Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Solid State Disk Drives

Affordable Solid State Disk Drives (SSD) are here!

Recently I had the opportunity to test one of the new Intel 320 SSD's. These drives come in a standard 2.5" notebook SATA 2 configuration - so for most modern Notebooks or Embedded PC's they drop right in.

The drive is very well protected, being housed completely in an aluminum shell, with no exposed electronics or PCB's at all. Extremely well done.

First I cloned a laptop drive to a Intel 160 GB / Model 320 SSD.

* That took about 2 hours of continuous running
* The drive was just slightly warn to the touch at the end,
probably 10 Degrees C cooler than my conventional disks,
so the SSD uses less average power too.

For speed testing I compared several operations against a 7200 RPM, 160 GB Conventional drive that was about 50% full. The SSD was cloned with exactly the same data, etc. The operating system is Windows XP Professional.

Speed comparisons (Minutes : Seconds),

Action ..................Disk........SSD.......Speed Ratio
=======================================================
Boot.....................2:34.......1:18..........0.5
Altium Designer........32.........18..........0.56
PhotoShop...............37..........8...........0.21
Open Office...............8..........3...........0.37
Firefox.......................9..........4...........0.44
VS2008...................45..........9...........0.2
116MB File Copy....15...........6...........0.4
Check Disk..............4:54......48..........0.16
Backup Disk............25:00....11:00......0.44

Quite a speed improvement over a conventional drive. The other big improvement is that I no longer have to worry about accidentally "Bobbling" the Notebook and crashing a head.

I have been using the Intel  320 daily for 5 months with no issues in my primary laptop.

These are just the thing for rugged or harsh mobile applications as they are drop in replacements for that standard 2.5 inch Notebook SATA drives.

Something to consider now that the cost is getting very reasonable and your PC will be much faster too.


Steve Hageman
AnalogHome.com