So I ended up buying a new laptop. My "old" Sony Vaio has for all intents and purposes transitioned from fully functional, fully portable laptop to fussy desktop computer that MUST NOT be jiggled or bumped or sneezed on. I'm hoping if I keep it stationary, I can still eek out a couple of more useful years.
After much searching and pricing and re-searching and re-pricing, I accidentally stumbled into maybe what I was looking for all along on Amazon and then I saw the button for "there is a newer version of this item" which turns out was cheaper and even more like what I was searching for all along.
Computers are weird because the shopping online experience has gotten a LOT worse in the last few years. Last time I bought a laptop, one could go to any of a half dozen companies's websites and build the exact machine one wanted--color and all--from scratch, to the point that I was able to have my K-State purple VAIO personally engraved for a nominal fee.
Blah blah blah I ended up with an ASUS Republic of Gaming laptop.
So here is a video of boot up right before I did the swap. I'm not sure how fair this test was, because the computer was probably still loading some random updates, but anyways--45 seconds.
The install of the SSD was really easy except that the screw that was s'posed to be in there to hold the SSD in place was not. So I scrambled around the house and opened up a couple of old computers that were in the basement and then I finally found the right size screw holding a calculator together. Then I made a washer out of a picture hanger.
The clean install was really easy. I made a bootable usb with microsoft's tool to do that and took out the hard drive and installed it on the new drive. It probably took 2 hours to download the files for the usb and then about 15 minutes to do the install itself. There were lots of tutorials to do all this with all kinds of little tweeks to the BIOS and junk and I did none of these things because 1. I couldn't ever get the boot options screen to come up and because 2. well, pretty much number 1.
This is what I got after that. It was about a 20 second boot.
Then, after doing most of the software installs that I am doing for now, I ended up with this boot experience:
12 seconds. I can live with that.
Then the kids and I spent this afternoon baseline testing the machine with some hardcore gaming, specifically the 1985 classic King's Quest II.
And there should be a lot more bloggering going on around here because now I have a dedicated business only computer in my office and one I can play around on while still being in the living room with all of the everybody elses.