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View Full Version : Laptops with solid state drives - practical/real world feedback


high_revs
10-06-2010, 11:46 AM
Anyone own one that would like to give real world feedback? I'm not referring to articles, tests, etc. I'd really like to hear from owners and the practicality of it. I've read tests, etc. but individual real world feedback is sometimes better, since we pay for them (not provided to by testers/magazines/online sites).

For your use (daily normal use, aka emails, browsing, downloads) to power users (photo/video work, excel, heavy hard disk utilization) did it make a difference? Was it worth the premium?

I'm considering upgrading the home laptop. normal use for home - emails, browsing, calguns. i don't really use that much cpu i think or hard disk utilization (not from watching races from motogp). the most hdd utilization would be moving data from the solid state disk to an external one or flash drive. i read that 'writing' takes a performance hit over traditional hdd's because of the memory clearance prior to writing something new, unless it's small blocks of data.

I have concerns also on suddenly loss of power. Was your solid state drive/data corrupted with battery suddenly losing power? or immediate shut down (frozen situation).

250gb is plenty for me since I archive to dvd's or external disks (thinking of a NAS in the future but I like something off hdd to dvd's for longer life and secondary protection).

amd64
10-06-2010, 12:19 PM
Once you use a machine with a good SSD, you'll never go back. It's the most significant hardware upgrade you can do, since most all the bottlenecking of performance on laptops is due to slow hard drive I/O for OS and apps.

Get an Intel X25-M 80GB or X25-V 40GB. Install only OS and apps on it. Use an external 2.5" HD for data storage. If possible, use an eSATA interface to the external drive. Some laptops already have eSATA ports, or you can use an expresscard eSATA adapter.

To avoid hassles with partition alignment, use Windows 7, and do a clean install of it (i.e. don't hassle with imaging an existing Win7 system over to the SSD).

d4v0s
10-06-2010, 1:54 PM
I upgraded my home "gaming" machine with SSD drives, I used to have Two Raptors (10,000rpm) in Raid. They were super fast, but the SSD is a whole other animal. I also have a 500gb drive for pics, movies, and that sort of crap.

My work laptop came with an SSD, and after using my bosses laptop with a 7200RPM drive it was truely night and day. (Same hardware, only drives are different) Most people don't realize how much the hard drive bottlenecks them, I wanna kill myself everytime i see a laptop with and I7 and a 5400rpm drive. Its like putting 30 dollar tires on a BMW M5.

vandal
10-06-2010, 3:13 PM
Bought a bunch of Thinkpd T410s for the office (128gb SSD). Been running them for about 6 months. The rare Windows 7 reboot takes only a few seconds. No data problems, no heat, highly recommended.

ExtremeX
10-06-2010, 3:46 PM
SSD on a laptop is such an amazing upgrade... Even more so than a desktop SSD upgrade

Laptop SSD:
Power Consumption – better battery life
Typically not possible to do raid configurations in a laptop, SSD is the answer to faster seek and transfer times.
Less noise
Less heat
No moving parts – better shock protection.
Cons: Cost vs Stage capacity
Personally, if I were buying a new laptop today, SSD is the first thing I would be looking for, even more than processor and ram. I would opt for at least an i3 or i5 in a laptop too. I7 if you are a power house user. Those processors also have power consumption benefits along with being modern day chips.

Different mindset should apply to Desktop SSD deployment… I can explain if needed.

Mute
10-06-2010, 3:58 PM
After extensive use of SSD on my current desktop, I can tell you that I am never going back to non-SSDs for use as a primary drive.

ExtremeX
10-06-2010, 4:22 PM
I have mixed feeling about SSD and desktop computers… it really come down to what/how you intend to use it, and what you expect out of it. This post is NOT directed to anyone in this thread, so don’t get ur panties in a bunch…

SSD biggest strong point is seek time, not transfer rate in desktop applications. If you use a SSD for the operating system drive, cache drive, or a storage drive which requires high IOS / random seek times like virtualization virtual hard drive, then it’s the way to go! Raid or no raid…

If you purchase SSD drives for storage / raid applications 2-4 or more drives, and use them for things like video streaming, video editing, general storage, then I think there are better solutions. In a desktop you have space for creating a larger raid array, let’s take raid 10 or 50 for example, you can often times gain FASTER sustained transfer rates than SSD drive, all while maintain a better cost:storage ratio. Video editing does not require fast seek times and and high IOP numbers, sustained transfer rates from a good quality 7200 RPM – 10k RPM drive will be more than enough.

If storage is NOT an issue, I also recommend you guys take a look at RAM DRIVES, if you have plenty of ram on ur system. I have 12 GB, and create a 4GB ram drive when using Photoshop, and allocate that space as a scratch disk.

SSD and Desktop, is more about picking the right tool for the application, and is more dependent on how the storage medium is going to be used. SSD are modern, great, sweet to own, but remember, there are applications where traditional disks are still better.

Anyone using a SSD as an operating system drive is doing it right. The OS has many small file, random seeks and minimal writes. The seek times is what makes the drive feel soo snappy in this application. In a desktop, this can always be paired with a standard HDD for storage. In a laptop, you typically only have space for one drive, and a large SSD will be the best option.

ExtremeX
10-06-2010, 4:32 PM
For your use (daily normal use, aka emails, browsing, downloads) to power users (photo/video work, excel, heavy hard disk utilization) did it make a difference? Was it worth the premium?



Yes... VERY

Buy the biggest one you can afford, if you have a home network, you can always store bulk files on a different computer, network attached storage, or windows home server. This will help mitigate SSD costs for you.

SSD technology is still evolving, and is only going to get faster and cheaper. Donít overbuy now when you can upgrade in a year or two.

If you also want some real world benchmark numbers, let me know... I did testing when I first built my system and compared SSD, 15K SAS raid 0, 4 drive 7200 raid 0, and a RAM drive which yeliled 4000mb/s transfer times with a seek time so low it didnt register.

If you want a simple answer... YES, GET THE SSD. Itís worth the cost, but donít go out and buy the biggest one because you always pay a premium for the larger sizes.

desertdweller
10-06-2010, 5:08 PM
I bought a laptop w/SSD for a client and since he does a lot of traveling, the first thing he noticed was the large increase in battery life. This alone, for travelers, can make it well worth it!

Everything else said about speed is also true.

high_revs
10-06-2010, 9:17 PM
Thanks for all the feedback. I understood 95% (I think) of everything mentioned. I used to build my own desktops back then but that YEARS ago. Moving out of gaming, the only heavy use I ever did was for work and they provide that h/w for me (OLAP, SQL, DW, heavy Excel use - the one that uses heavy CPU processing LOL). Personal use (no gaming)... I'm just a normal/typical user these days these days that's probably 80-85% of the targeted segment for the big computer manufacturers for personal machines.

I'm definitely looking into SSD. I'm pretty conservative in utilizing online storage (on machine) as I prefer to archive to offline anyway (tidy up the file searches and less crap to filter thru). I wish I can have a desktop again at home for that brute power over a laptop, but my usage doesn't require it anymore and I like the portability, not to mention not having another machine to deal.

Thanks again for all the real world feedback!

P.S yeah, I like longer battery power too on the laptop. :)

Mute
10-06-2010, 10:15 PM
I have mixed feeling about SSD and desktop computersÖ it really come down to what/how you intend to use it, and what you expect out of it. This post is NOT directed to anyone in this thread, so donít get ur panties in a bunchÖ

SSD biggest strong point is seek time, not transfer rate in desktop applications. If you use a SSD for the operating system drive, cache drive, or a storage drive which requires high IOS / random seek times like virtualization virtual hard drive, then itís the way to go! Raid or no raidÖ

If you purchase SSD drives for storage / raid applications 2-4 or more drives, and use them for things like video streaming, video editing, general storage, then I think there are better solutions. In a desktop you have space for creating a larger raid array, letís take raid 10 or 50 for example, you can often times gain FASTER sustained transfer rates than SSD drive, all while maintain a better cost:storage ratio. Video editing does not require fast seek times and and high IOP numbers, sustained transfer rates from a good quality 7200 RPM Ė 10k RPM drive will be more than enough.

If storage is NOT an issue, I also recommend you guys take a look at RAM DRIVES, if you have plenty of ram on ur system. I have 12 GB, and create a 4GB ram drive when using Photoshop, and allocate that space as a scratch disk.

SSD and Desktop, is more about picking the right tool for the application, and is more dependent on how the storage medium is going to be used. SSD are modern, great, sweet to own, but remember, there are applications where traditional disks are still better.

Anyone using a SSD as an operating system drive is doing it right. The OS has many small file, random seeks and minimal writes. The seek times is what makes the drive feel soo snappy in this application. In a desktop, this can always be paired with a standard HDD for storage. In a laptop, you typically only have space for one drive, and a large SSD will be the best option.

Completely agree. SSD for my OS and a few essential apps. Everything else goes on a standard HDD.

immaculate
10-07-2010, 12:07 AM
about a year ago i got an Intel X25-M G2 SSD right when they started trickling onto the market. i installed it in one of my thinkpads (SATA150, NOT SATA300), replacing a 7200rpm spinner. keep in mind that these scores are on a SATA150 interface...on newer laptops, the difference is even more profound =]

i now have Intel X25-M in all of my laptops. realistically, battery life didn't improve by much, but the differences in sleep, wake from sleep, startup/shutdown, app launch, and other "basic" everyday tasks is VERY noticeable. it was to the point that i just couldn't stand regular hard drives in my other laptops any longer ;]

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2538/3883634708_c865232b9a_z.jpg?zz=1

and for the sake of comparison, here's what the same SSD looks like in a SATA300 laptop:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3297/4566298349_9662ba70af.jpg

MA2
10-10-2010, 3:28 PM
I did put a ssd on a hp dv2100 laptop:
Yes boot time was fast, but there was some lag on actual usage.
Maybe its a old laptop, and the controller was not up to par, so I went back to the old hd's, as it only used for basic stuff.
So, the ~$80 was not worth it for me on a laptop.


For kicks & jiggles...on a desktop 4-disk @ raid-0...
http://img823.imageshack.us/img823/4335/11397523.png

sholling
10-10-2010, 8:30 PM
I run a fairly fast SSD as the system drive on my home computer (Core 2 Quad 8GB) and wouldn't go back, however the swap file is on a 10,000RPM raptor and my data is on a 2.6TB RAID5 array. I love the boot and read speed of the SSD but it's not something I'd want to write to a lot. Moving my one write intensive application from the SSD to the Raptor made for a noticeable performance improvement.

My notebook (Lenovo Ideapad Y560 i7 4GB) came with a 500GB hybrid SSD/7200rpm drive. I find that it's plenty fast for laptop use and doesn't have the huge power drain (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-hdd-battery,1955.html) of a pure SSD.

JDay
10-10-2010, 8:36 PM
It's plenty fast for laptop use and doesn't have the huge power drain (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-hdd-battery,1955.html) of a pure SSD.

That article is over 2 years old and the technology has changed. The drives tested aren't even on the market anymore. In fact those are probably first generation drives.