updated 12:10 pm EDT, Wed April 30, 2008
CW: SSD drives overrated
People contemplating SSD versions of computers like the MacBook Air -- which costs approximately $1,300 more than the HDD edition -- may not find the performance difference worthwhile, writes Computerworld. The magazine has conducted a test of 32GB SSDs by Crucial and Ridata, in comparison to two 7200rpm hard drives by Seagate. All four drives used cloned copies of Vista Home Premium, and were benchmarked by software called HD Tach.
The publication notes that despite the reputation of flash memory as being quick to load, the best burst speeds were achieved by Seagate's 2.5-inch Momentus drive, which achieved 214.3MBs; by comparison, Crucial's SSD was second-fastest at 137.3MBs, and the Ridata drive registered only 71.2MBs. In terms of average speeds the Ridata model was also only par with the Seagate offerings at 54-55MBs, but the Crucial drive did reach 120.7MBs.
Other unexpected figures in the test include copy times, which for the same files took 243 and 264.5 seconds for Crucial and Ridata, whereas the HDDs were nearly a minute faster at 185 seconds. In terms of cold boots the Crucial drive measured a slow 78.4 seconds, versus 59.9 and 55.6 for the Seagates. The Ridata disk compensated for some otherwise slow speeds by booting in only 54.8 seconds.
The test concludes that while SSD drives may be more reliable, and consume less power, they have "yet to live up to their true potential" in light of price-to-performance value.