After reading (and admittedly drooling) over the anecdotal performance increases of solid state drives vs. traditional hard drives for the last year or so, I finally took the plunge and purchased one with my holiday cash. I’ve got to say that I’m truly impressed with the increases, and have some real world numbers of my own to back it up.
To say the numbers are night and day difference would be an understatement of epic proportions. Just the “feel” of my computer now is amazingly faster. From the time I press power to fully into Windows 7 is about 35 seconds. Photoshop loads almost immediately. I’ve not seen a drastic improvement in my game load times (possibly because the worst part of my level changes are always re-negotiating with the server, something I can’t control). I chose to do a fresh install of Windows and my programs rather than do a drive image, and the whole process took at least an hour less to perform. Windows 7 installed in roughly 15 minutes!
If you do decide to make the leap to an SSD, do your homework. There are various tweaks you need to make to Windows 7 in order to make sure that you get the most out of your drive and extend its life. Also check into the reliability of the controller software. While it’s true that drives with the SandForce controller sets are some of the fastest on the market, they have a fairly high failure rate (10-15% based on non-scientific reviews from NewEgg). I bought the Samsung SSD – which seems to be from observation, the most reliable at the present time. Time will tell though, as this drive doesn’t have quite the age that some of the SandForce-based drives (like the OCZ Vertex and Agility have).
I’m now debating replacing the hard drive in my laptop with an SSD (albeit a smaller one, since I don’t have 15gb of games on my laptop). I wonder what sort of increase in performance I’d see from my HTPC with an Atom processor with one of these babies.