SSDs were all the hype last year, then the “bubble” popped when tests performed on the Macbook Air showed that the SSD drive did little more than add $1,500 to the computer’s final price. No performance increase, no battery life increase – two of the promises (among others) that SSD buyers were expecting from this technology.
When they were announced, the Intel Solid State Drive (SSD) seemed fast enough to justify a field test, so we installed a 80GB Intel X25-M SSD into a 2 years old Sony Vaio SZ laptop to see what would happen. Why such an old laptop? Because we think that the perceived unresponsiveness observed by many users is caused by the lack of disk performance. Disk accesses are the main reason why many simple computer tasks (boot, shutdown, applications loading, thumbnails generation…) feel so slow. We hoped that adding this drive alone with give a “boost” to the aging laptop.
So what are the results? It worked! Thanks to the SSD awesome performance, the laptop responds quickly. The Intel X25 80GB makes SSDs cool again and proves that hard drive performance can be more important than processing power.
Our old laptop is now almost as responsive as a nearby new desktop PC equipped with a Western Digital Velociraptor 10k rpm drive (300GB). The Vaio SZ’s PCMark 05 HDD score went from 2996 to 18817! As a reference, the desktop PC and its Raptor 10k rpm drive gets a score of 8298… Unfortunately, a benchmark is a benchmark and real-life performance is sometimes different from synthetic measurements, so we’ll try to tell you how the user experience is affected by this Intel X25-M SSD.