Friday, March 1, 2013

SSD's - A SOLID choice for laptop owners!

Computer performance is always of the utmost importance when you are dealing with handling and processing large amounts of data as is the case with digital imagery and video.
Most of the talk, justifiably, focuses on processor speed, video cards and RAM but, one of the newest things to consider when looking at this equation is the hard drive itself. Traditional hard drives are typically the biggest bottlenecking issue in that equation. It’s really amazing to me that it has escaped being under microscope for this long!

With this relatively new option of a Solid State Drive, we now have very powerful element to add to our systems.

As in any new technology, we find out fast when there is an issue, as is the case with SSD’s. The newer versions are starting to show more and more that they will become a bigger and bigger part of out system considerations and will only improve. Think about it…the traditional hard drive has been around since the 1950’s and drive capcity has been it’s biggest marked improvement. Smaller capacity, higher RPM drives showed some improvements in speed but physics shows us that these are even more prone to issues as was the case here with one of my Velociraptor 10,000 RPM drives. (I was truly bitten by a Raptor!)

Your standard SSD drives will more than double the read/write performance of these “elite” HDD drives ranging well into the 500 MB/s range

SSD’s, though more expensive per Gig (at least for now), offer a big performance boost and A LOT of ruggedness and durability which is HUGE for any on-the-go laptop owner.

Ever bump your Laptop or have a small spill and sweat those first few moments when you try and power it up? “Oh please God…please please please!…” With an SSD, you will more than likely break everything around it before you damage the drive itself. The spinning disks and moving reader arm in a traditional hard drive are VERY prone to shock …even more so when running.

That all said, HDD or SSD, a good back-up routine is always the best means of protecting your data. That plan should always include redundant data storage and OS drive imaging.

So here is some preliminary differences I saw with just changing our the hard drive…

System Specs:
ASUS G73SW-XT1 Laptop Computer
Intel Core i7-2630QM 2.0GHz
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Initial Hard Drives:
Segate Momentus 7200RPM 500GB HDD

New Hard Drive:
OCZ Solid 3, Solid State 480 Gb Drive

So right off the bat it cut cold boot times a least in half. I can now fully boot-up, sign in and get into an Adobe Lightroom Catalog, ready to work, in about 35 seconds

Adobe Lightroom preformance comparsions:
Importing from Same drive to Cat file (adding at existing location):
17.8 GB (19,202,928,640 bytes) 1307 RAW files
                                                                    SSD          HDD   
Time from start to Render                             00:29.0      01:21.0
Time from Start to end of 1:1 Render            18:32.0      20:17

Importing from USB 3 Card Reader with SanDisk Ultra 8Gb Card
(441 RAW files) 5.90 GB (6,337,811,06 bytes)                                  
                                                                      SSD            HDD   
Time from start to Render                               03:12.0        03:27.0
Time from Start to end of 1:1 Render              09:08.0        09:57.0

Some Pros and cons...
Faster boot times
Faster program launches
Faster performance overall
More durability (perfect for laptops!)
Easier to recover data

Smaller drive sizes
Cost per Gig
Newer technology

So in closing, though it may not be the right time for me (money and capacity considered anyway) to swap out my desktop drives. Keep in mind that I use my laptop to take work on the go. Our “Mobile Command” as we like to call it. The desktop and network at the home office is still the mother ship.

The SSD drives offer a hands down GREAT choice for a laptop user that boost performance and take the anxiety out of moving around with all that data.

A good read on the topic that doesn’t get too over the top technical…
Tech Work
Funny Video posted in the above article (also shows how rugged these are too)...

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