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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  • kmmatney - Friday, August 17, 2007 - link

    I'd like to see these same tests on a drive after a few months of use, and lots of file fragmentation. it looks like all the Hybrid drives really improve is windows standby time - actual application performance seemed a bit porr for the hybrid drive. Reply
  • brundlefly - Sunday, August 19, 2007 - link

    File fragmentation is less of an issue on the hybrid then a mechanical.
    It has no impact on access time, however if you are massively fragmented sequential read time will suffer - but again its much worse on the mechanical.

    Again this needs to be drilled in - assuming a hybrid hard drive of the mtron's specs or better, there is no advantage to a mechanical hard drive except price and storage size.

    Now that we have the mtron, the performance gap is only going to get bigger, the storage sizes larger, and the prices lower.
    Reply
  • puffpio - Friday, August 17, 2007 - link

    I'm eagerly looking forward to a full notebook tests (the most important being its effect on battery life) Reply
  • legoman666 - Friday, August 17, 2007 - link

    Indeed, so am I. It will be interesting to see how it effects battery life while idle and also when it's doing stuff. Reply
  • Spoelie - Sunday, August 19, 2007 - link

    In idle the difference is half a watt.. That's within normal variance of electronic components.

    Unless you will be using the hard disk very intensively for the entire battery charge (in which the HDD will consume an entire 2 watts more..) you won't notice any difference in battery life.
    Reply

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