This is a continuation of my previous post regarding my experiences with the 256GB SSD drive my Dell laptop entitled “Are Solid State Drives Worth the Money?”. The installation was easy enought, now we get to the business of making it perform.
Optimizing the Drive
Without getting into too much gory details, the basic premise in optimizing a SSD is that you do NOT want to have unnecessary disk operations. Since reads are so fast and instantaneous almost anywhere on the disk, things like file fragmentation do not matter. So you start to tweak anything that writes to the disk. Here’s a quick list of things to look at when using XP.
- Turn off automatic disk defrag.
- Eliminate the pagefile operations.
- Set up a RAM Disk for temp files.
The last tip works no matter what drive you are using. If you have lots of memory (3-4G) I would recommend that you set this up anyway.
So I ran an harddisk performance testing tool, first against my 7,200rpm 250GB laptop drive and got this graph.
This would become our baseline for the comparison. After installing the 256GB SSD I ran the exact same test and got these results.
So taking a closer look, there’s not a humongous difference in the two. In fact the SSD writes small files a little faster (.641 secs compared to 1.063 seconds) and file delete and directory lookup speeds are faster by a good margin. Upon close inspection, I am surprised that a lot of other items are not that different! In fact, the large file write speed is worse!
We could go on doing a big analysis on all these numbers, but in the end I wasn’t ecstatic. Coupled with the fact that my battery life actually dropped by 30 minutes (SSD is always on whereas mechanical drive can spin down and other power saving tricks), this wasn’t turning out to be worth the 6X investment. You see, you can get a 250GB mechanical drive for $100, but this 256GB SSD was close to $600 used on eBay!
Perhaps I need to try another brand of SSD. I hear good things about the Samsung, but it costs $800. I’ll wait until they drop down in to the $600 range and perhaps I’ll try again. For now, I’ll have to live with the sounds of a mechanical drive. The best thing about the SSD? It was silent and I love my quiet office.