Tag Archives: bottleneck elimination

Solid State Drives – Do You Really Need One?

I’ve slowly faded from the ranks of the early adopter cult and instead, I now count myself amongst the laggards – those that are less likely to jump, with both feet, onto the new technology bandwagon.

No, it’s not because I’ve lost interest in technology. It’s just that so much of the “new” technology seems to be focused on connectedness – always on, always reachable, technology. I can easily admit – I’m not interested in being “always on”, or “always reachable”.

Still, I had an itch to give an SSD (Solid State Drive – no moving parts) a whirl. Since SSDs reportedly are capable of faster boot times, faster system shutdown, along with faster sleep and hibernation modes, scratching the itch was a no brainer – I just had to do it.  Faster application load times (including games), clinched it.

Following a trip to my supplier, I installed an OCZ Vertex Plus 60GB SATA II SSD (a tiny little thing!), into a test machine. Installing the drive was easy and straightforward.

Installed and secured the drive.

Connected the power and drive interface cables.

Set the BIOS so that the drive was recognized by the machine as the boot drive.

Installed Windows 7 Enterprise.

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OCZ Vertex Series SATA II 2.5″ SSD Specs:

Interface Type: SATA II

Buffer Memory: 64MB

Average Seek (msec): 0.1 – My first 10 MB HDD (back in the Jurassic Period, had a seek time of 198 msec.

Write Speed: up to 90 MB/sec

Read Speed: up to 185 MB/sec

Form Factor: 2.5″

MTBF: 1,500,000 hrs.

Temperature, Operating (°C): 0 to 70

Noticeable improvements following installation

Boot time: reduced from about 90 seconds, to roughly 15 seconds.

Application load times: appear to be at least twice as fast.

Application installation time: fast, fast, fast!

Gaming: this is the area in which I noted the biggest improvement. As strange as this may seem, characters in Far Cry 2 (the game I used for testing), moved faster. Initially, I assumed that my perception was off – but, no. Ubisoft, the well know game developer, has posted a comparison video which clearly shows the improvement in character speed – SSD versus HDD. Quite amazing!

Before proceeding with a series of Disk benchmarks, I took a look at the Windows Experience Index and happily noted a major improvement in Disk data transfer rate.

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Benchmark: SSD – OCZ Vertex Plus 60GB – SATA 2.

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Benchmark: HDD – Western Digital WD3200 320GB – 7200 RPM – SATA 2. Seek Time 8.9 ms. Read/Write Time 10.9 ms.

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Clearly, the Benchmark tests show the SSD running away with the prize for efficiency.  

Bottom line:

After running with this SSD, for a week or so, it’s easy to see why SSDs can lay claim to HDD “bottleneck elimination” – read and write speed, is what it’s all about. The boot takes only one sixth as long, application launches are at least twice as fast as with the Western Digital WD3200, and file handling speeds are dramatically improved. What’s not to like?

After experiencing the performance gain with an SSD configured as a boot and system drive, there’s no turning back. I can already see the cash in my accounts dwindling.   Smile

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Filed under flash drive, Hard Drive, Opinion, Solid State Drives, SSD, Windows Tips and Tools