Quick Take

We can see now why a fast Solid State Drive should be on your preferred option list for a notebook, provided you can afford one at this time. Their overall performance is unequaled across a variety of applications and the notebook platform benefits the most from their lack of noise, low thermals, and absence of moving parts for those who are a bit heavy handed with their portables. In initial energy management testing we are finding the SSD drives to be power misers to a certain degree although not as good as we expected or advertised.

Of course, the primary drawback continues to be the cost for the faster SSD drives with prices ranging anywhere from $500 for the SanDisk 32GB to almost $1500 for the MTRON 32GB SSD based upon your location. We have already noticed prices for the MTRON unit under $1000 in the Asian market sector and hopefully those same prices will be available shortly in other markets.

We have not had a lot of test time with the latest Samsung MH80 HM16HJI 160GB Hybrid drive but our initials impressions are very favorable based upon the price to performance ratios. These Hybrid drives, when combined with Vista (another story for another time), make for a very good combination for the typical notebook user. The drives performance in most standard office and home applications has been excellent in early testing although it is not a drive designed for heavy write activities like video encoding or large file transfers.

In the end, we are starting to finally see some true technological improvements in the storage sector that will benefit the user. Hopefully, mass market acceptance of the "fast" SSD drives will occur quickly so prices decrease and the manufacturers continue to innovate with not only faster drives but ones with the capacity to match current mechanical drives. In the meantime, it appears the Hybrid drives at this stage in the game will be a decent compromise for the portable market, but only until the SSD drives increase capacity and decrease costs.

Operating System Performance


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  • fc1204 - Monday, August 20, 2007 - link

    well, the mtron uses a fpga as it's controller. they do what companies like adtron and stec (formerly simpletech) do to market ssd to clients- price is the concern after reliability and performance are satisfied.

    in the next year or two, you will start seeing asic controller-based ssd's. these will be more like the sandisk prices as opposed to the mtron prices.

    on a side note, for those asking raid 0 ssd's, i need to comment that it will be harder to implement this in a viable consumer application because the price is just a bit more than the benefits- power-consumption and mobile-ruggedness (people have 600+watt psu's and cases that don't bounce while in operation) and laptops are replacing desktops in homes.

    pqi has a ssd that is using raiding 2 cf controllers. we can always hope that anand gets more ssd's and crack them open.
  • DeepThought86 - Friday, August 17, 2007 - link

    C'mon, we're all waiting for the RAID 0 results with these things! Reply
  • Spoelie - Sunday, August 19, 2007 - link

    Actually a valid point, I'm wondering about possible problems in SSDs. Without the moving parts, reliability in RAID0 might make it more viable for desktop use.

    Are most of the defects predictable (i.e. this cell has been written to 1000 times and shouldn't be used anymore) and partly fixable (like having a table which designates broken cells, over time the capacity would go down then but no data lost, till it is replaced)?
  • Xenoterranos - Friday, August 17, 2007 - link

    The HDD Tach chart for the SSD made me lol. Just seeing a flat line on a HDD performance chart makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Reply
  • Spoelie - Sunday, August 19, 2007 - link

    I thought someone died :(
    The other lines look more heatbeaty :D
  • Slaimus - Friday, August 17, 2007 - link

    Who are they targetting with this insane price? Reply
  • brundlefly - Sunday, August 19, 2007 - link

    MTRON isnt even marketing this to consumers - its a product generally sold for military and industrial use where shock and heat tolerances are high.

    However, I ordered it for a database drive, and it is actually one of the cheapest and simplest ways to improve the performance of disk i/o bound large tables.
  • Spoelie - Sunday, August 19, 2007 - link

    If you read the previous article, you'd know, it's not meant for desktop use due to it's extremely rugged design;
    "The drive is marketed into the commercial, server, and industrial sectors with an emphasis placed on performance storage needs with a high degree of tolerance to environmental conditions."
    i.e. specialized systems in low volume markets, not commoditized desktop systems.

    Also, the other SSD's may be cheaper, but as also mentioned in the other article;
    "These specifications far exceed those of the latest SanDisk and Samsung consumer SSD products that are approaching 67MB/sec read speeds and 45MB/sec write speeds"
    You always pay a price for performance.

    In conclusion, these articles are more of a future outlook on storage technology, not really about something regular joe will buy in a mom 'n pop store.
  • AnnihilatorX - Saturday, August 18, 2007 - link

    I agree. SanDisk's 32GB is just $500 Reply
  • Axbattler - Friday, August 17, 2007 - link

    What is the cost of the Seagate and Samsung? It doesn't look like the inclusion of a relatively large Flash buffer is able to fully compensate for the slower rotational speed at all time. But it does edge the Seagate in a few instance leading me to think that if the cost premium is not too high, it is not unthinkable for traditional HD to 'evolve' into hybrids in next couple of years. A hybrid version of a Raptor should be quite interesting.

    SSD is looking very good here, but even with significant price decrease each year, I do not see those become 'mainstream' for quite some time. Increasingly affordable for the enthusiasts (desktop), and flagship/customised high end laptop sure. But we are not going to see those in every HP/Dell desktop (or even laptop) for quite some time IMO. Then again, have other HD manufacturers (WD, Hitachi, Seagate) announced their own plans for hybrids?

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