Sunday, November 15, 2009

Solid State Disks: An important improvement for a computer system

I have just replaced the original Seagate Momentus 7200.2 320 GB of a Dell Studio XPS 1340 laptop with a Kingston SNV 225-S2/128GB from the SSDNow V+ Series.

The new SSD disk allowed me to install Windows 7 64-bit in 15 minutes. This time includes the accumulated time spent in the final installation screen of the Windows 7 Install CD (from the "Copying Windows files" step to the "Installing updates" step, which was 10 minutes and 05 seconds), in the "Completing install" (3 minutes) and the final "Preparing computer for first use" (which took less than one minute). The total accumulated time also includes two computer reboots needed in the process: unluckily, the BIOS is quite slow in the boot process so each reboot takes about 30 seconds, withouth the disk being the one to blame.

Some other interesting times:
  • Visual Studio 2008 Professional ISO (3,47 GB) copied from a USB external disk: 4m34s
  • Complete installation process of VS 2008 Pro: 9m47s
  • Complete installation process of VS 2008 Pro: 14m48
It is important to note some things about those times: I included the time to copy the ISO from a USB 2.0 external disk to the SSD in order to note how significant the copy from a external device is related to the actual installation process; and it is also important to take into account that the MSDN install process takes a lot of CPU as file processing by the processor is done in a heavy way (so disk is not the bottleneck).

I also copied an ISO file of Office 2007 Professional (571 MB) from the USB 2.0 external disk in 25 seconds and the install process was performed in 3m22 seconds.

Someday I will review these times by comapring them to the times caused by using the original eSATA hard disk. Ah, all those tasks were made before I installed nVIDIA chipset drivers so times might be even slightly better (my fault! O:-) )

The tests strengthen my idea that it is very important to spend less money on the best CPU or memory chips when the operating system is accessing files or swap space more than often.

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