Install A Solid State Drive In Your Notebook

A Quick Comparison of SSD and HDD Performance

Even though it’s not the major purpose of this article, we can’t resist giving you an idea of the SSD’s performance.

Test configuration

The test configuration consisted of a 15" MacBook Pro (June 2007).

  • Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz CPU (4 MB L2 cache, 800 MHz bus)
  • 4 GB DDR2-667
  • nVidia GeForce 8600M GT 128 MB graphics card

Obviously the storage medium is different – a Fujitsu hard drive (2.5 inches, 160 GB, 5,400 rpm) for the hard-disk version and an Mtron SSD (2.5 inches, 32 GB) in the second case.


ssd portable

The MacBook Pro with an SSD was significantly faster than the hard-disk version and a little faster than the MacBook Air and its SSD.

Photoshop CS3

ssd portable

portable ssd

Launching Adobe Photoshop CS3 was incomparably faster on the SSD version. The loading time was divided by a factor of three. Opening a 500-MB image (TIFF format) was also significantly faster, though the difference wasn’t as great. Note that the MacBook Pro was a little faster than the MacBook Air, even though the memory and processor play a role.

Microsoft Word 2008

ssd portable

Launching Microsoft Word 2008, which is a very slow application, really got a boost from an SSD. The loading time was divided by three. But even with an SSD, Word 2008 still launches very slowly (especially compared to the Windows version).

File Decompression

ssd portable

For the last test, we tried decompressing an archive (.rar) containing a few large files (around 500 MB) and a large number of small files (less than 1 MB). With this specific test, we wanted to show up one of the weak points of SSDs – writing small files. The SSD in the MacBook Air, which is only average where raw speed is concerned, was a lot slower than the Mtron with the MacBook Pro. Even with this test, deliberately designed to challenge an SSD, the Mtron was faster than the hard disk.

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  • Anonymous
    Is there something about that lenovo adapter that's special to lenovo laptops? Is it not a standard ata adapter with a standard form factor?
  • nukemaster
    Good article.
  • FHDelux
    I dont usually leave comments, but this article has no point. Anyone interested in an SSD, knows how fast it is and how to put one in a laptop. Also, why all of the sudden is this site being mucked up with rediculous MAC stuff. I could care less how fast a MAC boots up, its useless anyway. I come here to read about real computers, not, ooooo its pretty i wanna buy it cause it has a catchy theme song on the commercial computers.
  • nukemaster
    What ever boost they got on there mac. You would get on your pc as well..

    Hell my photo shop still opens faster(within a second of the SSD times). But Quad + Raid will do that.

    What machine they use does not matter much. I do agree they may as well of just slapped it into one of there windows notebooks first since its not too hard to do and then they could get some benches for that, but the speed boosts should be about the same on either OS.

    Any day they gut hardware for upgrades(Even if its a mac) is fine with me
  • palach
    I think it's more interesting to show what is the battery time gain by installing the SSD compared to the normal HDD in this or other laptops, since most people will take the laptop to a certified technical support if they want to install a new HDD or SSD.
  • TeaCup
    In response to FHDelux, I used to be annoyed by everything Apple/Macintosh, until I actually got to use one. Strangely enough; my Macbook Pro is literally the most stable and capable WINDOWS system I've ever owned. I run Windows XP only, and everything works flawlessly. It's practically silent, and has better battery life than any other laptop I've owned. So you're a bit behind the times bashing the apple system they used. Great article btw.
  • laxmidd50
    I think most people who know what a SSD is are capable of installing one themselves.
  • boogman
    What's with all this "ATA drives not compatible"???

    SATA is ATA.

    PATA is also ATA.

  • bobloadmire
    i find it funny that my Vista desktop launches word and photoshop froma cold bott in about half the time the SSD mac pro does.But yeah ssd's FTW
  • bobloadmire
    i find it funny that my Vista desktop launches word and photoshop from a cold boot in about half the time the SSD mac pro does. But yeah ssd's FTW
  • nukemaster
    Readyboost on?

    My XP is about the same as the SSD(and like a second or 2 on a second open). but i can see vistas Ready boost pushing those hard.
  • cisco
    I agree, Mac makes up less than 5% of the market, who cares. Until they allow me to build my own system and run the Mac OS on it (legitimately), I don't care. I refuse to pay their adsorbent prices for what is essentially a mid range PC.
    However, I can't wait for SSD technology to get more affordable. I think this type of hard drive will make laptop seem considerably faster and use less power, lower heat, etc...
  • Pei-chen
    TeaCup, have you ever tries to compare an equally new/spec. ThinkPad with your Mac? If you are comparing a new Mac with a three years old notebook, that's not much of a comparison.
  • robojocks
    i installed TRANSCEND 2.5" IDE 32GB SSD SOLID STATE HARD DRIVE in my tc4200 laptop and its useless. it took 2 days for it to write all the stuff on it. I'll say computer opens the windows explorer ( To view the drives) very fast, But thats it. Its so slow that the computer stops what is is doing . I can move the mouse pointer around but thats it. I cant do anything else while the computer is writing to the swap file or what it is doing. My 5400rpm laptop drive was faster writing then it.

    I have 1gb of ram
    Pentium M 1.7 ghz processor on it
    And SSD from hell.
  • nukemaster
    thats kind of sounds like DMA is off, go check.
  • st430
    why do you need a tray and take out CD rom drive?
    unless you need 2 drives.
    all you have to do is to connect a USD drive, run a harddrive clone software and dump the disc image to the USD drive...
    then just open up 2 screws in your laptop (like those in dell)
    and take our your old harddrive and swap in a SSD drive.
    Boot up the computer with a DVD boot disk make by the clone disk software, then connect the USb drive and run the disc re-covery to load the image back to the new SSD drive...
    done...everything is there just like need to re-install any software or O/S...
    of course now that your 160G/200G harddrive is gone... you have to live with a 32G drive that is 10 times more expensive just to save a few minutes of run time over the 3 hrs that your battery can run...and may be your battery can run just a few minutes longer because of the SSD...
    worth it? not really.
  • ilovehomes
  • skypecakes
    st430, you missed the whole point of the article! Extra battery life is a minor perk of putting an SSD in your laptop. The main benefits are shock tolerance and READ PERFORMANCE. That's what you're paying for if you're in the market to buy an SSD.

    SSDs are faster at reading data than HDDs. Thus they make booting and starting apps lightning quick. They are slower at writing data, which is why the 2nd drive is needed to avoid a performance hit when writing. Surprisingly, according to the test in this article, write performance with the faster SSD was better than the laptop's HDD!

    Note that not all SSDs are equal. There are slow SSDs and fast ones. Keep that in mind if you read one of the articles out there that says "SSDs are supposed to be fast, but I tested X brand SSD and it was slower than my hard drive." If you want performance from an SSD, you have to buy it, preferably from a company that sells both "general" SSDs and performance SSDs. BitMicro, the company that made the SSD(s?, only one is mentioned) for this article is one such company; another is Super Talent.
  • wankten
    to fhDuhLux...the person with the comments about the mac...
    I use windows 99% of the time. I make a living on windows because people need more help with windows than mac users need with their macs. Macs are far superior from an engineering level, software level, and all around human ergo design.
    Besides, nukemaster commented correctly... the same ideas can apply to your windows machine.
    It is extraordinarily easy to tell the novices from the experts just by hearing them speak (or write, in your case)...
    what does "F...H..." stand for anyway? Nevermind, I already guessed.
  • swankenstein
    wankten. I wouldn't be criticizing other posters names for a start.

    Secondly, you make a living on windows because everybody and their dog uses it. It is extraordinarily easy to spot morons that think they can gauge the sophistication of a brand by how many people are using it.