Should You Buy A Solid State Drive?

If you want to improve the performance of your modern (SATA II) laptop, consider replacing the mechanical hard drive with a solid state drive (SSD). Unlike a regular hard disk drive (HDD), an SSD is very rugged and has no moving parts. Other benefits: reduced power usage, reduced noise and reduced heat generation. And has rebates through 18 June 2010.

Moreover, with modern processors, productivity can be increased dramatically by reducing the read/write time by a factor of 2-4 times and access time as much two orders of magnitude:

The fastest consumer hard drives take 7 milliseconds to read data off of a platter. The fastest consumer CPUs can do something with that data in one hundred thousandth that time. (source)

Here’s an in-work table of solid state drives (how they work) and benchmark data that I’ve found from reviews. I pulled this data together to help me decide which drive to buy; maybe it will help you, too!

Note: as of this writing, only Windows 7 has TRIM support for data management (no other Windows OS and no Mac OS). One of the reasons I’m trying the Kingston 80 is this review of the Kingston 30:

And if you’re running an OS without TRIM support, Kingston’s drive appears to be the most resilient of the bunch.

Drive Sequential Read/Write Pros-Cons Price
HDD For Benchmarking
Hitachi Travelstar 7K500
HTS725050A9A364, 7200 rpm, 500GB
82.7 MBps
, read average; 83 MBps, write average; Read Access, 15.9 ms
3-year warranty $95.99-OWC
Western Digital Scorpio Blue
WD7500BPVT, 5400 rpm, 750GB
74.1 MBps, read average; 73.1 MBps, write average; Read Access, 16.2 ms
3-year warranty $199.99-Amazon
Indilinx Controller
OCZ Agility EX /64GB OCZSSD2-1AGTEX60G Spec: 255/195 MBps

246/234 MBps w/EVEREST

3-year warranty

Only 64GB
No USB Mini-B
Needs converter
2009 model

Intel Controller
Intel X25-M / 80GB
Spec: 250/70 MBps

256.9/81.6 MBps;
Read Access, 0.1 ms

TRIM support; 3-year warranty

Introduced in 2009, but firmware updates have addressed performance issues

Samsung Controller
Corsair Performance
Spec: 220/120 MBps TRIM support;
3-year warranty; 128MB of cache memory

No public firmware updates

(+$30 rebate thru 6/30)
Kingston SSDNow V+
Spec: 220/140 MBps

241/150 MBps w/EVEREST

TRIM support;
3-year warranty

No public firmware updates
No USB Mini-B
2009 model

Many OEM Drives No public firmware updates
Sandforce Controller
Corsair Force F100 Test:
284/277 MBps w/ATTO
TRIM support

No public firmware updates
No USB Mini-B
Only 2-year warranty

OCZ Vertex-2/100GB
233/235 MBps w/ATTO
93.1GB accessible
TRIM support
3-year warranty
(+ $30 rebate thru 6/18)
OWC Mercury Extreme Pro RE
286/276 MBps w/ATTO
TRIM, SMART, and RAISE support; 5-year warranty

No USB Mini-B

Patriot Inferno – PI100GS25SSDR/100GB Test:
286/277 MBps w/ATTO
TRIM, SMART, and RAISE support; 5-year warranty

No public firmware updates
No USB Mini-B

Toshiba Controller
Kingston SSDNow V
Spec: 200/110 MBps
214/190 MBps w/AS SSD
Notebook bundle includes cloning software;
TRIM, SMART support; Second Gen

119GB accessible on 128GB drive

64GB drive: $159-NewEgg
(+$35 rebate thru 6/18)

128GB drive:

Kingston SSDNow V+ G2 SNVP325-S2/128GB Spec: 230/180 MBps

238/188MBps w/ATTO

TRIM support; 3-year warranty

No public firmware updates
No USB Mini-B



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By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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