Category Archives: SSD
If you read a previous post, “DOES SIZE REALLY MATTER?” you will know that I took out the inbuilt hard drive in my MacBook Pro and replaced it with a 64GB SSD drive.
I decided to do this as a test to see if size really matters, and after a bit of time (23/10/2011 is when I installed it) I have to say that I still have around 30GB of space available, and that’s after me installing my apps and using the MBP daily for all the stuff I need to do. I don’t store a lot of music, nor do I do much video work on the MBP, so that would account for there being plenty of space available, but it does show that while it’s alway since to have huge drive capacity to store things, that does lead to sloppy data storage as well as holding onto a lot of junk.
Speed wise, I have to say that YES the system felt faster loading up, but after that I’d not have a clue if I had a hard drive in it or an SSD…. Why do I say this? Well I have now inserted the hard drive back into the MBP and am now testing the SSD on my PlayStation 3 here to see what different that makes!!!
So once again, the smaller devices can be used pretty well if you are watching your budget, and just ignore anyone who moans at you for not buying a size that they have bought… trust me, enjoy what you can afford and ignore everyone else!
IS A 64GB SSD – TOO SMALL?
To evaluate SSD technology, I bought a Crucial 64GB drive a while back (video here) and have been using it on the main Windows 7 PC here ever since.
I consume and store a lot of data, so you would think that this device would have been too small for any serious use? Not really, if you decide to manage exactly what the drive is being used for, and for me that was for speeding up the operating system, with my data stored on 2TB drives attached to the main system. It has worked fine, been very quick, and has in fact pushed me into being more thoughtful on what I do and where I store data, rather than just dumping it onto the desktop in a folder!
I have been tempted to get another SSD drive for use in my MacBook Pro, but once again, I don’t want to spend a lot of money… so I thought I would do a test to see if I could manage with the Crucial 64GB SSD inside the MBP, and see how long it would take before I encountered storage issues!
So, I removed the internal 320GB hard drive and replaced it with the Crucial 64GB SSD (video here) and proceeded to install Lion onto it via a DVD I had made earlier.
After, what seemed like an eternity, Lion finally installed and I than had to download all the new updates that recently came out for iCloud iTunes, iPhoto etc…
Yes, this actually felt like I was back to a Windows XP machine and having to wait ages for it to install and update fully!
Windows 7 systems are up and running in 20 minutes…. Well the one’s I have done and that’s a lot, so let’s say well done to Microsoft on this side of things!!!
So… after the installation of Lion, and all my applications have been installed, my email configured what am I left with to play with??? 36GB of space!
On my MBP I don’t store music, I don’t store much video or Photographs, that’s all handled by my I7 27″ iMac, so (in theory) I really should be ok with the amount of space I have left… but as I mentioned at the start of this post, this is a long-term evaluation, and I’ll update this post as time goes on, and that way you get a serious and useful evaluation on whether size really does matter at all, depending on your own storage needs.
So, when other people comment on your size (of data storage) don’t worry, as it’s all about how you use it, and that’s all that matters!
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!