Just a follow-up from my post last week about SSD’s… Since then, I was talking with co-worker Doug and he introduced me to the idea of these “hybrid” SSD drives. That is the concept of a conventional platter hard drive, with several GB of RAM on them to store commonly-used files.
These hybrid drives work by “learning” what you normally use and optimizes the on-disk cache. So presumably, the longer you use the drive, the more it optimizes the performance specifically for you. Keeping that in mind, below are my numbers after having the drive for around 24 hours, but I’ve been using and rebooting the machine constantly, which I’m thinking accelerated the process(?). These numbers could presumably get better over time too.
Anyhow, I researched this a bit and ended up picking up a Seagate Momentus XT for $99 at Amazon. As I may have mentioned, I put my old Sony Vaio on ebay, and replaced it with an HP DV6 (which I REALLY like by the way!). The DV6 isn’t quite as powerful, but it’s got better features like a fingerprint reader and a SWITCHABLE keyboard backlit – as opposed to the “automatic’ one that the Vaio has, which is just horrible.
So, I put this hybrid Momentus XT drive in this HP laptop to see what kind of difference it made. I took some before and after information. First, here is a snapshot of the Windows Experience Index between the systems:
|HP (Hybrid SSD)||6.9||5.9||6.7||6.7||5.9|
So right off the bat, you might think “Seder, you just got ripped off, pal!” – but wait, that’s not the whole picture, not even a little bit. The hybrid drive isn’t technically a faster drive, it’s just a regular SATA 7200 RPM drive, but it’s optimized and “learns” what you use, and makes it “feel” faster by putting data in the local cache (in this case, 4GB of cache). But don’t worry, it’s not subtle – this technology actually made a huge difference!
Here is a quick look at the numbers:
|7200 on Vaio||SSD on Vaio||7200 on HP||Hybrid on HP|
|From power-on to Win7 login screen||~41 seconds||~15 seconds||~57 seconds||~28 seconds|
|From login to responsive desktop||~37 seconds||~2 seconds||~16 seconds||~7 seconds|
So this means that my laptop boots up and acts just about 2x as fast as with the conventional 7200 RPM drive. And if you like graphs:
So as you can see – this hybrid drive is a pretty great happy medium! It has the low price of a conventional disk drive, and about 2x better performance. This drive makes the system “feel” very, very snappy, just like an SSD too. Granted, it’s not as blindingly fast as an SSD, but it is noticeably faster than a conventional disk drive.
Bottom line though, if you want at least SOME of the speed of an SSD but don’t like the high prices, this Hybrid SSD alternative seems to be very effective!