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Solid State Drives vs. Hard Disk Drives

Laptops with Solid State Drives (SSD) A Good idea?OCZ OCZSSD2-1C128G 128gb 2.5 SATA2 solid state disk SSD

No doubt many of our current M-Tech shoppers have heard of this new wave in storage, SSD (Solid State Drive). Not a day goes by that someone doesn't inquire about how SSD in a laptop computer can change their life. Rumors of blinding speed, near zero battery drain and low temperature make this sound as if it would be the ideal candidate for your next laptop computer. After all, you can have the fastest CPU, the most potent GPU and tons of RAM, yet in the end your overall performance it limited by the computers hard disk drive (HDD). So it stands to reason that in reality your laptop cannot be any faster than the slowest component on it..the HDD. No wonder everybody is excited about the prospect of speeding up the slowest part of their laptop. If you can double the speed of your drives I/O you can double the speed o your laptop.

There is no question, SSD is the wave of the future, current history has shown us the solid state devices are faster, smaller and less energy hungry. that is why your MP3 player, Cell Phone, PDA printer etc.. all use not just solid state parts but also use SSD. SSD's have been around for a few years now and price of the smaller capacity ones have dropped enough that many devices are using them with huge success. How about your next M-Tech Laptop? Should you go with a SSD In your laptop and drop the legacy HDD just now?

It has been a long time since we here at M-Tech have had a question that has so many dynamics to the answer. If ever there was a time to say the answer was "no doubt about it, a definite perhaps maybe...) this would be that time. Lets put it this way. SSD is lighter, has less battery draw ,generates less heat and quicker access time. All good stuff, however the overall real transfer rate is a fraction of what a good SATA II HDD is.

*Time marches on and so does the positive reasons to buy a SSD. Since the original article was penned, SSD bandwidths has increased to the point that is is equal or better than any HDD on the market, So keep that in mind if you run across any advice in this article that seems to indicate SSD's have slower than normal transfer rates, it is just not so any longer... Woo Hoo! So, much of the remaining article should be viewed not as "should I get a SSD?" but rather, "If I get a HDD will it hurt me that much?" When we discuss seek times vs. transfer rates now, think about, "Is this as big a benefit to me considering my budget?" Then you can still use this article to help you decide if the cost to enhance your M-Tech laptop to a SSD is worth it FOR YOU. *Addendum added 11/11/13

So, we just wiped out 75% of this page because that is how much things have changed in the SSD department. I wont try to give you a definitive article on SSD's, suffice to say there are some very good articles out there that does that already. Lets just say that there is no real conflict any longer, if you choose a Solid State Drive, you are going to be happy. They have seek times that can be up to 100 times quicker and transfer rates that equal if not surpass any hard disk drives.

As Always, quality counts

Keep in mind that just as with computer and other components, not everything is created equal. It is entirely possible to ;place a SSD into your computer and be disappointed. You need to make sure that your Solid State Drive is of the highest quality. Of course if you buy a M-Tech laptop or Desktop you wont have that concern. We monitor drives for quality and add and remove drives based on performance and return rates. So, whatever you do thru M-Tech will be assured that you will be happy. Currently M-Tech finds the Intel SSDs are great and with a five year data life on most of the Intel drives you not only get extra speed but data stability as well. Samsung is our second favorite M-Tech Laptops drive, it is fast and stable. Choose the Intel for systems where you have less than 16GB of system RAM, the reason being that the more RAM the less page files are being written to the SSD behind the scenes. You want more RAM because this lessens the impact the system always writing to your drive creates. SSDs will deteriorate based on how many writes you do to it. So more RAM means less virtual memory writes and less page file writes. Yet another great reason to max your RAM. So, more than 16GB go with any high quality SSD, less than 16GB then you should consider spending the extra money for the Intel 530 series drive. Your going to use that drive more and you don't want the data integrity deteriorating prematurely because of the extra page file writes. Of course, you don't have to worry about understanding any of this of you are currently on the market for a new M-Tech, we will make sure the correct combination of drive and memory.

Regardless of your RAM choices to couple with your SSD, you can be sure once you try a SSD in your next computer, things will change for you and going back to a mechanical drive will seem like stepping back into the dark ages. Sure, you will still use them storage, but trying to run powerful programs from a hard disk drive will be something you just cannot bring yourself to do. Now is the time, Solid State price have never been lower and performance has never been higher.

Summed up, we love SDD and wish they were larger and cheaper. They are so small and expensive it makes their enormous benefit hard to justify.

SSD vs. HDD Click for a larger image

Battery time with SSD vs. HDD

The battery starts the test at a complete 100% charge and is run uninterrupted until the screen goes black. The time is recorded in minutes.

several tests were run using the settings for Performance, Balanced, and Power Saver. They scaled, as you would expect, included are only the representative results here. To be a valid comparison the settings for the hardware and Operating system on the two drives had to be identical. To guarantee that the drives were exactly the same Acronis True Image Home was used to clone the OS setup to the drives. This removes any chance of settings variations affecting the outcome. *Please note: the comparison being made is between drives on a given system and not between systems or settings

These results show that SSDs do not dramatically increase battery life. Certainly not enough when considering the costs. Since this was written, costs have dropped and battery life is even better with a SSD. Really, who cares, the SSD will rock your computers performance and the extra battery life is a freebie. Don't try to calculate its value


Solid State Drive Temperature comparisons.

Drive Temps

Drive TypeIdleLoad
Std. 7200 rpm 85F95 F
Laptop 5400 rpm 81F86F
SSD Solid State 79F 79F

The 7 degree difference between 5400 rpm laptop drives and SSD drives during load is nice, but the hard drive is not the component causing the majority of heat coming from your laptop. Most of the heat is coming from the processor and memory. The switch to SSD made no measurable difference in the peak temperatures coming from under the laptop.

So what Solid State Drives does M-tech carry and thus recommended. Keep in mind this list may well change, quality can come and go with manufactures. At one time Micron/Crucial was on out list, now it is only sold as a MSATA SSD not as a actual SSD drive. We saw things we did not like and even though it was cheap and popular if it doesn't make out laptops be the best, its going bye bye. So to know what is currently the best of the best, you should actually visit a configuration page of an M-Tech laptop.If it is listed there then we are getting great results and very little defects or complaints.

So as of 03/20/2014 our short list of approved drives are

Intel 730 Series

Samsung 840 EVO Series

Samsung Pro EVO series

Do SSD's have any shortcomings, sure enough. All your speed and efficiency will go down the drain as soon as the drive gets close to 50% full capacity. A great way to prevent your drive from eventually filling up with your user data is to change the location of the library. Here is a link that will show you how to change its location from a the C: Drive to your secondary  (Oh Yeah, this really only works if you have a secondary hard disk drive on your computer.)

Change User Library Location



Article written by G. Michrina (Some charts were borrowed from