, and you want a cheap way to dip a toe into the SSD waters.
Here you go. For a limited time, Amazon has the PNY XLR8 (get it?) 120GB SSD for $59, shipped. List price: $129.99. It wasn't very long ago that you'd be lucky to find a drive like this for under $100.
Indeed, I consider that something of an impulse-buy price, a chance to snag an SSD to revive an older laptop. (Or even a newer one, if you don't need a ton of storage. And what with cloud services like Bitcasa ably extending your local storage, plenty of users can easily get by on 120GB.)
The XLR8 is a 2.5-inch SATA III drive (9.5mm height, meaning it might not fit in some newer laptops) that's compatible with pretty much all Windows and Mac machines.
However, you'll need to do the legwork insofar as finding a USB-to-SATA cable (so you can clone your existing drive to the SSD before swapping them) and drive-cloning software. CNET's Dong Ngo has a great how-to that tells you everything you need to know about both.
Of particular interest, PNY backs the drive with a three-year warranty, and you get two additional years once you register it (PDF).
Amazon customers gave the XLR8 4.3 stars out of 5. Suffice it to say, once you get this drive up and running inside your PC, you're likely to love it. Personally, I'll never again buy a PC that's not stocked with an SSD.
Bonus deal: Want to just jump straight ahead to a larger drive? Newegg has the PNY Optima 240GB SSD for $89.99, shipped -- but that's after redeeming a $20 mail-in rebate (PDF). Reviews on that model are even stronger.
Bonus deal No. 2: Science fiction lied to us, because robot butlers still aren't commonplace. Until that glorious day, we'll have to content ourselves with robot vacuum cleaners. Like this one: DealFisher has the refurbished Neato XV-21 robot vacuum for $179.99, shipped. That's a full $20 less than you typically see it, and hundreds less than buying one new. , and it earned a 4.0 from Amazon customers.