First I ran the Xbench program to performance test the same machine with several different hard drives. My first baseline test was using the Seagate standard mechanical 7200RPM hard drive. My computer overall score was 132.88 and when I first installed the new drive performance dropped slightly to 130.00. After a week of running the hybrid it stored slightly higher at 133.13. I was never able to tell a difference in performance in the real world between the hybrid and regular mechanical drive.
|Drive Type||Xbench Score|
|Hybrid Day 1||130.00|
|Haybrid One week||133.13|
|OCZ with TRIM||226.35|
To balance my need for storage and with the need for speed I went with a dual drive configuration in my laptop. I got an Optibay to put the 500 GB mechanical drive in and put the SSD in the primary bay. The optical drive was removed and put in an external enclosure with a USB interface. Frankly I almost never use the DVD drive anymore so swapping it out for some extra storage was an easy decision. Now my laptop is rocking 750GB of storage. I keep the Music, Pictures, and Movies on the larger mechanical drive and the OS, documents, and all the files I need fast access to on the SSD drive giving me the best of both worlds.
The prices are still high and capacities are still limited to 480GB but the prices are falling rapidly and with some management of media SSD’s are ready for the mass market. Other World Computing a couple of weeks ago announced their Electra 6G line of SSD drives. These are the first SATA III drives with 500MB per second transfer speeds and for the first time a 500 GB drive under $1000.00.
Pricing is still a little high but if you need the speed and have it in the budget it is a worth while upgrade. I predict in the next year prices will drop to point where SSD drives become a very reasonable must have upgrade. They certainly make a massive performance difference on any computer. There may be additional benefits when OS X Lion ships later this month since the OS is being optimized for SSD drives.
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