Solid State Hard Drives (SSD) performance

Many articles have been written about SSD hard drives, Intel recently put out a review of the speeds of these drives new compared to well used and thus fragmented. I would just like to throw my results in to the piles of articles.

A year ago this week I built a test Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate machine with a 40 GB SSD drive from Intel. I have all the same security and misc. software that I use on my other computers so it is a fairly easy one-to-one comparison. Well, talk about fast boot times. From “power on” to ready(and I mean ready, not just at the Windows desktop but still loading background “stuff”) takes 38 seconds. Yes, you read that right, 38 seconds. My next fastest machine takes just shy of 2 minutes.

Beyond boot there is what we have to deal with in the everyday, that is the opening and closing of programs, checking e-mail, retrieving, creating and storing of data as well as internet research.

Before we go any further let me go over how I have setup this computer. The SSD only has my programs on it (Windows, Office 2010, ESET, Adobe…). For my data (files, videos, music) I have installed a 1 Terabyte Western Digital “Black” hard drive. I chose the Black series for stability, this PC was to replace my home media center computer (XP Media Center 2005) that has an original 200 GB hard drive from a vendor I rather not mention. The problem with it is that it takes almost 9 minutes to boot. I have reinstalled that system twice over the years, it is the hard drive in this case.

Back to this system, SSD drives are not supposed to be defragmented, I did not believe this to begin with, just like I never believed that Windows NT machines did not need to be defragmented. By defragmenting you wear out the SSD drive much faster. Why? Well, basically these SSD drives are just glorified USB / Thumb drives and the way they are written to and read from is totally different than regular hard drives that spin on platters. At this time, Diskeeper has come out with a program specifically for reorganizing the files on a SSD drive while maintaining the life of the drive. I plan on experimenting with this program over the next few weeks, hopefully I will remember to report this to you all.

With that said, even without defragmenting over the last year, I still get excellent performance with my SSD. Opening any application is almost immediate, especially Outlook. When you need to switch between programs, open and close others throughout the day and retrieve data you can count on a SSD to save you time.

Is a new SSD drive the answer to all your speed issues? No, not by a long shot, but with plenty of RAM (4GB for 32 bit systems and 8 GB for 64 bit systems), up to date BIOS and drivers and a quality network connection (Gigabit) you will have the best performance in a laptop or PC that can be achieved within reason. Now if you want to tweak your operating system, you certainly can get more speed out of a computer, just check out the articles and PDF downloads free located throughout this site.

Until we meet again, have a virus free week!

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