Addicted to SSDs

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It’s been nine months since I installed an Intel solid state drive (SSD) into my home desktop PC. And recently, I decided to install an OCZ SSD into a laptop too, not because I was curious, but because I’m really addicted to its blazing speeds. And boy, the laptop feels like a supercomputer now, because it just boots up fast, loads software fast, and shuts down fast.

You hear that? Fast Fast FAST.

I chronicled in a previous post exactly how fast:

  • It takes 35 seconds from the time I power up the computer (and the motherboard and graphic card has to slowly wake up here!) to a fully usable Windows 7 desktop with Windows LIVE Messenger and Security Essentials all loaded.
  • Photoshop CS4 takes an average of 3 seconds to launch. It used to take about 8 seconds. And the previously lumbering Adobe Bridge (which I use to manage my high-res photos) loads in 2 seconds flat.
  • Websites load ridiculously fast. Most people don’t realize that today’s Internet webpages require fast processors and hard drives, thanks to all the dynamic content. But loading any webpage with my 100Mbps Starhub connection is near instantaneous now.
  • According to Win 7’s Experience Index, my SSD is now rated at 7.5 (7.9 being the highest possible), while my Seagate HDDs were rated at 5.9. Windows 7 was designed with SSDs in mind too. Now, the bottleneck in my PC is the two-year-old Nvidia 5900 graphics card.

It’s also led me to think about how so many people have seem to have forgotten there’s something called Performance Computing. When people hit the IT Fairs like Comex these days, I don’t think they’re looking for a powerful PC.

They’re just looking for a “good-enough” PC. Something cheap that gets the job done.

That’s a tragedy, because that mindset assumes that any PC can drive productivity. Not so if you’re in my kind of job role, where every day is a mad rush to complete deadlines and fight fires. The last thing you want to do is to wait for your computer to slowly load programs when the world is about to end.

I mean, for years, people put up with slow handphones. And then in recent years, as competition heated up and phone makers finally put 1GHz processors into smartphones, did people realize how much crap they’ve had to put up with previously.

That’s my point – you don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve tried it. And once you’ve tried SSDs, you’d hate using a normal hard disk. I mean, HDDs now seems slow like molasses.

Yes yes, I know SSDs are expensive (it’s about S$550 for a 120GB SSD, versus S$110 for a 500GB HDD), but from my experience, they offer so much more than any other type of upgrade (CPU or graphics card or RAM) for the same price. They open up applications so fast, it’s like Adobe Photoshop is dying to activate itself for me.

I sound like some crazy geek, but one day, I might just have a chance to show you how fast SSD is, and trust me, you’ll feel the need for speed.

 

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9 Replies to “Addicted to SSDs”

  1. “Yes yes, I know SSDs are expensive (it’s about S$550 for a 120GB SSD, versus S$110 for a 500GB HDD)”

    Actually for S$110, you can already buy a 1.5TB HDD from Samsung with change to spare…

    IMHO, I think that the SSDs are still overhyped…

    My PC is never off and it can be up and running for over 6 months before I reboot – do boot up times matter to me?

    Better still, my iMac also takes less than 20 seconds to power up and is ready for action – tell me again about your 35 seconds…zzzzz

    Plus 3-5 second difference in loading up Adobe Photoshop CS4 is not going to make me lose sleep…

  2. Hi xtrocious, I was comparing to the price of a 2.5″ HDD, forgot to highlight that. Of course, 3.5″ HDDs are even cheaper as you pointed out.

    Let’s not compare to Macs yah, I have a MacBook Pro at home too, I know how fast it is, but I spend most of my time on my PC for work and play.

    I do switch off my PC daily to save electricity, so boot up times matter for me. And I don’t know if you’re in the same situation as me, where multiple plug ins for my work software means that it can sometimes take 30 sec or more for an app to start up.

    So SSDs are overhyped for people who don’t need that kind of productivity gains, but I’d suggest you try it to see why I feel that way. Cheers,

    Ian

  3. For those who are working on daily deadlines, SSD makes even more sense.

    I was commenting on this yesterday, before I read your story, “I would love to smash my office’s computer right now, while waiting for the screen to redraw” on Twitter.

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