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Can Bargain SSDs Give Windows A Quantum Performance Leap?


Well, I don’t know about you, but I know what I’m doing on New Year’s Day: plugging a new SSD boot drive into my molasses-slow system. The thing I don’t know yet is which one. See, my current C: volume is comprised of little more than Windows 7 and a raft of application. All data goes on a different drive. Yet my C: image currently sits at just shy of 200GB. There’s no way I could recreate my current image on a top-end SSD for under $500, especially not with leaving room for growth and that 20% capacity margin for write performance.

If you’re in the same boat, we have some soul searching to do. Chances are you’re not going to get all of your apps into your boot drive. Instead, you’ll need to prioritize apps based on frequency of use and load demand. If you use something like MS Office constantly, that probably belongs on the SSD. Ditto for iTunes or your other everyday media apps.

But I’ve got secondary photo editing apps, dictation software, stock chart garbage, rarely visited ripping tools, and on and on that could probably be relegated to a secondary hard drive. No doubt, you have a similar situation.

Also consider which apps are more write-intensive. If you’re on a budget but still want to, say, do a lot of video editing or encoding, then something like the VelociRaptor may make more sense than a low-end SSD, particularly after figuring in capacities. Yet if it’s boot times and application loads you’re after and funds are low, it’s a no-brainer: buy the entry-level SSD. If funds aren’t low, don’t pass Go and proceed straight to the Intel G2.

Given these findings, I can’t imagine ever again having a hard disk-based boot drive. With prices now affordable and even the lowest-performing drives trouncing HDDs in the functions many people value so highly, it’s hard to visualize anything besides a dual-drive hybrid approach going forward.