Is it Crucial for me, or is it Crucial for you?
Over the last few weeks I have been pondering over what new item I might want to purchase for the Windows systems I have here. Usually I’m looking at various Apple devices, but the extreme costs of these products has allowed me to shift focus back to my roots, where the Windows PC is King, and the technology is affordable and varied as well.
For me, the boot-up time of any computer system is the first irritant of the day, and anything that can speed this up has to be a good thing in my book. I decided to look around and see if a new large capacity hard drive would be the way forward, but when you consider that my primary hard drive on the Windows 7 system here is a 1.5TB device, I decided that maybe I should be looking at a different technology completely! So, SSD drives got researched and after a few sharp intakes of breath on the current costs of them at the moment, I read into the technical specifications, watched a few YouTube video’s and after that, I decided that rather than going for a 128GB SSD device, a 64GB device would be better for me as this would allow me to have my operating system, applications and general files all on SSD, but the larger, rarely used items stored onto the 1.5TB drives I have attached externally.
The main Windows 7 PC system I use daily is ancient in technology terms, but does everything I need from a PC, except give me the ability to appear smug online and tell people how many cores I am running and much memory I have in it etc. Upgrading to SSD is more a case of me easing my “Technology Boredom” as it’s what you do with the computer systems you have that dictates if they are up to the job or not, and my current equipment performs perfectly for my needs, but I just want a new toy that might speed start times up a little more for me!
Windows 7 Professional
ASUS M2N4-SLI Motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5600+ (2.80GHz)
4.00Gb RAM DDR2 (3.25GB usable as it’s 32bit edition of Windows 7 professional)
NVIDIA GeForce 7600GS Video card
Main OS Drive – Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5TB SATA Hard Drive
In the end I decided to go for the SSD drive from Crucial.com/uk details can be found in full by clicking on the link below.
64GB Crucial RealSSD C300 2.5-inch SATA 6GB/s from HERE
Ordering this in a Saturday morning (20/11/2010) is probably not the best time to do it if you wan’t things fast, but I’m patient at times!. Coming in at £110.44, it’s not cheap when you match it up against the likes of a 1.5TB or 2TB hard drive, but the benefit here for me is that its a 2.5 inch device, so I can test it initially in my main Windows 7 PC system and if it performs well, I can then test it out on the laptops I have here, and see if they benefit from this technology. The laptops don’t store a large amount of data anyway, so 64GB will be more than enough storage for them!
After placing the order, and advertising the fact that I had actually placed an order for it, I was not surprised at the general feedback that started to come through. The small 64GB size and the write speeds all got pointed out to me, but everyone seemed to be missing the whole point of the exercise, which is to test the technology and assess if its going to be of any use to me personally. I have absolutely no interest in benchmark tests where a millisecond is shaved of some stupid graph, where some file takes 10 seconds to be written up against 5 seconds, it’s all about the real-world general use that I have that matters. The benchmark side of things are what I read from other technical web sites, sift through 99% of the garbage and focus on the real world stuff.
Now, SSD drives seem to have the reputation of just being like a hard drive, you just pop it out of the box, install your operating system and that’s you done and dusted with whizz bang performance!
In theory, yes you can do this, but you will also find that your purchase may not be as great as you though it would be, more so as time goes by and you decide to actually use the drive! And if you are going to go down the SSD route you really should be thinking of Windows 7 as standard, and just ignore Windows XP as you will have quite a few hoops to jump through to get things running at maximum performance, and keeping it that way.
If you are considering purchasing an SSD device then you should have a read at the information contained HERE. It makes for very interesting reading!
There would also appear to be a number of changes that should/could be done for temp files, swap files and the likes, but I intend to approach the installation as simply as I can. Take unit from box, throw it into the main PC and do a fresh installation of Windows 7 Professional to see how long it takes. Once I have done that, I will then take my working Windows 7 drive and clone this onto the SSD drive and see what the real world usage will be like. This should be really interesting as the PC system here really will get a hammering very quickly! Once I grow tired of this side, I shall then replace the internal hard drive of the Samsung NC20 netbook with the SSD device and see if my other half can feel any difference in it… all without her being told of course… hidden observation shall be the key element here!
So…. it’s Sunday morning and I have the rest of the week to wait until the SSD drive arrives, so watch this space for a full review on the product, a YouTube unboxing video and various Twitter announcements on the good and the bad as they happen!